Opening Bell: 06.15.11

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Greece Bailout Prospects Darken as European Bickering Weakens Papandreou (Bloomberg)
An emergency session of euro finance chiefs in Brussels yesterday failed to break a deadlock on how to enroll investors in a second bailout without triggering a default, casting doubt on funds due from the International Monetary Fund next month.

Greece, Portugal, Ireland Hit Fresh Debt-Cost Highs (MarketBeat)
The cost of insuring Greek, Portuguese and Irish debt against default hit new, record highs Wednesday amid the lack of official consensus about what to do with Greece’s debt.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale Ratings May Be Cut by Moody’s on Greek Debt (Bloomberg)
The reviews of Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas are unlikely to lead to downgrades of more than one level, Moody’s said. Societe Generale’s debt and deposit ratings may be cut as much as two grades because of the “uplift it receives from systemic support, which is currently higher than average for the French banking system,” it said.

Chinese Developers’ Outlook Cut at S&P as Government Curbs Housing Prices (Bloomberg)
Property sales may start to slow as the government’s policy “starts to bite,” leading to price cuts that may drive home prices 10 percent lower in the next 12 months, the credit rating company said. Hong Kong’s real estate market faces the risk of a “sharp correction,” S&P also said in the statement today.

White House wants business to aid in debt cap fight (Reuters)
Worried that Congress will not act in time to raise the country's borrowing cap, the Obama administration is enlisting the business community to persuade lawmakers that a default will have dire consequences.

Wall Streets Need For Trading Speed: The Nanosecond Age (MarketBeat)
London-based trading technology company Fixnetix said Tuesday it has the world’s fastest trading application, a microchip that prepares a trade in 740 billionths of a second, or nanoseconds.

Roach Sees ‘Years’ of Growth Scares (Bloomberg)
“We had a growth scare last year about this time, we’re having another growth scare this year, and I think we will have growth scares for several years to come,” said Roach, non- executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd.

Payroll Tax Cut Idea Joins Debt Talks (WSJ)
President Barack Obama is considering how strongly to push for extending a payroll-tax break for workers and creating a new tax break for employers to jump-start the economy, reflecting White House concerns about joblessness but also complicating efforts to rein in the federal deficit.

SEC probes Merrill CDO sale (FT)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Merrill Lynch’s sale of a complex mortgage-related security it created for Magnetar, an Illinois hedge fund, and the collateral manager involved in the deal, according to people familiar with the matter…Regulators are looking at whether collateral managers, which are supposed to serve CDO investors’ interests, fulfilled their obligations, these people say.

Swiss Probe Trading Activity (WSJ)
Officials at SIX, the Swiss stock exchange where Synthes shares trade, have begun looking into a spike in the company's shares before it disclosed talks to be taken over by U.S. health-care company Johnson & Johnson, according to people familiar with the situation. If the probe turns up evidence of insider trading, stock-market officials could refer the case for further investigation to Zurich's prosecutor.

Bank chiefs’ pay rises by 36% (FT)
Bank chiefs’ average pay in the US and Europe leapt 36 per cent last year to $9.7m, according to data compiled for the Financial Times, despite variable performance across the sector.

At Chase, Top Ranks Get a Big Shake-Up (NYT)
Mr. Dimon has prided himself on the stability of his core group of senior leaders, many of whom have worked alongside him for over a decade at Citigroup and then Bank One of Chicago. But amid an effort to repair its mortgage business and restructure its international activities, Mr. Dimon moved aside two of his most loyal lieutenants while elevating three top managers he did not even know before coming to JPMorgan in 2004.

Demand slowing in China, says Glencore (FT)
Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive, said high prices and the Chinese government’s moves to curb inflation had damped demand, although he hoped any slowdown would be temporary. “We see a pullback in China and it will continue,” he said. “There are pullbacks in China from time to time when they see inflation is too high.” In the US, he said that there had been a “slight slowing down”, adding that this would “hopefully” be “a temporary pullback”.

Bid to stop UBS' Europe HQ plans in London fails (Reuters)
British Land and Blackstone Group's plan to build UBS' new European headquarters in central London will go ahead after a bid to preserve the location as a heritage site failed.

UK Banks face their biggest shake-up since the 1930s in attempt to prevent another financial meltdown (Daily Mail)
George Osborne will propose strict ‘firewalls’ between their high street retail operations and their ‘casino’ investment arms. Each of the two divisions will be required to have separate staff, funding arrangements and computer systems.

Banks Turn to Schumer on Patents (NYT)
For years and much to their frustration, big banks have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a tiny Texas company to use a patented system for processing digital copies of checks, making Claudio Ballard, the inventor of the system, a wealthy man and the bank industry’s biggest patent foe.

Sino-Forest controversy halts Hong Kong's yuan bond sales (Reuters)
After Sino-Forest though, investors will probably get a lot pickier about new offerings, and companies tapping the so-called dim sum bond market will as a result have to pay higher borrowing costs.

Pandora Prices Its I.P.O. at $16 a Share (DealBook)
It is a big step up for Pandora, which has increased the size of its offering twice in the last month. Last week, the company raised its price target by about $3 a share, to $10 to $12.

Armstrong Encounter Draws Scrutiny by F.B.I. (NYT)
The F.B.I. has requested surveillance video from a Colorado restaurant to glean more information about a recent confrontation there between Lance Armstrong and his former teammate Tyler Hamilton, according to a restaurant co-owner...Federal authorities, who for a year have been investigating Armstrong on suspicion of crimes relating to doping, are looking into whether the encounter between Hamilton and Armstrong on Saturday night constitutes witness tampering, said a person briefed on the matter...Hamilton, one of Armstrong’s teammates on the now-defunct United States Postal Service squad, is one of the witnesses in the case against Armstrong.

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