Opening Bell: 11.23.10

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Ireland Banks Are All For Sale: Central Banker (Reuters)
Ireland's banks are effectively up for sale, central bank Governor Patrick Honohan said on Tuesday as Dublin sought aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to prop up its lenders. "They are for sale as far as I am concerned," Honohan said. "I've been an advocate for a number of years for small countries to have foreign owners for their banks."

North Korea Fires At South (WSJ)
A South Korean military unit on the island, called Yeonpyeong, returned fire, while military officials scrambled fighter jets. In addition to the deaths, at least 16 more were injured, military officials said. Three civilians were injured, and the island's 1,200 residents were sent scrambling for bomb shelters. "The whole neighborhood is on fire," island resident Na Young-ok said from a bomb shelter about an hour after the shelling began. "I think countless houses are on fire, but no fire truck is coming. We have a fire station but the shots are intermittently coming.

Greenhill Hired By US Treasury To Help Dispose Of AIG Stake (BW)
The department agreed on Nov. 18 to hire Greenhill for the next 18 months, according to a contract posted on the Treasury’s website yesterday. New York-based Greenhill will collect $500,000 a month for the first year and $175,000 a month thereafter.

Carlos Slim Buys Stake in Money Manager BlackRock (Bloomberg)
Arturo Elias, Slim’s spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview that he thinks Slim’s holding is less than the 2 percent figure reported Nov. 21 by the Financial Times, which cited unidentified people familiar with the investment. Elias said he didn’t know the exact amount of the stake or whether Slim holds it directly or through a fund.

DE Shaw Exec To Launch Own Hedge Fund (HFMWeek)
Daniel Posner, managing director at DE Shaw & Co. who heads the firm's distressed securities group, is departing the firm and expected to start his own hedge fund manager.According to two people briefed on the plans, the new offering will invest in troubled companies. Posner's plans come shortly after the quantitative hedge fund titan cut approximately 10% of its workforce after it faced a number of investor redemptions.

Bracing For Black Friday (Reuters)
"What I really like is that a lot of stores are opening before Black Friday," said Gabriella Jones, a 49-year-old from Lake Forest, California, who was in Times Square traveling with her daughter on Wednesday. "It's almost like Black Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday."

Culinary Masterpiece Was A Turkey (CD)
"When I stuff a turkey, I eschew traditional bread cubes in favor of White Castle hamburgers."

Barclays Transfers From Lehman May Have Broken Law, SEC Says (Bloomberg)
The U.K. bank got $769 million in securities held in the Lehman brokerage’s reserve bank account, and $507 million in assets listed as a debit item in the brokerage’s customer reserve, when it bought defunct Lehman’s brokerage, Lehman Brothers Inc., the SEC said in a filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The transfers would violate securities law if they increased the deficiency in the accounts, “and LBI would not have sufficient funds to satisfy all claims of the remaining customers,” the SEC said.

Charlie Sheen: Capri Anderson Tried to Extort $1 Million (People)
Charlie Sheen fired back at Capri Anderson in lawsuit that alleges she tried to extort $1 million from him after their "consensual encounter" in a New York hotel room. "This case involves a shakedown and extortion of the internationally known actor and celebrity Charlie Sheen … by an opportunist pornographic film star and publicity-hungry scam artist," says the lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Foreclosure Detectives Hunt For Lies (WSJ)
In two squat, suburban office-park buildings here, Richard Barrent is digging through loan files that could help decide who pays for the mortgage-paperwork debacle. The former Wells Fargo & Co. quality-assurance manager's two-year-old company is part of a cottage industry of loan detectives obsessed with detecting fraud, misrepresentations and violations of underwriting guidelines. Such discoveries can be used as ammunition to force banks and other lenders to buy back loans from bond insurers, holders of mortgage-backed securities and other customers of forensic loan-review firms.

IMF: Greece Needs More Reforms (WSJ)
"The program is off to an impressive start, but the program is also at a crossroads," said Poul Tomsen, head of the IMF team in the delegation. "The ability to make the program sustainable depends on deep structural reforms."

Dogs Smarter Than Cats, Study Claims (NYP)
Scientists at Oxford University claim canines are smarter than felines, the London Daily Telegraph reported yesterday. And the reason, according to the researchers, is that dogs are more social animals and, therefore, have bigger brains. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, charted the evolutionary history of various mammals' brains over 60 million years and found a link between the size of an animal's brain in relation to its body and how socially active it was.

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