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Opening Bell: 09.07.10

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Barclays Taps Diamond As CEO (WSJ)
In an unexpected shake-up, the giant London-based bank announced Tuesday morning that Mr. Diamond, Barclays's president and investment-banking chief, will replace current CEO John Varley. After serving as CEO since September 2004, Mr. Varley will step down on March 31. Mr. Diamond will assume the title of deputy group CEO on Oct. 1. The announcement comes as a surprise, since Mr. Varley hasn't previously indicated he has plans to retire. The 59-year-old Mr. Diamond, an avid golfer and die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, is four years older than Mr. Varley, who is 55. He lost out to Mr. Varley for the CEO job in 2003.

Obama Plans Business Tax Relief, Spending to Spur Growth (Bloomberg)
Obama will announce an expanded tax incentive to encourage business investment, an administration official said on condition of anonymity. Obama also will urge Congress to extend permanently and expand a research-and-development tax credit for businesses, costing about $100 billion over a decade. He began the rollout of initiatives yesterday in Milwaukee, calling for $50 billion in the first of a six-year program to fix roads, railways and runways and modernize the air-traffic control system. “All of this will not only create jobs now, but will make our economy run better over the long haul,” Obama said, announcing his public-works program. “It’s a plan that history tells us can and should attract bipartisan support.”

No Defense Against Double-Dip-Recession, Roubini Says (Telegraph)
"The US has run out of bullets,” said Nouriel Roubini at the annual Ambrosetti conference on Lake Como. “More quantitative easing (bond purchases) by the Federal Reserve is not going to make any difference. Treasury yields are already down to 2.5pc yet credit spreads are widening again. Monetary policy can boost liquidity but it can’t deal with solvency problems,” he told Europe’s policy elite. “There is a 40pc chance of double-dip recession in the US, and worse in Japan. Even if it is not technically a recession it will feel like it,” he added.

Burry of `The Big Short' Bets on Farmland, Gold After Profits on Subprime (Bloomberg)
Michael Burry, the former hedge-fund manager who predicted the housing market’s plunge, said he is investing in farmable land, small technology companies and gold as he hunts original ideas and braces for a weaker dollar. “I believe that agriculture land -- productive agricultural land with water on site -- will be very valuable in the future,” Burry, 39, said in a Bloomberg Television interview scheduled for broadcast this morning in New York. “I’ve put a good amount of money into that.” Burry, who now manages his own money after shuttering the fund in 2008, said finding original investments is difficult because many trades are crowded and asset classes often move together. “I’m interested in finding investments that aren’t just simply going to float up and down with the market,” he said. “The incredible correlation that we’re experiencing -- we’ve been experiencing for a number of years -- is problematic.”

Cameron lines up HSBC’s Green as trade minister (FT)
Stephen Green is expected to announce on Tuesday he is standing down as chairman of HSBC to become trade minister, ending David Cameron’s long search to find a high-profile business figure to fill the role.

Bounties Spur Surge In Fraud Tips (WSJ)
The Dodd-Frank financial law passed in July provides for the larger bounties, with the hope of fingering wrongdoers such as Bernard Madoff before they swindle thousands of people. People who supply "original information" about large frauds could net as much as 30% of the penalties and recovered funds collected by the SEC, which could add up to a multimillion-dollar payout. Lawyers who represent whistle-blowers have been spreading the word about the new incentives. "We've gotten some very high-quality tips," said SEC official Stephen Cohen.

Why You Can't Beat Wall Street (NYM)
The current economic malaise would cause trouble for whichever party is in power. But having helped open the valves of anti-Establishment fervor, the Democrats may have not only failed to harness the energy they unleashed, but lost what capitalist allies they had as well. If there is still such a thing as an Establishment, the Obama administration increasingly faces the prospect of alienating it while still getting pilloried for being it. That’s a political perfecta no one was looking to pull off.

Flight Attendant, Jet Blue Part Ways After Dramatic Exit (CNN)
JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin told CNN on Saturday that Steven Slater no longer works for the airline. She said that the separation occurred last week, but declined to elaborate how Slater and the company parted ways.

Buffett, Gates to Take Philanthropy Trip to China (CNBC)
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will reportedly travel to China later this month to "learn how to do philanthropy" in that nation. China's Economic Observer newspaper says Gates and Buffett have invited a "select group" of 50 to 60 members of the nation's "business elite" to a "private party" in Beijing. Some of those invited, however, have declined to attend, apparently over concerns they'd be asked, or even pressured, to make a donation pledge at the event.

Europe's Bank Stress-Tests Minimize Debt Risk (WSJ)
An examination of the banks' disclosures indicates that some banks didn't provide as comprehensive a picture of their government-debt holdings as regulators claimed. Some banks excluded certain bonds, and many reduced the sums to account for "short" positions they held—facts that neither regulators nor most banks disclosed when the test results were published in late July.

Bankers Gather To Assure Industry Is On The Right Track (NYT)
Top executives from some of the world's leading banks are due to gather for a conference in Frankfurt later this week as lenders seek to avoid what they see as overly harsh regulation following the global financial crisis. Two years after Lehman Brothers' collapse heralded the global financial system's breakdown, chief executives at Morgan Stanley, Unicredit and Commerzbank are expected to try and convince the audience at the "Banken im Umbruch" conference that they have done their work to stabilize their banks and should not be thrown back by new banking rules.