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Opening Bell: 06.23.10

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Volcker Rule Under Attack as Lawmakers Seek Loophole (Bloomberg)
Senate negotiators will probably offer changes today that would soften the Volcker rule by allowing banks to sponsor hedge funds and invest their own money, within limits, alongside that of clients. The compromise, designed to win the support of at least three Republican senators, comes as lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on financial reform this week. To appease Democrats in favor of stronger regulation, negotiators also plan to make it harder for regulators to undermine the rule, according to lobbyists and congressional aides involved in the discussions.

BP Executive Prepares to Take Over Spill Response (NYT)
Robert Dudley, who takes charge of BP’s spill response on Wednesday, has plenty of experience dealing with a hostile government, unhappy partners and angry citizens. The former head of BP’s joint venture in Russia, TNK-BP, he was expelled from that country in 2008 after a nasty feud with the authorities and BP’s business partners. Whether Mr. Dudley, a soft-spoken man with a wisp of a Southern accent, can repair BP’s ruptured relationships on the Gulf Coast and in Washington remains to be seen.

U.S. Seeks Assets of Ex-Madoff Workers (WSJ)
The lawsuits, which offer further detail about the autumn 2008 spiral of Mr. Madoff's firm, seek to seize about $5 million in assets from the two employees, Annette Bongiorno and JoAnn "Jodi" Crupi. Among the assets prosecutors are seeking from the women are a 2005 Bentley Continental and 2007 Mercedes Benz from Ms. Bongiorno, and a $2 million New Jersey home that Ms. Crupi allegedly helped purchase with funds from what was Mr. Madoff's firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

`Mamma Mia' Goes Dark, Bankers Stay Home as G-20 Hits Toronto (Bloomberg)
The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team is leaving town, the Royal Alexandra Theatre is closing for the first time in more than a century and thousands of bankers and money managers such as David Cockfield are working from home. “People coming to cover the G-20 are going to find Toronto just empty, with wind blowing through the downtown canyons, asking ‘Where are all the people?’” said Cockfield, a portfolio manager at MacNicol and Associates Asset Management Inc., which oversees about C$300 million ($293 million).

Former SocGen Chairman Has Sharp Words for Trader (NYT)
His voice often quavering with emotion, Mr. Bouton, 60, spoke of his “formidable anger” upon learning of Mr. Kerviel’s “monstrous” bets, which exposed the bank to €50 billion worth of risk, more than the bank’s market value. “It is not the business of a bank to risk its very existence,” Mr. Bouton said, turning to face Mr. Kerviel, seated behind him, who averted his gaze. “I cannot believe for one second any of Jérôme Kerviel’s supervisors were aware. I’m sorry, my dear fellow.” In the days following the bank’s disclosure of the Kerviel scandal — which remains the largest trading fraud in history — Mr. Bouton had set the tone for Société Générale’s initial version of events, calling Mr. Kerviel “a crook, a fraudster and a terrorist” who acted alone.

Op-Ed: Our Agenda For The G-20
Summers And Geithner: "Countries must put in place credible plans to stabilize debt-to-GDP levels and set a pace of consolidation that reinforces the momentum of growth. We must demonstrate a commitment to reducing long-term deficits, but not at the price of short-term growth. Without growth now, deficits will rise further and undermine future growth. "

Pearl River Necklace bridge comes with a twist (BLD)
And an interesting name.