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Opening Bell: 08.29.11

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Irene Leaves Trail Of Damage Far Inland (WSJ)
The huge size and slow journey of the storm along 1,100 miles of U.S. coastline left an extraordinarily broad impact. At least 24 deaths were attributed to Irene as devastation ranged from North Carolina to Vermont. Toppled trees, fallen debris and flooding caused hundreds of roads to be closed over the weekend. Up and down the coast, some 2.4 million people evacuated...Between 15 and 20 heating-oil trucks were pushed into the Ramapo River after a 9-inch torrent of rain fell near Tuxedo Park, N.Y., and the stream overflowed. "An environmental disaster is floating down the river," said Mayor Tom Wilson in an interview. "There's fuel spilling into the river. ... It's everywhere."

Exchanges To Shed Sandbags As Irene Passes (Bloomberg)
Sandbags remained piled around the entrance to Goldman Sachs’s headquarters at 200 West St. yesterday, with security guards standing by. The firm’s buildings are “functioning normally” and will be open, Stephen Cohen, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, said in a phone interview.

Economist: Reconstruction Won't Offset Irene Damage (CNBC)
“The first visible impact will be on jobless claims, which will likely rise next week, some effect is possible this week, but history suggests people fleeing major storms do not stop to file a claim for unemployment before they leave,” he wrote.

Central Bankers Worry Economy Still In Peril (WSJ)
The angst was underscored in a blunt speech by the International Monetary Fund's new managing director, Christine Lagarde. "We risk seeing the fragile recovery derailed," she said Saturday. Those risks have been aggravated, she said, by the public's sense that policy makers' response has been inadequate. "We are in a dangerous new phase," the former French finance minister said.

German Finance Minister: World Facing 'Lean' 7 Years (Reuter)
"There might well be seven lean years ahead for the world economy," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, pointing to a "trade off between short term-pain and long-term gain".

Shia LaBeouf melts down at Hollywood party, spits water on girlfriend, Marilyn Manson (NYDN)
"Shia picked up a water bottle and shot a mouthful of water all over his date's legs," says the eyewitness. "Then he put more water in his mouth and started spitting it all over his tablemates, including Marilyn Manson." Although Manson tried to calm the actor down by offering him a fist bump, LaBeouf only grew more out of control. "All of a sudden, Shia started shouting at his date and getting visibly angry," adds the eyewitness. He then decided it was time to leave and "lunged" through the very thick crowd. "They tried to hold him back, but he kept struggling through. "Shia had to climb over people and tear himself out of the grasp of various strangers who were trying to keep him from going crazy." Once he broke free and bolted out the door, his panicked date chased after him. The two never returned.

S&P 500 Falls to Reagan Recession Values (Bloomberg)
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has lost 13 percent in the past five weeks, sending its price-earnings ratio down to 12.9. That’s 3.5 percent less than the average multiple during the 10 contractions since 1949 and a level last reached in 1982, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

White House to Nominate Krueger as Top Economist (Reuters)
U.S. President Barack Obama Monday will announced he has chosen Princeton University labor economist Alan Krueger to become the top White House economist, a White House official said. Krueger would succeed Austan Goolsbee as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

China Asks Banks To Widen Deposits In Reserves (WSJ)
With the official bank reserve requirement ratio now at 21.5%, the move could take 800 billion yuan ($125 billion) to 900 billion yuan out of the system by the time it is fully implemented in February, economists said.

Anglo Irish Says Its No Longer A Threat To Ireland (Reuters)
FYI: "It's no longer systemically dangerous," CEO Mike Aynsley told reporters Friday.

RBS agrees to end work for Belarus (BBC)
"Given sanctions, the deteriorating political situation in Belarus and the fact that it has reneged on key elements of the IMF programme, RBS has ceased any type of capital-raising for or on behalf of the Belarus Republic, and we have no plans to change that position until these issues have been resolved," said RBS in a statement.

Irene Leaves Vermont With 'Epic' Flooding (CBS)
A dramatic video posted on Facebook showed an 1870 covered bridge over the Williams River in the Bartonsville section of Rockingham being swept away by rushing water, then disappearing seconds later. In another, an empty car somersaulted down a river in Bennington.