Opening Bell: 01.27.11

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New Yorkers Told To Stay Home As Snowfall City (Bloomberg)
While the storm was over in time for the morning commute, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said heavy snowfall had left streets too treacherous to travel. New York City almost never takes a snow day, but today is one of those rare days,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “People should stay at home and off the roads.” The storm broke New York’s 86-year-old record for January snowfall. A total of 36 inches (82 centimeters) had fallen in Central Park this month as of 1 a.m., compared with 27.4 inches in 1925, the National Weather Service said.

Snowstorm Wallops Northeast, Piling On Mercy (AP)
Run for your lives!

Goldman President Warns On Bank Rules At Davos (FT)
At the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gary Cohn, Goldman’s president, criticised regulators’ focus on traditional institutions and urged them to look at the effects of new rules on the whole financial system. “In the next few years, the unregulated sector will grow at an exponential rate,” he said. “Risk is risk. My concern is that ... risk will move from the regulated, more transparent banking sector to a less regulated, more opaque sector.”

McDonald's No Match For KFC In China As Colonel Rules (Bloomberg)
On the edge of Tiananmen Square, just across the street from Mao Zedong’s tomb, He Yingying munches on a piece of chicken and gazes at the benign-looking figure beaming down at her. “We love him,” she says, bursting into an impish smile. The 21-year-old student from Beijing’s Capital University of Economics and Business isn’t referring to Mao, whose iconic official portrait dominates the square. She’s talking about a long-dead, white-bearded Kentucky colonel on the logo of the KFC restaurant where she’s feasting on her favorite fast food.

Fed Closes Ranks As Improving Economy Won't Derail QE2 (Bloomberg)
“They’re trying very hard in their statement to get people to stop jumping the gun” with an expectation that the record stimulus will end before the planned conclusion in June, said Ethan Harris, head of developed-markets economic research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. The Fed is saying, “we’re continuing our buying program and we’re not going to move for a long time,” he said. Harris put the odds of completing the purchases at 95 percent.

Pot-firing catapult found at Arizona-Mexico border (AP)
National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence last Friday evening.

GM Drops Request For Loans (WSJ)
General Motors Co. is withdrawing its request for billions in Department of Energy loans aimed at making its vehicle fleet more fuel-efficient, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday. GM and the DOE had been negotiating loan terms under the $25 billion lending program. The amount GM was in line to get hasn't been disclosed.

Allen Stanford Headed To Prison Hospital To Get Fit For Trial (Bloomberg)
“The court finds Stanford is incompetent to stand trial at this time based on his apparent impaired ability to rationally assist his attorneys in preparing his defense,” U.S. District Judge David Hittner in Houston said yesterday in his ruling. “The court’s finding that Stanford is incompetent, however, does not alter the court’s finding that Stanford is a flight risk.”

Worries About Greece Scenario Muted In Japan (WSJ)
Japan's debt problem is, by far, the worst in the developed world—expected to surpass 200% of gross domestic product this year, according to some projections. That's well above Greece's 137%. But unlike Greece and the other countries suffering from market runs on their sovereign borrowing, Japan has been largely immune to the dictates of global hedge funds and other demanding investors who look askance at the razor-thin yields offered for Japanese government-issued debt.

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