Opening Bell: 12.10.10

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PIMCO Raises US Growth Forecast After Tax Deal (CNBC)
The bond manager raised its growth forecast for the U.S. economy to between 3 percent and 3.5 percent for 2011 from its earlier estimate of 2 percent to 2.5 percent, Chief Executive Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC late Thursday.

Senate Unveils Tax Bill's Price Tag (WSJ)
10-year price tag of $858 billion.

Americans in Poll Want Deficit Cut With Entitlements Secured (Bloomberg)
Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is “dangerously out of control,” only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay. The public wants Congress to keep its hands off entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. They oppose cuts in most other major domestic programs and defense. They want to maintain subsidies for farmers and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction. And they’re against an increase in the gasoline tax.

Treasury: Financial Bailout Income At $35 Billion (AP)
The government's heavily criticized $700 billion financial rescue program has earned nearly $35 billion in income over the past two years, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

Warsaw Makes A Bid To Become Central Europe's Financial Hub
(Dealbook)
In July, Warsaw signed a contract to use the NYSE Euronext trading platform, making it easier for American investors to trade shares from Poland and other countries in the region that are listed on the exchange. The agreement is part of Mr. Sobolewski’s plan to make Warsaw the dominant exchange for Central Europe, with listings from countries like Romania and Ukraine and others as far south as the Balkans...Stephen Schwarzman has his eyes on the region. He told an audience in New York on Tuesday that an acquisition in Central Europe would be “really neat” if regional economies held up. A government privatization wave has drawn investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, which have opened offices in Warsaw in the last year. One of the biggest privatizations was the Warsaw Stock Exchange itself, whose shares soared 18 percent promptly after an initial public offering on Nov. 9. “Everyone wants to have a piece of Polish action,” Artur Tomala, head of Goldman Sachs Poland, said last week at a conference sponsored in part by The International Herald Tribune.

BofA Restarts Some Foreclosures (WSJ)
The bank instructed its foreclosure attorneys this week to prepare new affidavits in 7,800 cases where court approval is required to foreclose on a home, out of a total of 102,000 frozen by the bank amid documentation concerns. In states where no court approval is required, attorneys were asked to lift the hold on 8,000 delayed foreclosure sales out of 30,000.

London Bankers To Spend $1.6 Billion Of Bonus Payouts On Homes (Bloomberg)
17 percent less than last year, Savills Plc said.

David Hasselhoff's Reality Show Dropped (Vulture)
After airing just two episodes of the new reality show The Hasselhoffs this past Sunday night, A&E confirms that it is pulling the show off its schedule. The show, about David Hasselhoff and his two daughters, premiered to poor ratings: 718,000 people watched the first episode, and 505,000 the second.

Probes Lead Bank To Reconsider 'Expert' Unit (WSJ)
Leerink Swann LLC, an investment bank that launched one of the first health-care expert networks, MedaCorp, held private discussions among executives after news surfaced that prosecutors are examining the activities of expert-network firms and others in a broad insider-trading investigation. "We think the investor clients are going to really withdraw quite a bit from" the health-care network, Leerink executive Jeffrey Aroy said in a phone call with Leerink managers Nov. 30, according to an audio tape of the call reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. "We envision ourselves being out of the connecting-investors-with-docs business by the middle of next year."

Prince Charles' Armed Police Showed 'Restraint' Under Attack (Bloomberg)
Armed officers protecting Prince Charles showed “enormous restraint” when his car was attacked by “thugs” in central London during student protests last night, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson said. Responding to questions raised by Prime Minister David Cameron and others, Stephenson said the route taken by the Rolls-Royce limousine carrying the heir to the throne and his wife Camilla to the theater had been checked minutes before and had been clear. An inquiry will be held into the incident, which followed a day of clashes between police and protesters demonstrating against increased student tuition fees, he said.

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