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Opening Bell: 04.15.10

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Hedge Funds May Be Hunted by Peers as SEC Poaches From Industry (Bloomberg)
Attention anyone looking to rat out your peers: "Bruce Karpati and Robert Kaplan, co-chiefs of a Securities and Exchange Commission task force targeting hedge funds, buyout firms and mutual funds, are seeking five fund managers, chief operating officers or people with “direct exposure to trading and operations” at investment firms. The SEC placed its help- wanted ad last month. "

`Jerk' Insurance Soothes Reluctant Sellers Amid Signs of Property Recovery (Bloomberg)
Sweeteners to protect one side in a transaction from looking like a loser have been used by hedge-fund managers William Ackman and Carl Icahn and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They’re helping seal deals amid signs that the worst real estate crisis in 80 years may be easing, said Woody Heller, an executive managing director at Studley, a New York-based commercial broker. Avila, Trump, Ackman and Icahn call the practice “schmuck insurance,” derived from a vulgar Yiddish word that has come to mean “jerk,” “fool,” or “easy mark.”

H-P Executives Are Investigated For Bribery (WSJ)
German prosecutors are looking into the possibility that H-P executives paid about €8 million ($10.9 million) in bribes to win a €35 million contract under which the U.S. company sold computer gear, through a German subsidiary, to the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation.

Soros Risk to Euro Without German Concessions Report (Reuters)
"The Germans have always made the concessions needed to advance the European Union, when people were looking for a deal. Not any more," Soros told Corriere della Sera in an interview. "That's why the European project is stalled. And if it can't go ahead from here, it will go backwards. It's important to understand that if you don't make the next steps forward for the euro, the euro will go to pieces and the European Union too," he said.

Denny's Slams Investors Leading Proxy Fight (AP)
''The dissident group is just plain wrong on the facts,'' the restaurant chain told shareholders in a letter. ''Not surprisingly, this group has chosen to play fast and loose with the truth.''

Sam Zell Sees Political Risks To Investing In US (Reuters)
Appearing on a panel at the Urban Land Institute's real estate summit in Boston, Zell said "what's going on now is frightening" and working to undermine confidence, although he allowed that an economic recovery is under way. "I continue to be an optimist about the United States, if for no other reason than I think we are going to alter the current political situation," said Zell, who has been a critic of President Barack Obama's policies for some time and was a major donor to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "If the current situation is indicative of the next half century, I think we're screwed."

Federal Reserve Sees End Of Recession In New York (NYT)
Congrats all! Unless you live elsewhere in which case, tough break.

Sen. Corker Expects Deal on Financial Reform in 1 Week (CNBC)
"I will be stunned if we do not reach a bipartisan agreement [within a week]," Corker said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" quoted by Reuters.

The Day Lehman Got A Love Note From A Hegdie (Reuters via Heidi Moore)
"Over close to 30 years in the business (and) I have never witnessed more disruptive behavior than that displayed over the past year by David Einhorn," wrote Adam Starr, the manager of Gulfside Partners. "I think you are right to stop responding to every allegation. These people deserve no more attention than honest and quiet investors."

AG Shuts Out Greeberg (NYP)
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has so far rejected attempts to negotiate a settlement in the civil lawsuit against former American International Group Chief Executive Officer Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, said his lawyer David Boies. Do it for Snowflake, Andy.

Wall Street Is Hiring Again (The Deal)