Opening Bell: 06.24.11

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Republicans Walk Out on Budget Talks, Default Looms (Reuters)
Boehner said talks could resume if Democrats took tax hikes off the table, but they showed no sign of backing off...Obama and Boehner have tried to establish a personal rapport since this spring's budget battle. The two golfed together on Saturday and met at the White House on Wednesday. Cantor, who was building a similar bond with Biden, gave no indication after Wednesday's session that talks had hit a wall. His withdrawal caught Democrats by surprise, coming as Obama met with House Democratic leaders at the White House before the afternoon's scheduled negotiating session.

Russia May Face Debt Crisis Like Greece (Bloomberg)
“By 2030 the debt level would be unsustainable like in Greece” if nothing changes, Sergei Ulatov, the resident World Bank economist in Moscow said in an interview during the Russia and CIS Capital Markets Forum organized by Euromoney in London today. “Right now, we are mostly helped by oil prices and not by a very prudent macroeconomic policy.”

BoE's Posen sees risk of euro zone rescue "disaster" (Reuters)
The risk is growing that rescue plans for debt-stricken European countries will end badly and money would be better spent on a public trust for banks, Bank of England policymaker Adam Posen said.

EU leaders appoint Mario Draghi as new ECB president (Reuters)
Italy's Mario Draghi was appointed the new head of the European Central Bank on Friday, to replace current ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at the end of October, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said.

Lagarde Vows Neutrality Toward Europe (Bloomberg)
“I will not shrink from the necessary candor and toughness in my discussions with the European leaders,” Lagarde said in a statement in Washington delivered in a meeting yesterday with IMF directors. “I am not here to represent the interest of any given region of the world, but rather the entire membership.”

Bernanke Public Approval Falls to Lowest (Bloomberg)
Bernanke is viewed favorably by 30 percent of those polled, compared with 26 percent who view him unfavorably; the remainder are unsure. In September of 2009, Bernanke enjoyed 41 percent approval and 22 percent disapproval. The Fed itself is viewed favorably by 42 percent of voters, little changed from previous surveys.

China accounting scandals put Big Four auditors on red alert (Reuters)
The string of accounting problems and stock plunges at publicly traded Chinese groups has sparked deep concerns across the world's biggest audit firms, putting the so-called Big Four on alert from worries that their reputation could be brought down along with a growing list of stricken companies.

Carlyle to raise $1bn in weak IPO market (FT)
Carlyle, the private equity firm with $108bn under management, plans to raise more than $1bn with a initial public offering of stock but is likely to come to the market with a lower-than-expected valuation, according to bankers familiar with the matter…Carlyle had hoped to be valued at almost 10 times its “economic net income”, a metric that excludes costs associated with the listing, they said. Now, Carlyle can expect a multiple of about seven times unless market conditions improve, they added.

Buffett Closes ‘Backdoor’ to Berkshire (Bloomberg)
Warren Buffett’s plan to remove Wesco Financial Corp. (WSC) from the stock exchange will close what was considered a “backdoor” to investing alongside the billionaire. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) has agreed to acquire the 20 percent of Wesco it doesn’t already own for about $545 million in cash and stock.

Cash In The Walls, Pistols In The Books (WSJ)
For the past 14 years, Mr. Bulger and Catherine Greig, a 60-year-old former dental hygienist, lived in this city west of Los Angeles famous for its pier and Third Street Promenade shopping district a block from their apartment, which is a short walk to the beach. The FBI said they allegedly used the phony names of Charles and Carol Gasko. Neighbors and law-enforcement officials say the couple, who were aging but fit and liked pets, lived unnoticed in the cream-colored building. They kept pictures of cats—as well as about 30 guns—in an immaculate home on the top floor.

Wall Street Recruits Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans as Financial Jobs Decline (Bloomberg)
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are being recruited by banks such as Citigroup Inc. (C) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) as Wall Street jobs wane. The New York-based banks joined Credit Suisse Group AG (CS), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Deutsche Bank AG at a job fair hosted yesterday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for service personnel aboard the USS Intrepid, a museum in the Hudson River.

Court Says Ex-Wife May Retain Money From Ponzi Scheme (DealBook)
On Thursday, New York’s highest court ruled that a woman could keep proceeds from a divorce agreement, even if those proceeds were the ill-gotten gains of a financial fraud perpetrated by her former husband.

Lender Drops Pursuit of Debt (WSJ)
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has abandoned more than a thousand debt-collection lawsuits across the U.S. that sought to recover soured credit-card loans from borrowers.

Strauss-Kahn’s New York Accuser Hires French Lawyer to Find Other Victims (Bloomberg)
The woman who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape and sexual assault in New York hired a Paris lawyer to look for women in France who may have been victimized by the former International Monetary Fund chief.

Pioneer to Revisit Subprime (WSJ)
Lewis Ranieri, once known as the father of mortgage finance, is daring to revisit the most infamous sector of the mortgage market—subprime lending. "The pendulum has swung too far in the other direction," Mr. Ranieri, 64 years old, said in an email comment.

Chinese premier declares inflation victory (FT)
“China has made capping price rises the priority of macro-economic regulation and introduced a host of targeted policies. These have worked,” Mr Wen writes in Friday’s Financial Times. “We are confident price rises will be firmly under control this year.”

A Luxury 'Experience' With Louis XIII (WSJ)
It's not enough to read about something in a magazine or see it on television these days: Major companies want to treat customers to an "experience." Hence, the Grande Champagne Cognac Louis XIII, what Rémy Martin bills as "the world's most complex and prestigious spirit," has opened a "Legacy Experience" in a store in SoHo. It will travel to Los Angeles and Miami so New Yorkers aren't the only ones to be able to experience the experience. On Wednesday, Todd Harrison, the founder and CEO of Minyanville Media, and a former vice president at Morgan Stanley, hosted a group of his friends for a peek at the "Legacy Experience" and then a dinner of Elysian Fields lamb with kamut berry ragout.

KKR eyeing Go Daddy for $1B+ (NYP)
Henry Kravis' KKR is leading a Kravis' KKR is leading a buying group that is near a $1 billion plus deal to snap up Web hosting giant Go Daddy, The Post has learned.

Blackstone’s Studzinski Backs British Museum Show of Relic Art (Bloomberg)
John Studzinski, senior managing director of Blackstone Group LP (BX) and a cultural philanthropist, is sponsoring the British Museum’s new show on the art of the Christian relic. The exhibition, which features elaborate containers for sacred human remains from 1000 to 1500 A.D., runs through Oct. 9. Highlights include reliquaries said to contain pieces of the Crown of Thorns and the Virgin Mary’s breast milk.

Climber finds body of friend on Mount Everest (Mirror)
“He was just lying there, his body preserved immaculately by the ice. When I saw him I instantly knew it was Peter. You could see his face. It was just like he was lying on his back taking a rest.”

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