Opening Bell: 05.03.11

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Goldman Chief To Stay In Job At Least Two More Years (NYP)
Lloyd Blankfein, approaching his fifth anniversary running Goldman amid some Wall Street speculation that recent regulatory tussles have left him burned out and looking to step down, is likely to stay put at the helm of Goldman Sachs for at least two years, sources tell The Post.

Morgan Aligned With Commodities Bulls As Goldman Says Sell (Bloomberg)
The surge in everything from oil to corn to gold has yet to crimp demand, inventories are still tight, and getting out now would be “premature,” Hussein Allidina, the head of commodity research at Morgan Stanley in New York, said on April 29. Prices may no longer reflect supply and demand, and they are likely to drop in the next three to six months before rebounding, Goldman said in reports April 11 and April 15.

U.S. Business Has High Tax Rates but Pays Less (NYT)
Topping out at 35 percent, America’s official corporate income tax rate trails that of only Japan, at 39.5 percent, which has said it plans to lower its rate. It is nearly triple Ireland’s and 10 percentage points higher than in Denmark, Austria or China. To help companies here stay competitive, many executives say, Congress should lower it. But by taking advantage of myriad breaks and loopholes that other countries generally do not offer, United States corporations pay only slightly more on average than their counterparts in other industrial countries. And some American corporations use aggressive strategies to pay less — often far less — than their competitors abroad and at home. A Government Accountability Office study released in 2008 found that 55 percent of United States companies paid no federal income taxes during at least one year in a seven-year period it studied.

Buffett Lets The Facts Bury Sokol (Dealbook)
Sorkin: A close friend of Mr. Buffett’s explained his thinking this way. “Warren knew that the second that press release hit the wires, Sokol’s professional career was over. Done. Forever. Sokol was finished. He didn’t need to brag about being ‘ruthless.’ ”

Frank Bill Would Cut Regional Fed Presidents From Rate Votes (Bloomberg)
U.S. Representative Barney Frank, the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, is pushing to remove the power regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents have to weigh in on interest-rate decisions.

India Raises Interest Rates to Battle Inflation (NYT)
In a bid to rein in persistently high inflation, India’s central bank raised interest rates Tuesday more than analysts had expected and signaled that it would be willing to raise borrowing costs even further. The action, which caused the country’s stock market to close 2.4 percent lower, will make it harder for India to achieve the 9 percent growth target set by the government for the current financial year, which ends in March 2012.

Man Group launches $1.5bn Japan fund (Telegraph)
The computer-driven Nomura Global Trend fund was the first onshore Japanese fund to be launched by Man's AHL unit and will invest in a mixture of assets via three currency baskets, one of which includes the Chinese Yuan.

Greece To Name And Shame Tax Evaders (CNBC)
For those not paying their taxes in full the warning is stark; the Greek government plans to make an example of someone by the "identification and exemplary punishment of large-scale tax evasion."

Banks Said to Be Quizzed by European Union Over Libor Rates (Bloomberg)
European antitrust regulators, who last week opened probes into 16 banks over credit derivatives, are also examining whether lenders manipulated the daily London interbank offered rate, according to two people familiar with the investigation...“This case will be difficult to prove -- and the construction of Libor is such that it is difficult to manipulate as extreme pricing is smoothed out of the calculation,” said Simon Maughan, co-head of European equities at MF Global Ltd. in London.

Nasdaq, NYSE Arca Cancel Trades in Over 50 Stocks (CNBC)
More than 50 companies including pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck & Co. were hit with a flurry of bad trades on Monday that later had to be canceled. Most of the trades that were canceled involved companies in the healthcare industry. Many trades occurred at prices far from their closing price. NYSE Arca and Nasdaq decided to cancel all trades 30 percent away from the prior consolidated price, the exchanges said. The trades were made in a purchase of an entire portfolio of shares that were sold together, like in a basket, according to a source familiar with the matter.

North Korea behind cyber attack on S.Korea bank-prosecutors (Reuters)
North Korean computer hackers were responsible for bringing down the network of a South Korean bank last month, prosecutors in Seoul said on Tuesday, in the latest of a string of cyber attacks thought to have originated from the secretive state.

Chase Scuttles Test Of $5 ATM Fees (Tribune)
JPMorgan Chase says it has finished testing $4 and $5 ATM fees for noncustomers in two states, and it is going back to the $3 fees it previously charged.

Bin Laden kill may reopen CIA interrogation debate (Reuters)
One of the key sources for initial information about an al Qaeda "courier" who led U.S. authorities to bin Laden's Pakistani hide-out was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda operative said to have masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks, a former U.S. national security official said. KSM, as he was known to U.S. officials, was subjected to "waterboarding" 183 times, the U.S. government has acknowledged.

Hustler Club Charges $2 For Ice And $2 For No Ice (Eater)
"Thought you would enjoy this image of our receipt from Hustler Club. $2 for putting our drink on the rocks, and also $2 for taking it neat without rocks."

Overheard (WSJ)
The death of Osama bin Laden just made President George W. Bush's appearance as keynote at next week's SALT hedge-fund gathering in Sin City a much hotter ticket.

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