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Opening Bell: 06.17.10

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Cracks Show BP Was Battling Gulf Well as Early as February (Bloomberg)
BP was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It took 10 days to plug the first cracks, according to reports BP filed with the Minerals Management Service that were later delivered to congressional investigators. Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.

Jim Chanos Shorts Oil Majors, Ford Shares, Hasn't `Played' BP (Bloomberg)
The founder of Kynikos Associates Ltd. said in a Bloomberg Television interview from his office in New York that his bearish calls on “some” energy companies, which he declined to identify, pre-date the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. “If you look at their cash-flow statements relative to their income statements, you will see companies that haven’t replaced reserves in years, and haven’t seen any increase in revenues in years,” he said. “They’re borrowing their dividend. They’re in effect liquidating.”

Calpers Asking California For More Money (Reuters)
Just $600 mill, just to tide them over.

Dick Bove: Goldman Case Going To Court (TSC)
"The longer this takes, the more likely it is that this thing is going to go to court and I'm still convinced the SEC doesn't have a case," Bove said in an interview. He argues the government never wins high-profile cases against companies that go to court.

Swiss Parliament Backs UBS Data Pact (WSJ)
With the passage of the law, Swiss tax officials, who had suspended processing the 4,450 names, are ready to hand over data on 1,200 accounts, according to a government spokeswoman. So far, the Swiss have sent 500 names of clients who consented to the immediate transfer of their details to the IRS.

Reining In Europe's Deficits Is Just The First Step (FT)
David Cameron and Fredrik Reinfeldt: "Countries across Europe need fundamentally to change the way they deal with public finances so that debt crises of this magnitude can never happen again. That means that the stability pact must be taken seriously. There must be better safeguards against member states spending and borrowing too much and an early-warning system to identify problems before they get out of hand."

Union Boss Hog In $300k Hooker Scam (NYP)
"A married, obese former president of a Port Authority union admitted yesterday in court to embezzling nearly $300,000 in member dues and using the cash for tawdry hook-ups with prostitutes, casino trips and lavish meals, sources told The Post."

Nomura's Schiffman Plans Hiring Push for `Full Scale' U.S. Investment Bank (Bloomberg)
The firm plans to have about 100 bankers in the U.S. by the end of 2010, from about 65 currently, Glenn Schiffman, Nomura’s head of Americas investment banking, said in an interview this week at the firm’s New York headquarters at the World Financial Center. It has already recruited 50 bankers, he said.

Executives sound warning on hedge fund Ucits boom (Reuters)
"It's nonsense to create these liquid vehicles. It's much better to realise that hedge funds are an illiquid asset class," said Gerlof De Vrij, managing director of absolute return strategies at APG, which manages 240 billion euros (200 billion pounds) in assets. "We're not interested in Ucits funds. The focus on liquidity is something I don't understand."

Support Grows For EU Stress Test Disclosure (WSJ)
Both German and French finance ministries indicated they would support the publication of this year's test results on a country-by-country and bank-by-bank basis, a move they said could help put fears over the soundness of European banks to rest.