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Opening Bell: 06.02.09

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Anyone wanna hear more about GM this morning? No? Ok, good, me neither. Moving on with today's theme du jour: Banking Buyback Bonanza! (or something):
Goldman Raises $1.91 Billion Selling Shares in ICBC(Bloomberg)
So GS rode its ICBC stake up ~30% in the past 2 months, cashing out at - GASP! - 5% LOWER than yesterday's closing price (yea put that in your conspiracy theory and smoke it!)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which wants to return $10 billion this month to the U.S. government, raised HK$14.8 billion ($1.91 billion) by selling shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. after the stock jumped 29 percent in two months.
The New York-based firm sold 3.03 billion Hong Kong-traded shares, or a 0.9 percent stake in the Chinese bank, at HK$4.88 apiece, according to a pricing document e-mailed to fund managers today. That's 5 percent below the stock's HK$5.11 closing price yesterday.
Goldman Sachs is selling almost the entire stake it's free to divest under a revised lockup agreement with ICBC. The fifth- largest U.S. bank by assets got 26 percent more for its ICBC stock than Allianz SE and American Express Co. received when they sold shares in April.

Abu Dahbi Making Bank Selling Barclays Shares(ibid)

"IPIC has a high regard for Barclays, and great confidence in its management team and ongoing strategy," Al Qubaisi said. "The Emirate of Abu Dhabi intends to maintain a close commercial and strategic relationship with Barclays."

I'm not sure if its the article, author, or subject matter that alternatively makes me laugh/cry, but I'll present the following without further comment (for now):

"The decision to dispose of some of its interests in Barclays reflects the focus of IPIC's long-term investment strategy on hydrocarbon-related opportunities," Khadem Al Qubaisi, IPIC's managing director, said in the statement.

Optimism Worst is Over Drives Gains(FT)
Apparently the "green shoots" crowd didn't read the whole ISM report, or everyone's just whacked out on their narcotic/hallucinogen/booze of choice.

A surge in investor risk appetite sent equity and commodity prices sharply higher on Monday as a string of positive data releases rekindled hopes that the worst might be over for the global economy and overshadowed General Motors' widely expected bankruptcy filing.
The US Institute for Supply Management's headline index of manufacturing activity rose from 40.1 in April to 42.8 in May, its fifth successive monthly rise and the highest reading since September.
For many investors, the key figure came from the new orders index, which climbed back above the 50 level that separates contraction from expansion for the first time since November 2007.
"Orders are a key leading indicator of industrial production, one of the four coincident indicators of the economy," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia. "On the day GM filed for bankruptcy, we get evidence of the cyclical recovery in the manufacturing sector."

Just read the ISM report if you haven't already, please?
Alan Schwartz Gets Hired (WSJ)
The former Bear Stearns CEO will join Guggenheim Partners as an executive chairman "in a role that will involve building its banking and trading businesses while growing its established investment-management unit."
Kim Jong Il Names Successor (Reuters)
Big-time movie fan and sometimes Totalitarian North Korean ruler-extraordinaire Kim Jong Il has apparently made moves, and is keeping it all in the family, son. What this means, and whether its true, etc, we're not yet sure, however, these guys might (eventually).

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has signaled the anointment of his youngest son as heir to the ruling family dynasty as the two Koreas bolstered their militaries along a disputed sea border on Tuesday.
North Korea has turned increasing belligerent since its internationally condemned nuclear test last week, actions analysts believe Kim Jong-il is using to give him greater leverage over power elites at home to nominate his own successor.
It has raised alarm in the region over how far iron ruler Kim, 67 and thought to have suffered a stroke last year, may be prepared to take his latest military grandstanding.

--Brought to you by Anal_yst