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Opening Bell: 08.25.10

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Goldman Sachs Loses Muscle In Corporate Finance (Bloomberg)
The bank has slipped to 10th in helping the world’s companies raise debt, down from ninth last year and as high as third place in 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its share of this year’s $1.9 trillion in global offerings dipped to 3.7 percent, from an average 4.8 percent in the previous 10 years.

Chinese Bestseller Slams Goldman Sachs For Crisis (AP)
GS is now getting hammered in the world's No. 2 economy with a sensationalist new book accusing the investment bank of trying to destroy China. The ''Goldman Sachs Conspiracy,'' which has sold over 100,000 copies since it was released in June, reaching popular website's top-10 list, follows another by author Li Delin, ''Eliminate All Competitors -- How Goldman Sachs Wins Over the World,'' published last year. The nearly 300-page, highly dramatized account covers much of the same ground as a widely cited piece by Matt Taibbi last year in the Rolling Stone magazine. Li's book takes ample license in its attacks on Goldman Sachs. The company's ultimate goal, he says in the first chapter, is to ''kill China.'' ''Like a fox chewing a bone, Goldman Sachs knows the rules of the game and when to go for your neck,'' it says. With the ''cruel character of a Manchurian tiger, the group creeps around the world, like a veteran hunter stalking its prey, when it smells blood it pounces!'' the chapter says. Li, in an online chat, said the book was no exaggeration.

Fed’s Evans: Economy In ‘Extremely Modest’ Recovery (WSJ)
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said Tuesday the economic recovery is “extremely modest” but he believes it’s unlikely the economy will fall into a double-dip recession. The pace of recovery from the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression is “slower than we had hoped for,” Evans said. He acknowledged that although the risk of a double dip is higher than it was six months ago, it is “not the most likely outcome.

Ferrari 458 Italia Has Enough Superlatives to Match the Sticker (NYT)
What I’m about to say might enrage the guy struggling to keep a roof over a 10-year-old Chevy. But if you have that kind of money, the Italia — unlike some high-priced, half-baked exotics — is worth every penny. The car’s sensory experience is nearly unfathomable; barreling Woody Allen’s Orgasmatron over Niagara Falls might get you close. Stumbling from the 458’s cockpit after hours of g-force frolic, it’s easy to get caught up in woozy hyperbole. (See above.) But even with endorphins normalized, I declare the 458 is the best sports car I’ve ever driven, the current state of the art. Or maybe that’s the art of the state, given that Ferrari’s chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, named the Italia after its homeland. Italy should cut Ferrari a check for such product placement.

A Disillusioned Mr. Gross Returns From Washington (CNBC)
Bill Gross went to Washington last week and admits in his September note to clients that moments like heading to the Treasury for the first time in his 35 years in the business had the “little boy inside me is screaming 'Run!'"

Lindsay Lohan Released Early From Rehab‎ (ABC)
Lock up your E-trade babies.

FSA Calls For Tougher Bank Oversight (WSJ)
Bank-capital rules should be overhauled to ensure enough capital is held against potential trading losses and there should be tougher oversight of banks' trading valuation and risk-management systems, the U.K.'s Financial Services Authority said Wednesday.

AIG Discloses How CEO Benmosche Earned His $3.5 Million Bonus (Bloomberg)
Benmosche helped stabilize New York-based AIG’s ratings with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, imposed risk-management controls and filled manager vacancies, the company said yesterday in a filing. The insurer amended an earlier disclosure after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requested the information, said Mark Herr, an AIG spokesman. “While AIG does not believe that the additional disclosure is material, it filed the amendment to provide full transparency of its compensation decisions,” Herr said in an e-mailed statement.