Opening Bell: 05.02.11

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Buffett Seeks To Limit Damage (WSJ)
In contrast to his March 30 remarks, when he said he thought Mr. Sokol's actions weren't "in any way unlawful," Mr. Buffett on Saturday called Mr. Sokol's actions "inexcusable" and said they violated the company's insider-trading rules and code of ethics. He said Berkshire had turned over "some very damning evidence, in my view" about Mr. Sokol's trades to the SEC. Mr. Sokol maintains he did nothing wrong, and his attorney late Saturday released a statement calling Mr. Buffett's stance a "resort to transparent scapegoatism."

Buffett Extols Berkshire’s CEO Candidates, Faults Sokol’s Trades (Bloomberg)
“There is no real chance the next CEO comes from outside of Berkshire,” the 80-year-old billionaire said yesterday at a press conference in Omaha, Nebraska, site of the company’s annual meeting. “If you picked the worst of the candidates we have, that person would be very, very good.”...Sokol’s stock deals, which Buffett called “inexplicable” considering his wealth, depleted Berkshire’s list of possible CEOs. Berkshire said in February that it had four candidates, without identifying them. “The leading candidate right now, I would lay a lot of money on him being straight as an arrow,” Buffett said at the April 30 meeting.

Buffett: Failure To Raise Debt Ceiling Is Asinine (Reuters)
Warren Buffett said he expects the Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling before it expires in mid-May, and said it would be that body's "most asinine act" ever if it failed.

The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (Deal Journal)
A question about what Berkshire is doing to protect against the fall of the dollar. Buffett in the past has bet against the U.S. dollar, but said he's lately been inactive in foreign exchange markets. “There’s no question the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar will decline over time. The only question is at what rate, Buffett said. But other currencies will decline too, and he said he doesn’t have strong feelings about which ones will decline faster or slower. Buffett ends by saying he'd rather be in the U.S. right now than any other place or any other time in history.

Osama Bin Laden Killed in Pakistan, Obama Says (Bloomberg)
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan yesterday in a firefight with a team of U.S. operatives who raided the compound where he had been hiding, President Barack Obama said. “On nights like this one we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done,” Obama said in a late-night televised address from the White House.

Bin Laden Was Found At Luxurious Pakistan Compound (Reuters)
Few windows of the three-story home faced the outside of the compound, and a terrace had a seven-foot (2.1 meter) privacy wall, officials said. "It is also noteworthy that the property is valued at approximately $1 million but has no telephone or Internet service connected to it," an administration official said. "The brothers had no explainable source of wealth."

Buffett, Charlie Munger's Share Thoughts On Trump (Reuters)
The biggest laughs of the day came from a question on Trump's prospects for the White House. "Obviously, I think he's a jerk," Berkshire's Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said, with Buffett adding in a more diplomatic way that he did not expect Trump to win the presidency.

Trump Says He's Decided 'In My Mind' To Pursue Presidency (Bloomberg)
“In my mind, I have already decided,” Trump, 64, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I am going to announce. But I can’t do anything until the show ends.”

Abu Dhabi, Hedge Funds to Back Glencore IPO (Reuters)
The listing, which could be London's biggest ever, will be aided by strong support from cornerstones, who could buy nearly 30 percent of the shares sold — or some $3.6 billion worth, if the listing raises its maximum target of $12.1 billion.

Facebook Numbers Feed IPO Outlet (WSJ)
Lou Kerner...pegged Facebook's profit margin—in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization—at about 50%. He said Ebitda should be $1.95 billion this year, and he estimated the company's value in the public market would be $112.9 billion.

Greece Suggests EU/IMF Repayment Extension (Reuters)
In an interview with French daily Liberation published a day ahead of an inspection visit by the lenders, Papaconstantinou became the first Greek official to float the idea of a further easing of conditions on the 110 billion rescue.

Seth Meyers' White House Correspondent's Dinner Speech (TRB)

After Roasting, Trump Responds In Character (NYT)
“Seth Meyers has no talent,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Sunday. “He fell totally flat. In fact, I thought Seth’s delivery was so bad that he hurt himself.”

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