Opening Bell: 02.01.11

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Jordan's King Abdullah Replaces Prime Minister (Bloomberg)
Jordan’s King Abdullah replaced his prime minister following street protests and asked former premier Marouf Bakhit to form a new government that will launch a “genuine political reform process.” Abdullah told Bakhit that he should put the country on the path “to strengthen democracy,” and provide Jordanians with the “dignified life they deserve,” the Royal Court said in an e-mailed statement.

Egypt Ratings Cut at S&P on Unrest; May Lower Further (Bloomberg)
tandard & Poor’s cut the long-term foreign currency debt rating on Egypt to BB, two levels below investment grade, and lowered the long-term and short-term ratings of local currency bonds to BB+/B from BBB-/A-3. "The ongoing political instability and unrest will hamper Egypt’s economic growth and adversely affect its public finances," the rating agency said in a statement today. The long-term ratings were placed on creditwatch negative, indicating that more downgrades may follow, possibly by "more than one notch," according to the statement.

Officials Warn Wall St. About Possible Terror Attacks (Reuters)
Security officials are warning the leaders of major Wall Street banks that al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen may be trying to plan attacks against those financial institutions or their leading executives, NBCNewYork has learned. Intelligence officials stressed the threats are general in nature and there is "no indication of a targeted assassination plot" against any Wall Street executive. But NBCNewYork.com learned that officials fear the names of some top banking executives have been discussed by terror operatives overseas.

Rising Rates Fuel Boomlet In Buyout (WSJ)
Increased investor interest "absolutely means we're much more confident competing in sale processes," said Adam Blumenthal, co-founder of private-equity firm Blue Wolf Capital, which specializes in transactions for smaller companies. "Sellers are confident that if we come in and say there will be a financing package on the table, it will be there."

Storm Cancels Flights, May Set Chicago Record, Ices New York (Bloomberg)
“It’s going to be a two-stage storm and the strongest punch will be late Tuesday night into Wednesday,” meteorologist Nelson Vaz said by telephone. “Anytime you’re talking over a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch of ice, that can cause problems. It is going to be hazardous conditions.”

Taxes Boost State Coffers (WSJ)
State tax collections increased 6.9% in 41 states that have reported their revenue, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York. If that pace of gains holds once the rest of the states have reported, it would be the fastest growth in tax revenue since the second quarter of 2006, which was more than a year before the recent recession began.

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