Opening Bell: 05.11.09

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Some Banks Won Concessions On Tests (WSJ)
"The Fed ultimately accepted some of the banks' pleas, but rejected others. Shortly before the test results were unveiled Thursday, the capital shortfalls at some banks shrank, in some cases dramatically, according to people familiar with the matter."
Bank of America was originally more than $50 billion; Wells Fargo was $17.3 billion; Citigroup was $35 billion.
AIG Restructure Could Take A While (Reuters)
To think AIG could pay back its commitments to the United States with any speed would be an exercise in intellectual futility; in fact, the government (arguably) has done everything it can to ensure that it never gets paid back. The $180B is gone, girls, and when the historians come around looking for answers, just remember you lit the company on fire for some $165MM.
"The April 23 memo described an initiative code-named 'Project Destiny', which involved a 45-day review of AIG's businesses that is supposed to lead to the multi-year restructuring plan, the paper said."
Ackman To Make Case For Target Board Change (WSJ)
"Hedge-fund mogul Bill Ackman has called a meeting in Manhattan Monday to introduce his slate of five dissident directors -- including himself -- that he is asking shareholders to elect May 28.
Mr. Ackman says his candidates will bring new ideas to the discount retailer and relevant expertise to a board he describes as slow to make critical decisions. "We're not talking about revolution, but evolution," he said in an interview. "We think we can make the company better.""
HSBC Cautious Despite Signs Of Recovery (FT)
"Here's the deal", added HSBC, "we kind of got wrecked out there last year. That aside, there's a lot of numbers, and they're all moving; we can't get a solid feel for what's next. Fucking numbers are everywhere. Also, I mean, the mortgages; who saw that shit coming?"
Barclays Gets New Interest In iShares (Reuters)
"A Barclays spokesman said there had been "tremendous" interest in iShares from "both strategic and private equity" since April 9, when Barclays agreed to sell the asset management firm to private equity company CVC for 3 billion pounds ($4.4 billion) but kept the right to hunt for a better deal until June 18."
Bank Of America To Sell Shares In Chinese Bank (WSJ)
"Wall Street firms are scrambling to find buyers for a chunk of Bank of America Corp.'s 16.7% stake in China Construction Bank Corp., according to people familiar with the talks.
But at least one potential buyer approached -- Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. -- considers the prospects for a deal slim because of price, said another person familiar with the matter.
Bank of America is free to sell one-third of the stake following an expired lock-up period Thursday. The one-third stake is valued at close to US$9 billion based on where CCB shares were trading earlier Monday, though sale prices for large stakes are usually at somewhat lower prices."
Using International Trade To Launder Money (Miami Herald)
"Zdanowicz explained how it would be easy to launder $1 million in cash quickly and move it out of the country: ``I'd buy 200 Rolex watches in Miami [at about $5,000 each] and export them to my partner in Colombia, charging $5 each on the invoice. My partner there pays me $1,000 for the shipment, sells the watches at the market rate in Colombia and we've laundered $1 million."
CBNC Wants You To Know: It's Still A Bear Market (CNBC)
We don't want you optimists out there getting too much of that 'happy' shit going; this is still a downturn, it's just the upside of a downturn. Adjust attitudes accordingly.

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