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Opening Bell: 03.16.11

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Japan Nuclear Crisis Deepens on Suspected Reactor Breach (Bloomberg)
“If you get enough cold water inside you may stop the generation of steam and then life will get easier. Until then it is a bitch,” said Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer based in Vienna. “As long as there is steam coming out it will carry radioactive particles and gases with it.”

BREAKING: Citigroup Tops List of Banks That Received Federal Aid (CNBC)
Now it can be told: The bank that exposed the federal government to the greatest potential loss during the government bailout was Citigroup, which received a grand total of $476.2 billion in cash and guarantees, according to a new report of the Congressional Oversight Panel which oversees the TARP program.

Warren Buffett Cancels Trip To Japan (CNBC)
Buffett had been scheduled to attend a Tungaloy Corp. plant opening in Fukushima prefecture on Tuesday, March 22. Tungaloy is owned by Berkshire subsidiary Iscar, a toolmaker headquartered in Israel. He had hoped to make the trip, but canceled after authorities in Japan suggested it would not be the best time to visit.

AIG Takeover of Fuji Fire Offers 204% Arbitrage Gain After Quake (Bloomberg)
AIG on Feb. 10 agreed to purchase the 45 percent of the Osaka, Japan-based casualty insurer it didn’t own through AIG’s Chartis Inc. unit for 146 yen a share. The $565 million offer, which closes March 24, would hand traders an annualized profit of 204 percent based on Fuji Fire’s share price yesterday, the largest of any pending deal in Japan above $500 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

KKR Seeks New Capital Sources for Next Buyout Fund (Reuters)
KKR, which raised an $18 billion global buyout fund in 2006, is just starting to raise a new North American-focused fund with a target size of $8 billion to $10 billion.

£1 million for 'world's most expensive dog' (Telegraph)
Big Splash, or "Hong Dong" in Chinese, is 11-months-old but already stands nearly three-feet-high at the shoulder and weighs more than 180lbs, according to his breeder, Lu Liang. "He is a perfect specimen," said Mr Lu, who runs the Tibetan Mastiff Garden in Laoshan, near the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. "He has excellent genes and will be a good breeding dog. When I started in this business, ten years ago, I never thought we would see such a price." Mr Lu said the details of the sale were confidential, but revealed that the buyer, who payed 10 million yuan (£945,000), was a multi-millionaire coal baron from the north of China. "I could see he loved the puppy, or I would not have sold him," he added. "The buyer told me he thought he was a good investment. As a male dog, he can be hired out to other breeders for as much as 100,000 yuan a shot. He could recoup his money in just a couple of years."

RAB Capital Slums To 'Unsatisfactory' Losses (Reuters)
The group, which warned in September that full-year results would miss expectations, posted a pretax loss for the year to end-December of 20.2 million pounds, compared with a loss of 6.9 million pounds a year ago. "Our results for the year are not satisfactory," Chief Executive Charles Kirwan-Taylor said in the results statement.

Treasury Website Redesign Breaks Bailout Links, Watchdog Says (Bloomberg)
A redesign of the U.S. Treasury Department’s website broke hyperlinks and moved documents that detail the department’s work on U.S. taxpayer bailouts, the chairman of a congressional watchdog said. The redesigned site has “relocated thousands of documents critical to oversight, rendering it difficult -- and in some cases even impossible -- for oversight bodies, outside experts or the public to review Treasury’s work,” Ted Kaufman, chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, wrote in a March 7 letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

Foreign Bankers Flee Tokyo As Crisis Deepens (Reuters)
BNP, Standard Chartered, and Morgan Stanley were among the banks whose staff have left since Friday's earthquake and tsunami, and now a nuclear plant disaster, according to industry sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Expatriate staff at most foreign banks in Tokyo make up a small portion of the total, by some estimates less than 10 percent. But many are often in senior positions so their departure can have a significant impact.

Fed Sees Gains Gains, Keeps Eyes On Inflation (WSJ)
The economy is on a "firmer footing," while the labor market is "improving gradually" and household spending and business investment are expanding, the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement following its one-day meeting. Cautionary words about the economy from previous statements were pared back. Meanwhile, energy-price increases have put upward pressure on inflation, the FOMC said. It expects this to be transitory but "will pay close attention," it said.

Wall Street’s Biggest Bargain May Be Wall Street Office Space (Bloomberg)
Asking rents for buildings at the one-time mecca of global finance have fallen to among the lowest in Manhattan after ranking as some of the priciest as recently as 2008. Wall Street landlords are seeking rates about 18 percent less than the city average, hurt by years of exodus by financial firms looking for bigger, more modern offices, according to brokerage Studley Inc.