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Opening Bell: 12.18.09

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FINRA Probes Wall Street Trade Huddles (WSJ)
The regulator recently sought information from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and other firms, including details of any meetings where unpublished research opinions or trading ideas were disclosed to nonresearch employees or clients.
Fears Over Bank Reserves Overblown (Reuters)
Everybody can apparently chill: Concerns over the surge in excess reserves in the U.S. banking system and its potential to fire up inflation are "largely unwarranted," according to two New York Federal Reserve economists, Todd Keister and James McAndrews.
Judge Sets January 2011 Trial in Stanford Case (AP)
Also, this is nice to hear: Stanford, 59, who was unshaven and wore a green prison jumpsuit, looked healthier than the last few times he's been in court.

How Tiger Protected His Image
The National Enquirer had pictures of Tiger and a waitress in a church parking lot, so in exchange for killing the story, Woods did a photo-shoot and interview with Men's Health (owned by the same parent company as the Enquirer). This made Golf Digest, who thought they were the only ones getting a piece of TW's shit, very angry!
Legal Fees Mount In Madoff Liquidation (NYT)
A judge approved the payment -- nearly $21.3 million for the Baker & Hostetler firm and about $800,000 to trustee Irving Picard -- Thursday in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan. It follows initial payouts of $14.6 million and $760,000 in July.
Roubini: 6 More Months More Months Of Carry Trade (Reuters)
"A correction might occur, but the risk of a correction is more in the medium term than in the short term," Roubini said in an event organized by the Council of the Americas.
Last Days of BofA's Hunt For a CEO: Pay, Politics (WSJ)
Bob Kelly wanted $20 million to buy out unvested Bank of New York Mellon shares and options, plus $15 million to $20 million in annual compensation as chief executive. This was going to be a problem with the Comp Cop.