Opening Bell: 02.04.11

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US Added Few Jobs Amid Bad Weather (WSJ)
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 36,000 last month, far below Wall Street expectations; economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by 136,000. Manufacturers reported employment gains but builders, transportation and warehousing companies reported declines, likely due to bad winter weather.

Goldman Sachs Turns Bullish on Europe Banks as Debt Risk Eases (Bloomberg)
“For financials the narrowing of sovereign spreads in peripheral eurozone, which our economists expect to continue, is a clear positive,” London-based Oppenheimer wrote in the report dated Feb. 3. “Banks are one of the least expensive sectors in the market and the trade-off between their growth prospects and earnings in the next few years looks especially attractive.”

Shumway to Return Client Cash in $8 Billion Fund by End of March (Bloomberg)
Chris Shumway, who announced he would step down as chief investment officer of his $8 billion Shumway Capital Partners LLC in November, said he’ll return client capital by March 31, according to a letter sent to investors. Shumway, 45, who started the Greenwich, Connecticut, firm with $70 million in 2002 and has produced average annual returns of 17 percent before fees, will continue to manage money for himself and his employees.

Jeff Skilling's Son Found Dead At 20 (NYP)
The 20-year-old son of imprisoned ex-Enron president Jeff Skilling was found dead in his Southern California apartment. Police found the body Tuesday after being told by friends of John Taylor Skilling, a student at Chapman University in Orange, that he had failed to show up for a dinner date and wasn't answering calls. Bottles of medication were found near Skilling, who reportedly had been distraught over a recent breakup with his girlfriend, police said.

Big Fine Over Bug In 'Quant' Program (WSJ)
A unit of French insurer AXA SA agreed to pay $242 million to settle fraud accusations by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it hid from clients for nearly a year a serious software glitch in a quantitative investment model.

Germany's Merkel, in Reversal, Urges Rescue of Euro (NYT)
In exchange for bolstering the euro zone rescue fund, Mrs. Merkel will press others to mimic Germany’s economic rise. She is proposing to coordinate retirement ages across countries, scrap any links between wages and inflation and bring corporate tax systems closer together. In a remarkable about-face, Mrs. Merkel now wants more economic integration in the euro zone, including regular meetings of its leaders.

'You Will Be Lynched' Says Egyptian Policeman (Bloomberg)
"A policeman looked me in the eye and said: 'You will be lynched today,' running his finger across his neck. Others spat on us. They hit the two men in our group in the face through the broken windows, scratching Mahmoud and punching my other male friend. Someone pulled my hair from the back."

BofA Gets $700 Million for Unit Lender Has `No Reason' to Own (Bloomberg)
The bank will get at least $700 million from QBE Insurance Group Ltd. for the Balboa insurance unit, exiting the market for coverage of foreclosed homes and those with distressed buyers.

Bernanke Denies Fed Is Stoking Inflation (WSJ)
"I think it's entirely unfair to attribute excess demand pressures in emerging markets to U.S. monetary policy, because emerging markets have all the tools they need to address excess demand in those countries," he said in answering a question from the audience. "It's really up to emerging markets to find appropriate tools to balance their own growth."

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