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Opening Bell: 03.14.11

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Hacker group releases BofA employee correspondence (Reuters)
Anonymous, a hacker group sympathetic to WikiLeaks, released on Monday emails that it obtained from someone who said he is a former Bank of America Corp employee. In the emails dating from November 2010, people that appear to be employees of a Balboa Insurance, a Bank of America insurance unit, discuss removing documents from loan files for a group of insured properties. A BofA spokesman said on Sunday the documents were clerical and administrative documents stolen by a former Balboa Insurance employee, and were not related to foreclosures. "We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue," the spokesman said.

Quake Toll May Top 10,000 as Japan Fights Nuclear Accident (Bloomberg)
“The situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant continues to be a concern,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a meeting of the government’s crisis response team in Tokyo. “Everyone connected with this is working with all their might, without regard to day or night, to prevent further damage.” The cooling system failed at Fukushima Dai-Ichi station’s No. 1 and No. 3 reactors after the earthquake, and it stopped working today at the No. 2 reactor, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, citing information received by Fukushima prefecture.

Japan Adds $183 Billion to Economy, Doubles Asset Purchases (Bloomberg)
The central bank pumped 15 trillion yen ($183 billion) into money markets today to assure financial stability amid a plunge in stocks and surge in credit risk. Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his board also enlarged a program buying assets from government bonds to exchange-traded funds to 10 trillion yen.

Berkshire Hathaway To Buy Lubrizol (WSJ)
Berkshire is buying specialty-chemicals company Lubrizol Corp. for about $9 billion in cash, making it one of the biggest acquisitions in Berkshire's history. The companies said Monday that the transaction also includes about $700 million in net debt. Berkshire will pay $135 a share, a 28% premium to Lubrizol's Friday closing stock price of $105.44.

Moody's: Insurers Face Heavy Losses (WSJ)
The ratings agency said the sectors and market participants that will be most affected are Japanese domestic insurers, Japan Earthquake Reinsurance Co. Ltd., international insurers, global reinsurers, retrocessionaires and catastrophe bonds. A retrocessionaire is a reinsurer of a reinsurer.

Tarantino sues neighbor over noisy birds (ABC)
Tarantino filed a lawsuit last week in Los Angeles Superior Court against "True Blood" screenwriter Alan Ball. The lawsuit alleges Tarantino is fed up with Ball's exotic birds. He claims the birds' screams are making it difficult for him to work at home. Tarantino says he tried to talk with ball about the noisy birds but nothing was resolved.

GE Vows to Help Japan on Nuclear Crisis (WSJ)
"Over the coming weeks and months, we will be doing whatever we can do to help with the energy needs of Japan," Mr. Immelt said at a news conference. He didn't elaborate on the technical support that GE will offer to its customer Tokyo Electric Power Co., partner Hitachi and the Japanese government.

Irish `Bad Boys' Vow to Keep Tax Rate After Sarkozy Summit Spat (Bloomberg)
“Ireland is now seen as the bad boys and girls of the euro area because they are trying to block this,” said Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin. “If we agree on the corporate tax issue, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”

SEC May Charge Former Fannie Mae Head (AP)
The SEC may pursue civil charges against Fannie Mae’s former chief executive, Daniel Mudd, over the mortgage giant’s disclosure of exposure to risky loans.

Moody's: Bank Compensation Reforms Positive, Just In Short Term (Moody's)
"While many banks have made changes in line with new global compensation standards and more are expected, in the long term we expect to see erosion in pay discipline," says Vice President and author of the report Christian Plath. Such weakness, Plath notes, could constrain ratings upgrades or contribute to downward ratings pressure.