Opening Bell: 05.21.09

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S&P Lowers Britain's Debt Outlook (WSJ)
S&P has lowered the outlook from stable to negative on public debt concerns (now approaching 100% of GDP), giving warning to the central bank that they need to step in to curtail the practices. S&P has noted that they're not likely to downgrade soon, but rather that a downgrade is possible.
The U.K. Treasury noted that S&P reaffirmed the triple-A rating, at least until after the election. "There are significant uncertainties in the global economy at the present time and S&P point out that the outlook could be revised back to stable," said a Treasury spokesman. "The Budget set out a clear plan to halve the deficit within 5 years. That judgment was based on a deliberately cautious view of the public finances."
Greenspan Says Banks Still Have Large Capital Requirement (Bloomberg)
"Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan signaled that the financial crisis has yet to end even as borrowing costs tumble, warning that U.S. banks must raise "large" amounts of money.
"There is still a very large unfunded capital requirement in the commercial banking system in the United States and that's got to be funded," Greenspan said in an interview yesterday in Washington. He also said that "until the price of homes flattens out we still have a very serious potential mortgage crisis."
New US Derivatives Rules Could Make Odd Partners (Reuters)
"Goldman and several other big banks own a 50-percent equity stake in IntercontinentalExchange's clearinghouse for credit default swaps. Dealer backing pushed ICE to the fore of clearinghouses looking to clear U.S. CDS, default-insurance products blamed for worsening the crisis.
The world's biggest exchanges, including CME Group Inc, NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq OMX, have sought partnerships with dealers and other big OTC players who would drive business to their derivative clearinghouses and exchanges."
GM Workers Hold Out (NYT)
"Just 450 workers are left there, witnesses to the dismantling of Buick City and survivors, so far, of G.M.'s financial collapse. And even as the company gets nearer to bankruptcy, they do not want to leave."
"They are part of the last generation of auto workers who were hired when G.M. dominated the United States market decades ago. And even with all the offers to leave, they stay, showing up for a job that is, in many cases, the only one they have ever known.
"I just get up in the morning, wash up, and drive here every day," said O. C. Cooper, a 64-year-old machine operator at Flint North. "It's just been a way of life.""

Russia Convinces BlackRock Stocks Can Beat Recession (Bloomberg)
"Russia is sliding into its first recession since 1999, companies are struggling to repay $147 billion of foreign debt this year and corruption is the most widespread among the world's biggest economies.
For BlackRock Inc., there isn't a better place to buy emerging-market equities. The manager of $1.3 trillion has been purchasing banks and commodity producers, helping spur a 62 percent rally in the benchmark RTS Index this year."

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