Opening Bell: 04.01.11

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Nasdaq, ICE, Make NYSE Bid (WSJ)
Nasdaq OMX and ICE said Friday that they are proposing to buy NYSE Euronext for $42.50 in cash and stock per NYSE Euronext share, or about $11.3 billion, based on the respective Nasdaq OMX and ICE closing share prices on Thursday.

Berkshire’s Abel Advances in Buffett’s ‘Top 4’ After Sokol Exit (Bloomberg)
Buffett introduced Abel to Berkshire shareholders in the billionaire’s 2002 annual letter, calling the manager Sokol’s “key associate.” In subsequent letters, Abel’s name always followed Sokol’s as Buffett praised “Dave and Greg” for their work expanding the energy business. Sokol said in an interview last year that Abel began working with him at MidAmerican in the early 1990’s when the company was independent. Sokol, previously MidAmerican’s CEO, sold the company to Buffett for about $9 billion. Sokol said it was his idea to promote Abel three years ago. “I went to Warren and said, ‘Greg is doing a fantastic job,’” Sokol said on Aug. 16 at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “Warren said ‘If that’s what you think is the right thing to do, then that’s fine.’ So I turned the CEO title over to Greg.”

U.S. Payrolls Grew 216,000 in March; Unemployment at 8.8% (Bloomberg)
Payrolls increased by 216,000 workers last month after a revised 194,000 gain the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Economists projected a March gain of 190,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The jobless rate dropped from 8.9 percent in February, the fourth straight decrease.

Warren Buffett's Halo Tarnished, By Charlie Gasparino (TDB)
"I can tell you that this entire episode shows why investors and the media should stop portraying Warren Buffett as a saint, who never lies, cheats or equivocates and surrounds himself with similar heavenly characters. Instead, Buffett should be seem for what he is: A great investor and businessman motivated by greed and ambition and like his unheavenly deputy."

Morgan Stanley Venture Struggles (WSJ)
A joint venture between Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley will likely report an extraordinary loss of about ¥80 billion ($956 million) for the just-ended fiscal year, due to unrealized losses from bond trading, people familiar with the matter said Friday. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. was set up by MUFG and the U.S. investment bank in May last year by merging Morgan Stanley's Japanese investment banking operations, including its merger and acquisition business, with Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

Subprime Bonds Are Back (WSJ)
The prices on a representative slice of the subprime bond market have doubled from 30 cents on the dollar at the low point of the crisis to roughly 60 cents today.

TPG to Sell Stake to Kuwait, Singapore (WSJ)
TPG Holdings has reached a deal to sell nearly 5% of itself to sovereign-wealth funds operated by Kuwait and Singapore. The deal values the firm at about $11 billion and allows it to raise several hundred million dollars, according to people close to the matter.

Marc Faber: Still a Bear, and He Has His Reasons (CNBC)
“I know I will die, but I’m still living,” Faber says. “What do you want me to do about it? Should I kill myself in anticipation of certain death in 10 or 15 years time?” The same kind of logic applied to his run on Wall Street, which began in 1970 at the firm White Weld & Co. with a role summarizing economic research to send to overseas offices, in the pre-Internet days. He got to know future U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who gave a briefing to the firm every two weeks. “At the end I was the only person attending because all he did was summarize the Wall Street Journal of the previous day,” Faber says.

Roubini: Banks Risk Breaking Back Of Irish Government (CNBC)
"They cannot keep on socializing losses and eventually having sovereign risk becoming banking risk and banking risk becoming sovereign risk, that's not the right approach."

RBS Expects To Triple India Banking Assets (Bloomberg)
The U.K.’s biggest government-controlled bank, which manages $1 billion of assets for private banking clients in India, plans to increase its wealth management employees by 54 percent to 100 in two years, Gupta said. The bank will also add 20 more relationship managers in the country, taking the total to 45 in that period, he said.

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