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Opening Bell: 11.19.10

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Meredith Whitney To Rival Moody's And S&P With Own Ratings Agency (FT)
Ms Whitney said in an interview with the Financial Times that her new agency would use the same business model as established agencies, in which issuers of debt pay for ratings. She maintainted that she would be able to manage potential conflicts of interest, saying: “If you run a good business and you have compliance in place, there should not be problems...We’re in the process of applying for an NRSRO licence with the intention of being a formal competitor to S&P and Moody’s,” Ms Whitney said. She plans to rate global structured products and corporate bonds and US municipal bonds.

Bernanke Fires Back, Takes Aim At China (WSJ)
By keeping their currencies artificially weak, Mr. Bernanke argued in Frankfurt Friday, China and other emerging markets are allowing their economies to overheat, preventing trade imbalances from adjusting and worsening what he called a "two-speed" global recovery. Their "strategy of currency undervaluation" is preventing more "balanced and sustainable" global growth, he warns, echoing a view expressed by Obama Administration officials.

China to Raise Reserve Ratio by 50 Basis Points From Nov. 29 (Bloomberg)
China ordered banks to set aside larger reserves for the fifth time this year, draining cash from the financial system to limit inflation and asset-bubble risks in the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The ratio will increase 50 basis points starting Nov. 29, the central bank said on its website today. The aim is to step up liquidity management and “appropriately control” credit and loans, it said.

PIMCO Said To Seek $1 Billion To Buy Troubled Assets From Banks (Bloomberg)
The Pimco Bravo fund, short for Bank Recapitalization and Value Opportunities, will acquire commercial and residential mortgage loans and other debt, according to a prospective investor.

Lippman, Who Bet Against Subprime At Deutsche Bank, Turns Buyer At Fund (Bloomberg)
LibreMax Capital LLC’s fund gained about 1.67 percent in October as it invested 44.4 percent of its portfolio in bonds backed by subprime home loans to borrowers with the worst credit, according to a letter to investors.

SEC To Step Up Supervision Of Hedge Funds (Reuters)
The SEC meets later Friday to vote on a proposal that would require the registration of advisers to hedge funds and private equity funds with more than $150 million in assets under management.

Irish Bailout May Unleash Market Vigilantes On Portugal (Bloomberg)
“Wait a few weeks and the markets will just go for someone else, with Portugal at the front of the queue,” London-based Diebel said. “The vigilantes pushed Ireland into the same situation Greece is in. Why would you conclude they won’t do the same to Portugal?”

Harrah's Cancels IPO (CNBC)
Harrah's said Friday it will not pursue an initial public offering due to market conditions. The company, which planned to return to the stock market rebranded as Caesar's Entertainment had planned to raise $470 million, selling shares between $15 and $19 each.

Wall Street Pay Day For A New GM (WSJ)
Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who was an outspoken critic of using Troubled Asset Relief Program funds for the bailout of GM and Chrysler Group LLC, said recently he feels "gratified" by the progress GM has made. Without the government's help, "there is absolutely no way GM would be in the position they are in to expand and grow," he said in the recent interview. "Much of the taxpayer money is going to come back."

Irish Grasp At EU, IMF Lifeline (WSJ)
"It will be a large loan because the to show Ireland has sufficient firepower to deal with any concerns of the market," central-bank governor Patrick Honohan said.

AR Magazine Names Top Hedge Funds (AR)
Bridgewater took top honors for macro strategy and management firm of the year. Third Point, Renaissance, Paulson Advantage recognized for risk-adjusted returns.