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Opening Bell: 02.25.09

Bad Bank Program Probably Won't Save RBS (Bloomberg)
RBS's attempt to shed bad assets into a government insurance program, which is fundamentally the same thing as our Bad Bank program, probably won't save them from nationalization. Because I'm an American, and therefore everything is about me, I have to wonder if our program's structure is significantly different, or if our banks precarious situations are significantly different to warrant my belief that the same thing won't happen to them. Aside, we should all stop being so serious for a minute and think about Vikram et al in kilts.
""This is prolonging the inevitable and the inevitable is nationalization," said Tom Kirchmaier, a corporate governance lecturer at the London School of Economics. "It will instill some trust, but I doubt it will solve all the problems with the banks. We still haven't seen the worst of the real economy."
Insider Trading Nets Broker Five Years (NYT)
"Mr. Tavdy and the former UBS AG executive, Mitchel S. Guttenberg, were among 13 people charged in 2007 in what authorities then called one of the most pervasive insider trading rings since the 1980s.
It included former employees of Wall Street businesses such as the Bank of America Corporation, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns. All 13 pleaded guilty.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Batts noted that from 2002 to 2006 Mr. Tavdy made "millions of dollars for himself and others by abusing insider information." She added, "this is not a case of an isolated incident.""
Merrill Surprises BAC With Debt, BAC Cries. (FT)
Relationships are hard. I mean Christ, I once bought a girlfriend a cake that said "Sorry I killed your dog" - I thought it was a perfectly reasonable joke, she didn't (I hadn't really killed her dog).
It looks like Merrill is getting hung out to dry here, which is a pathetic move; BAC should be castrated for letting this go down.
"The additional $500m in losses appear to have come from the discovery that Merrill used a flawed model for measuring the value of derivatives that were used in its hedging strategy.
Auditor Deloitte & Touche concluded that Merrill had "not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting" as of the end of 2008."
Fidelity Chief Speaks Up (WSJ)
"In a rare public rebuke of the financial-services industry, Fidelity Investments Chairman Edward C. Johnson III called 2008 a "period laced with toxic investment waste and the casual use of other people's money by a number of institutions."
In a letter to shareholders issued Tuesday, Mr. Johnson blamed the economic climate on "well-intentioned policies...which made money ridiculously easy to obtain.""
Apple Downgraded
"Before the market opened, Shebly of Calyon Securities lowered his rating on Apple's stock to underperform, or sell, from outperform, or the equivalent of buy. Seyrafi sounded hesitant about Apple (AAPL 90.25, +3.30, +3.8%) in a research note, in which he cited several circumstances for his concerns about the challenges and issues facing the company."
Those reasons include but are not limited to: Apple's shit is expensive, and Jobs isn't anywhere to be found.
AIG May Give Up On Plan To Sell Off (Reuters)
Here's the plan: since we can't find any buyers, we'll just stop looking. Fuck everyone: let 'em come for it.
"AIG is proposing additional ways to reduce the company's debt to the U.S. government, including handing over stakes in some operations directly to the government, a person told the news agency."

GM Could Produce Massive Bankruptcy Fees (Bloomberg)
It's only funny because we get to watch the UAW squirm while ~$1.5B (the article says $1.2, but we know how this shit works) in fees goes to bankers to take their shit apart.