Opening Bell: 08.24.11

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Moody's Cuts Japan's Credit Rating (WSJ)
Moody's said it was cutting Japan's government bond rating to Aa3 from Aa2, citing "large budget deficits and the build-up in Japanese government debt since the 2009 global recession." It kept the outlook on the new rating as stable.

Japan Rolls Out Yen-Stopping Measures (WSJ)
Announced by Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the package has two main elements: a $100 billion fund to encourage Japanese businesses to ramp up their overseas mergers and acquisitions, and a rule requiring major financial institutions to report currency-trading positions twice daily.

Markets Remain Unkind To BofA (WSJ)
FYI: "As a bond-fund manager, I do watch Bank of America's stock price, and under $7 is a bad sign," said Chris Vincent, a portfolio manager at William Blair & Co.

Paul Tudor Jones Up For The Month, Lowering/Raising Fees (WSJ)
Tudor Investment Corp executives have told clients that early next year the firm will offer a new share class for the firm's flagship $7.6 billion Tudor BVI Global Fund Ltd., one that charges management fees of 2.75%, down from the current 4% fees. But clients will have to give something to get something. They will choose between paying the new management fee of 2.75% as well as 27% of any gains for the new share class of the fund; or they can stick with the current fees, which include a 4% management fee and 23% of any gains. Either way, the fees will remain higher than the 2% management fee and 20% slice of gains claimed by most hedge funds. One reason the high fees may not deter investors: Mr. Jones has managed to make money amid the market's recent tumble, scoring gains of more than 3% so far this month, according to investors. The reason: Mr. Jones has held a large slug of gold-related investments as well as bearish positions on stocks.

Ben Bernanke unlikely to announce big new plans at Jackson Hole (WaPo)
“He will explain what the Fed has done and the costs and benefits of its remaining policy options,” Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan Chase, said in a research note. “But we would expect him to leave it at that, and not forcefully signal that a given course of action has already been decided upon.”

A Defiant Gadhafi Vows To Fight (WSJ)
Earlier Wednesday, Col. Gadhafi used a radio address on local Al-Ouraba TV to urge Libyans to fight against the rebels. The pro-Gadhafi TV channel earlier quoted the Libyan leader as saying he had left the compound in a "tactical move" after 64 North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrikes turned it to ruble, according to news reports. He vowed martyrdom or victory in his fight against NATO aggression.

German President Questions Legality of ECB Bond Buys (Reuters)
"I regard the massive acquisition of the bonds of individual states via the European Central Bank as legally questionable," he said in the opening speech at an economists' conference in Lindau, Germany.

Some Gold Bulls Say Time To Cash In, Rally Overdone (Reuters)
Dennis Gartman, who has long been bullish on gold priced in non-U.S. currencies, said he was reducing his long positions on gold priced in euro and sterling terms. "Perhaps things have become a bit too frothy and reduced rather than increased exposure seems reasonable and wise," Gartman said.

Irene Now 'Major' Hurricane, Heads For Northeast (Bloomberg)
The storm, bearing winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kilometers per hour), may cause “devastating damage,” the NHC said in an advisory at 8 a.m. Miami time. Irene, 335 miles southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas, is forecast to hit the North Carolina coastline on Aug. 27 and make landfall again near Rhode Island late on Aug. 28, according to NHC projections.

Cocaine's Newest Risks: Dying Skin and Compromised Immunity (SA)
To the list of cocaine’s many dangers, health officials have added at least one more: purpura, a rash caused by internal bleeding from small blood vessels. Two recent papers in major medical journals have documented cases of cocaine users showing up in emergency rooms with patches of blackened, dying skin on the ears, face, trunk or extremities. The condition causes scarring and sometimes requires reconstructive surgery. Noah Craft, a dermatologist at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center who co-authored a paper on the condition published online by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in June, says he now sees about one case per month: “It’s become almost routine.”

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