Opening Bell: 04.13.09

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Stress Tests Meet Earnings (Bloomberg)
With earnings for some (now most?) of the major banks coming in the next week/two and the results of the stress tests coming shortly thereafter, there's going to be a bit of a battle between numbers, as it were. As fair-value isn't an issue any longer it's going to be near impossible to accurately assess holdings, which is a definite mark against earnings reports. On the other hand, the "stress-test" has politics written all over it, and chaos theory hasn't developed enough to be modeled by Excel masters.
"The stress tests, designed by President Barack Obama's administration to show how much extra capital the 19 largest U.S. banks may need to survive a deeper economic downturn, are controversial. Wells Fargo Chairman Richard Kovacevich called them "asinine" in a speech at Stanford University in California on March 13, saying the results would provide opportunities for short sellers to drive down bank stocks."
Goldman Launches $5.5B Secondary Market PE Fund (WSJ)
"The market for such limited-partnership interests has become one of the hottest sectors of the private-equity market, as some pension funds and endowments scramble to reduce their exposure to the sector.
The new Goldman fund, GS Vintage Fund V, would be the largest secondary fund ever raised. The investment bank has emerged as one of the leading players in the secondary-buyout area, having raised four previous funds totaling some $6 billion. Other prominent secondary-fund firms include Lexington Partners Inc., Coller Capital and Pomona Capital."
Attorney Pulls In 80k To Take Year Off (NYT)
I can appreciate this on so many levels. The sixth year associate at Skadden is taking the year to "teach English to monks in Sri Lanka and possibly help bring solar power to parts of the Himalayas."
Barclays Is Fine. Everything Is Cool. (Reuters)
I can see where you'd all be a little concerned about the bank: they just dumped iShares for a little less than I think it might have been worth at what we'll concede was an upbeat pace. And sure, it looks like they're on the verge of selling their "entire asset management arm", but what does that mean, really? This isn't the core business, people. Asset management is just like, you know, extra.
"The report quoted "people close to Barclays" as saying the bank would "consider, rather than solicit" interest in the whole of BGI -- the bank's San Francisco-based asset management arm.
The newspaper said analysts believed bids for BGI, including iShares, would need to be in the region of at least 8 billion pounds to persuade Barclays' board of the merits of selling the business."
HSBC May Put Headquarters And Other Buildings On Block (NYT)
"As part of managing a significant global real estate portfolio HSBC is testing the market with three of its landmark property assets," HSBC said in a statement. "HSBC constantly monitors the commercial property market carefully, making decisions based on what is most appropriate for the business and our stakeholders."
AIG To Taxpayers: You Screwed Yourselves (WSJ)
As a result of spineless endeavors to placate, it appears that 20 or so members of the Financial Products group have quit and the remaining members are less than enthused about the daily grind.
"In the wake of the controversy, however, Mr. Pasciucco suggested that the unit's employees are wary that their pay could again come under political attack. He said within the coming weeks and months, AIG in concert with the government needs "to give them some certainty about how they're going to be compensated."
Among the employees who resigned were two top executives at Banque AIG, a French subsidiary of the financial-products unit. Before the resignations, AIG had described a scenario to the Treasury Department under which $234 billion in trades could default amid resignations."

Bad News/Good News In Re: GM Bankruptcy (WSJ)
Bad news: there's going to be a lot of lawsuits from interested parties.
Good news: it shouldn't matter, given the route GM is going.

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