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Opening Bell: 05.25.10

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Jamie Dimon Broadly Optimistic On Reform (Reuters)
"We'll end up with something better than what we had before," he said last night at the Japan Society's Annual Dinner in New York, although he added that he is not expecting perfection. Paul Volcker introduced Dimon, 54, as a man "at the top of his game" and said under his leadership JPMorgan "maintained stability throughout the crisis." "I'm also proud to call myself a banker," Dimon said.

Senators Pick Financial Bill Conferees (WSJ)
U.S. Senate leaders are expected as soon as Tuesday to appoint seven Democrats and five Republicans. Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) and Agriculture Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.) are expected to play a key role for Democrats, while Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire are anticipated to be among those representing the GOP.

Germany Eyes Wider Short-Selling Ban (Reuters)
A leaked Finance Ministry document said planned measures aimed at stabilizing financial markets would include a "ban on naked short selling of shares, including derivatives referring thereto."

Four Regional Banks Make Initial Merger Pact in Spain (Reuters)
The agreement, which is being led by Caja de Ahorros de Mediterráneo and includes Cajastur, Caja de Extremadura and Caja Cantabria, aims to create a joint banking group to “strengthen solvency and assets of the participating banks,” the banks said in a statement.

Italian cabinet prepares austerity package (FT)
Italy’s cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday evening to approve an austerity package aimed at reducing the state budget deficit by €24bn over 2011 and 2012. Gianni Letta, cabinet under-secretary, warned that there would have to be “tough sacrifices” for Italy to avoid following Greece into crisis. The emergency budget measures aim to bring the deficit below 3 per cent of gross domestic product by 2012 from 5.3 per cent last year.

Geithner Confident About China’s Currency Reforms (CNBC)
“I think China’s economy looks very strong," Geithner said. "They’re very committed to reinforcing growth, strengthening domestic demand. That’s important for the US, China and the world.” Asked if he felt confident that China would revalue its currency, he said, “Absolutely. They’re going to look at what’s happening in the world. Their growth should come more from domestic demand, and raising incomes.”

BP hatches 'top kill' bid to plug oil leak (SMH)
The British oil firm's chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the already-delayed operation would now take place Wednesday. He told CNN that the bid, using robotic submarines on the seabed, had a six or seven out of 10 chance of working. If the "top kill" effort fails, relief wells to divert the flow and allow the leaking well to be sealed will not be ready until August at the earliest, meaning tens of millions more barrels of crude could stream into the Gulf.

Lohan's Ankle Bracelet Has Breathalyzer Technology (AP)
The bracelet uses the same technology as a Breathalyzer, but instead of checking the breath for alcohol, it samples the perspiration on the skin. After alcohol is consumed, it eventually enters the bloodstream and a small amount is expelled through the skin.

Private-equity bigs fume at lobbying reps (NYP)
Sources familiar with the matter said that several high-profile private-equity barons are fuming over the hit they'll sustain from legislation that sharply raises the tax they pay on carried interest and they are assigning some of the blame to the lobbying group they pay dearly to represent their interests. A Blackstone spokesman denied there was any dissatisfaction with the council, and a KKR spokesman said it was in 100 percent alignment with the lobbying group.

Pimco's Developing Markets Fund Lags Behind Peers, Beats Underlying Index (Bloomberg)
Pimco’s $2.9 billion Developing Local Markets Fund lost 1.9 percent this year, lagging behind 97 percent of U.S.-based funds invested in emerging-market debt, Bloomberg data show.

For sale: One brothel (Chron)
Harris County has a whorehouse for sale. Commissioners Court has on its hands the Velvet Touch, a business that operated on Highway 6 South, and will consider this morning how to dispose of it.