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Opening Bell: 07.27.11

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CBO: John Boehner's debt bill comes up short (Politico)
The first installment of $900 billion is contingent on enacting 10 year caps on annual appropriations which the leadership had hoped would save well over $1 trillion. But CBO late Tuesday came back with a report showing the legislation would reduce deficits by $850 billion when measured against the agency’s most current projections for spending.

U.S. May Have Way to Cover Bills After Deadline, for Week (NYT)
Thanks to an inflow of tax payments and maneuvering by the Treasury Department, the government can probably continue to pay all of its bills for several days after Aug. 2, providing potentially critical breathing room for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, according to estimates by several Wall Street banks and a Washington research organization. The consensus is that the government will not run short of money until Aug. 10, when it would be unable to cut millions of Social Security checks without borrowing more money.

Dunkin IPO To Fuel Coffee Wars (WSJ)
Apparently McDonald's should watch its back.

California Secures $5.4 Billion Loan From 8 Banks (DealBook)
California has lined up a $5.4 billion loan from a group of eight banks led by Goldman Sachs as an emergency cushion if the credit markets are disrupted by a failure to raise the debt ceiling, the state’s treasurer announced on Tuesday…Bill Lockyer, California’s Democratic treasurer, said in a statement that he was concerned that the state could lose access to the bond markets if President Obama and House Republicans do not reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling by early August.

Economist: If The Tea Party Likes A Debt Deal, It Can't Pass (CNBC)
“As the Tea Partiers are showing no indications of being willing to compromise at all, the only way a deal can be done is for moderate House Republicans—those who appreciate that default would be hugely damaging for the country—to side with Democrats to pass a bill that the Senate and the president can sign,” Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics said in a research note on Wednesday.

Elephants never forget old friends and are social network experts (DM)
Study author Dr Shermin de Silva from the University of Pennsylvania said: ‘Elephants are able to track one another over large distances by calling to each other and using their sense of smell. ‘So the “herd” of elephants one sees at any given time is often only a fragment of a much larger social group. ‘Our work shows that they are able recognize their friends and renew these bonds even after being apart for a long time.’ The study also found that some are more sociable than others and those who had few friends tended to be loyal to them, while those with a larger circle were less so.Researchers studied more than 100 female adult Asian elephants in the Uda Walawe National Park, in Sri Lanka, for 20 months. While many kept the same friends, 16 per cent changed their ‘top five’ associates, the researchers report in the journal BMC Ecology.

Goldman Sachs Head of Commercial Mortgage Trading Salem Said to Leave Bank (Bloomberg)
Matthew Salem, head of commercial- mortgage bond trading at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has left the bank, according to a person familiar with the situation. The fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets is cutting about 1,000 jobs after reporting a plunge in fixed-income revenue last quarter that was bigger than analysts expected. The company’s mortgage businesses were among those that produced “particularly” lower revenues, Chief Financial Officer David A. Viniar said on a July 19 conference call.

S&P warns against US prioritizing debt payments (CNBC via Reuters)
Beers said the Treasury could "theoretically" prioritize debt payments over other government obligations for some time while negotiations continue in Washington. "But it's worth remembering what that would mean -- it would mean a very sudden fiscal shock that the longer it lasted would filter powerfully through the system," Beers said. "Potentially that would be deeply disruptive to the economy." Beers also said that a small increase in the U.S. debt ceiling would be negative to U.S. ratings.

Federal Reserve can’t rescue debt debacle (WaPo)
The Fed acts as the “fiscal agent” for the Treasury, a role akin to being the federal government’s banker. But despite that role, considerable legal restrictions on what the Fed can do make it hard to imagine the central bank being able to address the immediate crisis. And there is no appetite within the independent-minded Fed to intervene in a fundamentally political dispute, particularly one as polarizing as how much the government should spend and how it should pay for it. “I want to eliminate any expectation that the Fed through any mechanism could offset the impact of a default on the government debt,” Bernanke said at a congressional hearing this month.

Religious Groups Set Prayer Vigil For Debt Deal (Reuters)
Across the street from the U.S. Capitol in the small north lawn of the United Methodist Building, Christians, Muslims and Jews prayed on Tuesday for the country's budget, and hope to teach Republicans and Democrats a lesson in compromise.

Ex-IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn Court Hearing Delayed to Aug. 23 (Bloomberg)
Strauss-Kahn, 62, was scheduled to appear in state court in Manhattan Aug. 1 on charges of assaulting a hotel maid. Strauss- Kahn, who is free as he awaits trial, has denied wrongdoing.

Banks Spar Over Loan Settlement (WSJ)
As federal and state officials prod banks toward a multibillion-dollar deal to atone for a host of irregularities in foreclosing homes around the U.S., Wells Fargo & Co. has told government officials it should pay less than Bank of America Corp. or J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., according to people familiar with the situation. The behind-the-scenes infighting has delayed a resolution and could prolong the months-long uncertainty over the ultimate cost of ending one of the biggest controversies stemming from the financial crisis.

Crystal Harris On Sex With Hugh Hefner (Gawker)
Harris, 24, said Tuesday on Sirius XM Radio's Howard Stern Show that sex with the 85-year-old Playboy founder lasted "like two seconds." "Then I was just over it," she says. "I was like, 'Ahhh.' I was over it. I just like, walked away. I'm not turned on by Hef, sorry." She adds that they had sex just once. "He doesn't really take off his clothes," Harris says. "I've never seen Hef naked."