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Opening Bell: 03.27.09

President To Have Finance Party (Bloomberg)
President Obama is inviting roughly the entire banking world to Washington today to get their input on rebuilding the economy and the new PPIP initiative - I think hopes are high that he can come out at the end of the day with the confirmation that some of the major banks will in fact be taking part in this (well, and further, think it's a good idea).
""For the economy to recover, for the stimulus to work, Main Street and Wall Street have to work hand in hand," said Rob Nichols, a former Treasury official and now president of the Financial Services Forum in Washington."
Barclays Unlikely to Need More Capital (WSJ)
Congrats on that.
Morgan Stanley Recovers Ground In M&A Rankings (Reuters)
"Morgan Stanley ranked first in the closely watched M&A rankings, or league tables, of investment banks in the first quarter, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters, reversing its fortunes after it missed out last year's biggest deal -- the $113 billion spin-off of Philip Morris International
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citi held onto their second and third spots respectively."
(Goldman was fourth).
Ackman's Ongoing Target Struggles (Reuters)
"In a letter dated Thursday and filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Ackman wrote to Target Chairman and Chief Executive and Gregg Steinhafel to say he disagreed with the size of the board.
We "have found no disclosure to the effect that the size of the Target Board has been changed from 13," he wrote. Ackman noted that although former Chairman Bob Ulrich had recently resigned, the board "does not automatically shrink as a result of a resignation; rather, a vacancy is created."
Ackman said if the company does not nominate a fifth director to fill a 13-member board, the issue should be jointly submitted for binding arbitration."
Washington's Inside Man At AIG (WSJ)
"AIG has paid lawyer James Cole and his firm, Bryan Cave LLP, about $20 million to oversee business practices at the insurer, according to people familiar with the matter. His reports on the company's progress, periodically delivered to federal regulators since 2005, aren't public.
Mr. Cole was installed inside AIG as a monitor, or independent consultant, as part of a $126 million settlement struck in November 2004 between AIG and the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission."
Czech PM Says AC/DC Was Behind "Road To Hell" Comment (Reuters)
Can't make this shit up:
"Ousted Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says he was inspired by the rock group AC/DC when he mocked U.S. President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plans as a "road to hell."
Topolanek criticized Washington's anti-crisis spending in a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday.
"AC/DC played here (in Prague) last week. And their cult song 'Highway to Hell' might have led me in that very improvised speech to use the phrase 'road to hell'," Topolanek was quoted by daily Lidovy Noviny as saying on Friday."