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Opening Bell: 03.19.09

Rambo Fed To Buy As Much As Needed (Bloomberg)
"By committing to buy Treasuries and double his purchases of mortgage debt, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled his determination to avoid a repeat of the Great Depression and his willingness to pump as much cash into the economy as needed to end the current crisis.
U.S. central bankers decided yesterday to buy as much as $300 billion of long-term Treasuries and more than double mortgage-debt purchases to $1.45 trillion, aiming to lower home- loan and other interest rates. The Fed kept its main rate at almost zero and may keep it there for an "extended" time."
Citi, MS Eye More Shares For Staff Pay (Reuters)
It looks like both companies are going to have to go to shareholders to ask for approval in some form, which in this climate is proving to be a dangerous task.
"Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley will in the next few weeks announce plans to authorize or repurpose shares so they can have enough stock to compensate employees, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The need to add or free up stock has been exacerbated by plunging share prices, the paper said."
CNBC: How Rich Are Cocaine Cartels (CNBC)
"Over the past days, TBM has made an effort to get to the bottom of Forbes' number. The magazine does give you some back of the envelope calculations. According to Forbes' Guzman blurb, "Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers brought in $18 billion to $39 billion in wholesale cocaine shipments to the US last year. Guzman's organization took in, by Forbes' estimate, 20 percent of that-which makes for $3.6 billion to $7.8 billion in revenues. That's a good start. But then Forbes punts saying simply that's "enough for him to have pocketed $1 billion over the course of his career and earn a spot on the billionaire's list for the first time.""
Naked Shorts Hint Fraud In Lehman Downfall (Bloomberg)
"As Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. struggled to survive last year, as many as 32.8 million shares in the company were sold and not delivered to buyers on time as of Sept. 11, according to data compiled by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bloomberg. That was a more than 57-fold increase over the prior year's peak of 567,518 failed trades on July 30.
The SEC has linked such so-called fails-to-deliver to naked short selling, a strategy that can be used to manipulate markets. A fail-to-deliver is a trade that doesn't settle within three days."
Dodd to give back AIG contributions (CT Post)