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Opening Bell: 07.13.10

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Finance Bill Close To Passage In Senate (WSJ)
Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine both said they would vote for the measure when Democrats bring it to a vote, which could happen as soon as this week. Democrats and administration officials believe this gives them the necessary backing to overcome a potential filibuster after weeks of uncertainty and unexpected pitfalls.

Paulson Likes What He Sees In Overhaul (NYT)
“We would have loved to have something like this for Lehman Brothers. There’s no doubt about it,” Mr. Paulson declared about midway into our conversation. He was referring to a provision of the bill known as resolution authority, which would enable the government to unwind a failing investment bank or insurance company in an orderly way without forcing it into bankruptcy, thus avoiding the unintended consequences that a bankruptcy might create.

Bankers - More Unpopular Than Benefit Fraudsters Or Bogus Asylum Seekers (HITC)
'Sure, we all know that things have to change and that firms have to align bonus payments with long-term performance', one banker told Here Is The City, 'But let's not hear all this nonsense about regaining the public's trust; we never had the public's trust in the first place, and thanks to the political rhetoric of the last 2 years, we'll never be loved. And, let's face it, given the choice, most of us would rather be hated and bonused up, than hated and poorly paid'.

Abu Dhabi May Make BP Investment, Crown Prince Says (Bloomberg)
“We are still thinking about it,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in an interview in Abu Dhabi today, when asked about potentially buying a stake in the London-based oil producer.

Moody's Cuts Portugal's Credit Rating (NYT)
Moody’s said it was cutting Portugal’s sovereign bond ratings to A1 — still investment grade — from Aa2. It noted that the national debt had risen sharply relative to gross domestic product as a result of spending on economic stimulus measures, and it warned that weak growth would weigh on government finances for two or three more years.

HSBC's Green Says More Shocks Possible (WSJ)
Speaking at the British Bankers' Association's annual international banking conference, Mr. Green said he welcomes much of the effort by governments and regulators to improve financial system oversight—including the U.K.'s plan to create a new financial policy committee to try to guard against booms and busts in the economy—but that there's also a risk that the new order for global supervision could lead to "rigidity, bureaucracy and complexity." "We are three years in from a crisis that is far from over. We are not out of the woods yet and may see some shocks from countries" that are facing big amounts of debt, Mr. Green said.

George Steinbrenner Has Died From Heart Attack (USA Today)
George Steinbrenner died at about 6:30 a.m. ET today after suffering a heart attack last night.

Goldman Seeks Another Extension From SEC (NYP)
Sources tell The Post that Goldman has argued that the SEC has had years to build its case against the firm, while the maligned investment bank has had to handle other pressing issues, including dealing with other investigations while the firm prepares to release its second-quarter results on July 20.

Barclays Capped By Regulatory Risk
Barclays shares enjoyed a much-needed boost last week from speculation the U.K. bank was mulling a spinoff for Barclays Capital—something that would create significant value, according to a Mediobanca research report. Barclays was quick to dismiss the idea, reaffirming its commitment to the universal bank model. But the idea of a Barclays breakup being pain-free reassured those investors spooked by fears the U.K. may force such a split.