Opening Bell: 03.09.09

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Madoff Aide Allegedly Got Fake 'Tickets' of Trading (WSJ)
"A longtime aide to disgraced financier Bernard Madoff instructed two assistants to generate trading tickets, now believed to be bogus, for Mr. Madoff's investing clients, according to information the assistants gave the government in the investigation.
The assistants told prosecutors that their supervisor, Annette Bongiorno, a four-decade veteran of the Madoff firm, would ask them to research daily share prices for blue-chip stocks from the previous month or several months, according to a person familiar with their statements.
A longtime aide to disgraced financier Bernard Madoff instructed two assistants to generate trading tickets, now believed to be bogus, for Mr. Madoff's investing clients, according to information the assistants gave the government in the investigation."
AIG Warned Failure Would Cripple World (Bloomberg)
I can appreciate this strategy, as it's based on inciting fear. Basically, you just convince whoever the target is that the free world will end unless they do exactly what you tell them, and then you take their money. Well, except in this case I'm not sure it's not true - still a fun game.
"AIG warned of turmoil around the globe if the government allowed the insurer to fail, adding "it is questionable whether the economy could tolerate another shock to the system that a failure of AIG would produce." The value of the U.S. dollar might fall, Treasury borrowing costs could rise and the agency would face "doubts about the ability of the U.S. to support its banking system," according to the presentation, parts of which were reported earlier by the New York Times."
Exxon Aims For Bigger Role In Iraq's Oil Sector (Reuters)
The title pretty much says it all: Exxon is looking for a bigger role in the Iraq oil scene post-conflict. This isn't anything new; it's actually what has (thus far) kept the price of gasoline under $8 a gallon.
Blankfein Kind Of Stands Up To Nationalization (CNBC)
"Goldman Sachs' chief executive said he opposed the full nationalisation of banks, but thought government stakes could be sensible in extreme situations, in an interview with German weekly Welt am Sonntag.
"I don't think that nationalisation is a good solution. It is decisive that the financial system is being stabilised and governments have to act in a pragmatic manner," Lloyd Blankfein was quoted as saying.
"In extreme situations, it can be meaningful when the government takes a stake. However, full control should be avoided," he added."
Credit Markets Show Signs Of Re-Freeze (WSJ)
Administrative policy has the debt people worried the current sway towards intervention will have an effect on their right to collect assets if the borrower fails - thus there's been a slight tightening in the credit markets of late.
"Short-term credit markets are still performing better than they did last year thanks to government programs to buy commercial paper and guarantee short-term debt. But Libor, the London interbank offered rate, a common benchmark interest rate, has crept up over the past weeks, from 1.1% in mid-January to 1.3% on Friday, reflecting banks' concerns about being paid back for even short-term loans. It is still well below its peak of 4.8% last October."
BNP To Buy 75% of Fortis (MarketWatch)
"BNP and Belgium reached the new agreement before a Friday midnight deadline, with France's biggest bank now set to buy 75% of Fortis Bank NV -- the group's Belgian banking business -- and to take control of its Luxembourg bank outright, all for 2.88 billion euros ($3.64 billion) in stock."


Summers Argues For More Public Money Into System (FT)
If everyone prints money together then there's not really a problem, right?
"Barack Obama's top economic adviser has urged world leaders to pump more public money into the economy in a coordinated effort to boost demand and lift the world out of recession.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Lawrence Summers said the urgent need for a short-term increase in spending by governments temporarily overrode the longer-term goal of tackling the global imbalances many economists believe caused the financial crisis."

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