Opening Bell: 03.02.09

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AIG To Receive More Money (Reuters)
Our favorite almost-but-not-quite-nationalized insurance company has received another $30B to help stave off failure. The new money is being issued at LIBOR, and is most probably going to be used to buy guns, ammo, and food as the giant prepares to hole up in its Manhattan office.
"A source familiar with the matter said on Sunday night that U.S. authorities felt it was cheaper to put more taxpayer money into AIG than to take the risk of letting it fail.
Allowing the collapse of AIG, which has struggled to sell assets, would have far-reaching consequences for the global financial system as the company guarantees about $300 billion of asset-backed securities and other debt, analysts have said."
Oracle Of Omaha Goes Alarmist (Bloomberg)
Old faithful is showing signs of diminishing cognitive function; given his age it was bound to happen sooner or later. It's a short jump from here to his walking around in his underwear demanding pop-tarts and spaghetti.
"The economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 -- and, for that matter, probably well beyond," said Buffett. "Though the path has not been smooth, our economic system has worked extraordinarily well over time. It has unleashed human potential as no other system has, and it will continue to do so."
HSBC Cuts 6100 US Jobs (Reuters)
"The bank said it would close the majority of its HFC and Beneficial-branded U.S. branch network, resulting in the loss of 6,100 jobs and that, with the exception of credit cards, the U.S. divisions would write no further consumer finance business.
Group-wide the bank said that losses on bad loans jumped 44 percent versus 2007 to $24.9 billion."
Plus, the $18 billion rights issue. Wheels up on Project Concord?
Standford CFO To SEC: ESAD (Reuters)
"Stanford Financial Group's Chief Financial Officer James Davis, accused with the company's founder Allen Stanford of carrying out a $8 billion Ponzi scheme, has refused to cooperate in the investigation.
Davis asserted his Fifth-Amendment right, declining "to testify or provide an accounting ... or produce any documents related to the matters set forth in the Commission's complaint," according to a filing with a federal court in Dallas on Friday."
A Look At The MS Chinese Land Scandal (NYT)
Honestly, I think the author makes a little too much of all this; I don't see anyone remembering (or giving a shit about) it in a year. That being said, everyone is getting bribed all the time: it's just less obvious in most circumstances. Part of doing business, ladies.
"For Morgan Stanley, which runs one of the world's biggest real estate funds, it is a black mark on an otherwise sterling reputation. People knowledgeable about the case say that Morgan Stanley has sent both United States and Chinese officials documents indicating that Mr. Peterson, the bank's highest-ranking real estate executive in China, may have secured some transactions by offering cash or gifts to Chinese officials. His partners in some deals were Chinese government investment funds."
Eric Prince Stepping Down From Blackwater (WSJ)
"The 39-year-old Mr. Prince will retain his post as chairman but move away from daily oversight of the company he started 11 years ago. The closely held venture earned more than $600 million in revenue last year, with about a third of that coming from a major U.S. State Department contract to protect diplomats in war zones.
"I'm a little worn out by the whole thing, the politics of it all," Mr. Prince said during an interview at the company's headquarters in McLean, Va. "Me not being part of the equation reduces the 'X' on the thing.""


Bad Code Kills Google Data Centers (FT)
Whoops.

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