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Opening Bell: 04.01.09

Nigeria Becomes Worlds Worst Stock Market (Bloomberg)
"Nigeria's stock market, Africa's best performer during the past decade, posted the biggest declines worldwide in the first quarter as bad loans to speculators pushed bank valuations to an all-time low.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index fell 37 percent this year, the steepest quarterly decline in more than a decade and the worst of 89 benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg. Stocks in Africa's largest oil-producing nation reached a five- year low last week, even as a rebound in crude spurred gains in commodity-exporting countries from Russia and Norway to Brazil."
Judge freezes assets of Madoff sons, executives (Reuters)
Madoffs, Noels, Tremont Group, Maxam Capital.
Mark To Market Rules Further Complicating Life For Geithner (WSJ)
"A new accounting rule set to be approved this week will relax mark-to-market rules for banks sitting on billions of dollars in toxic assets, making it more attractive to keep the assets on their books. Yet those changes may undermine a larger U.S. Treasury plan to rid the banks of those same assets, bankers and accounting experts say.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board is proposing significant changes to its mark-to-market rules, allowing banks to set their own values for certain hard-to-value troubled mortgages, corporate loans and consumer loans. The new proposal, called FAS 157-e, is scheduled for a vote this Thursday."
RIM Opens Online Software Store For BlackBerry (Reuters)
Will the apps be as rich as the iPhone's?
"Research In Motion has launched an online store selling entertainment, games, news, and travel applications to its BlackBerry users."
Mortimer To Leave Morgan Stanley (CNBC)
"Patrick Mortimer, head of Morgan Stanley's U.S. prime brokerage business, resigned this week amid declining assets and profits of hedge fund clients that make up the division's client base, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter."
SEC Needs Your Help (FT)
Shapiro's trying to find a way to leverage the normal-everyday-law-abiding citizens that work in finance to help with her fight against the evils of the world. My suggestion? Free blow. It's obvious that at the point where you could become the primary dealer for the street, not only would everyone be your friend (well, they'd be pretending, so not much different than now), but if they stopped helping you could put the squeeze on 'em.
New GM Chief Bends To U.S. Pressure (WSJ)
It was fairly obvious when President Obama pushed out Waggoner that they weren't looking for independent thinking, but I don't think anyone expected the new guy to be such a puppy.
"Mr. Henderson, 50 years old, also praised what he called the Obama administration's strong voice of support for the company, saying it liberated GM to take restructuring action it had in the recent past thought impossible to pull off.
"They think that I can lead this company inside or outside of bankruptcy court," he said. He said he expects the Obama administration's auto task force to play an active role in forcing unions and bondholders to make major concessions."

JP Morgan Sells Primary Insight, LLC (DJNewsWire)
The independent research firm was a purchase from Bear Stearns that provided a matchmaking service (of sorts) - it would pair those looking for advice with experts in the field.
"The deal, which closed Tuesday, is a small one for JPMorgan. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Thomas and DeRose said the transaction was less than $100 million. Primary Insight employs 10 people and has 75 clients."