Opening Bell: 12.28.10 - Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 12.28.10

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Stranded Airport Travelers Face 'Long' Wait After Storm (Bloomberg)
Get comfortable because no one's going anywhere! "The time needed to accommodate affected passengers will depend on the length of the shutdowns, Ed Martelle said. “It’s a moving target. I don’t know how fast we can get them on planes.”

Out of Lehman's Ashes Wall Street Gets Most of What It Wants (Bloomberg)
“We continue to listen to the same people whose errors in judgment were central to the problem,” said John Reed, 71, a former co-chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc., who estimated only 25 percent of needed changes have been enacted. “I’m astounded because we basically dropped the world’s biggest economy because of an error in bank management.”

This Is A Picture Of 50 Cent Shoveling Snow (TwitPic)
He'll do the neighbors' driveways for $100 a pop.

M&A King Is...Not Yet Decided (WSJ)
Which is another way of saying Citi still has a shot.

BSE Hopes to Score With Shariah Index (IRT)
Get it while it's hot: "The Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia’s oldest trading floor, along with the Mumbai-based Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions on Monday launched an index comprising shares, of India’s top 50 companies that meet the legal code of Islam. The BSE TASIS Shariah 50 index was formed using the guidelines of an Indian Shariah advisory board. The barometer consists of the 50 largest and most liquid Shariah-compliant stocks within the BSE 500 Index. The new index was last trading up 0.5% at 1,233.49 outpacing the benchmark Sensex’s 0.4% rise this morning. Islamic law doesn’t permit Muslims to invest in companies that derive significant benefits from interest, since usury is considered sinful in the Islamic faith, or from the sale of goods and services that are deemed sinful within the Islamic faith, like alcohol, tobacco and weapons. The index can be used for the construction of Shariah-compliant financial products, such as mutual funds."

Dog Rescued After Getting Head Stuck in Wall
(KLTA)
An 8-month old German shepherd puppy learned a hard lesson Monday about sticking his nose where it didn't belong when he got his head stuck in a hole in a wall. A friend of the dog's owner discovered the pup in distress Monday morning and when she was unable to free the dog herself, she called animal control officers for help. "My initial reaction was, 'Wow, how'd he get in there?'" Riverside County Animal Services Sgt. James Huffman said. "And why is there a hole that big in the wall?"

Amid Inquiries, Expert Networks Get a Cold Shoulder (Dealbook)
A fewpeople get arrested in connection with the government's massive insider trading probe and all of a sudden no one wants to sit with you.

Lives Of Energy Traders: High Stakes, High Cholesterol (WaPo)
McMeel worked for 13 years in the energy markets, and he revels in juicy descriptions and office anecdotes, which have the unmistakable feel of insider lore. He colorfully describes the denizens of this all-male world (one has "a skull the size of a pony keg") and their meals ("a haiku of fat."). But as on-point as these descriptions might be, the men and their meals begin to blur; when everyone is larger than life, no one is.

Chris Christie: Fat Chance
(NYP)
Chris Christie admitted yesterday that he doesn't make New Year's resolutions to lose weight anymore because he never sticks to them...Christie said that he has resolved to shed the extra baggage about 35 times in his life but has only had "varying degrees of success." Christie, who was nicknamed "Big Boy" by former President George W. Bush when he was the US attorney in Newark, tries to work out three times a week, a friend told The Post.

Holiday Sales Return To Pre-Recession Level (NYT)
High-fives all around.

GM Shares Rise After High Marks From Wall Street (Reuters)
Everyone wants a piece of this: "Barclays said GM is 'relatively attractive' for three reasons — strong positions in emerging markets China and Brazil; strong earnings in North America due to price discipline; and even a conservative estimate of its financial position suggest $42 per share price target. JPMorgan sees the 'potential for significant additional appreciations beyond year-end 2011.'"

China Property Market Limps Into New Year (Reuters)
"The first half of next year will be a hard time for the property sector," said Chen Dongqi, deputy chief of the Macroeconomic Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, China's powerful economic planning agency. Property prices will fall in the first six months of 2011, though by less than 10 percent, said Liu Shiqing and Xu Shengli, analysts at Essence Securities in Beijing. "Under the impact of the macro policies, shares in developers face high risks in the next two quarters," they said in a note to clients.

Hot Trade In Private Shares Of Facebook (WSJ)
Facebook has accounted for 48% of private-company transactions on SecondMarket this year and 40% of those on SharesPost, the exchanges say.

The 2010 Blizzard In 40 Seconds (WSJ)

Relive it like it was two days ago.

Citi Investigating 'Suspicious Transactions' (TSC)
Citi "recently initiated an investigation into a set of suspicious transactions in its Gurgaon branch and immediately reported the matter to the regulatory and law enforcement authorities," the company said in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "Through Citibank's proactive steps and in close co-operation with the investigating authorities, the suspicious transactions have been isolated."

President Obama praises Michael Vick's turnaround in call to Eagles owner (NYDN)
"He said, 'So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance. He was ... passionate about it," Lurie told Sports Illustrated's Peter King. "He said it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.''

Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated vacation-esque schedule ’til Monday (opening/closing wraps and limited updates whenever the urge to reach out and touch you moves us). We still want to hear from you, though, so if someone gets nailed for insider trading, Vikram announces he’s quitting to join Stomp in 2011, or anything else happens that you think might tickle our fancy, do not hesitate to let us know.

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