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Opening Bell: 09.21.11

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G.O.P. Urges No Further Fed Stimulus (NYT)
Republican Congressional leaders expressed not only skepticism that further easing would improve the recovery, but also concerns that such actions might be damaging. “Such steps may erode the already weakened U.S. dollar or promote more borrowing by overleveraged consumers,” the letter from Republicans said.

BOE Officials See QE as Increasingly Probable (Bloomberg)
“This is clearly a major swing in a dovish direction,” James Knightley, an economist at ING Group in London, said in an e-mailed note. “Should the Bank of England cut its growth and inflation forecasts, as pretty much everyone else has, then a November increase in asset purchases will look likely.”

Greece to outline more austerity to secure loan (Reuters)
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos acknowledged before the meeting that Greece's public finances would have gone off the rails without checks by the so-called troika of EU/IMF inspectors, who walked out of Athens on September 3 after uncovering a new deficit shortfall. But he also said the EU had failed to manage the debt crisis as decisively and fast as required, and Greece was being blackmailed by the financial markets.

Focus on Goldman Ex-Director (WSJ)
The Manhattan U.S. attorney's office and the Securities and Exchange Commission have maneuvered for months to determine whether and how to proceed against Mr. Gupta, who has denied any wrongdoing. The SEC dropped a civil administrative proceeding against Mr. Gupta last month but said it was "fully committed" to refiling the charges in federal court. It now plans to wait for any criminal charges to be brought by the Justice Department, and it could hold off until any criminal proceedings are completed, these people say.

Netflix Blunder Could Cost It 30% of Subscribers: Study (CNBC)
Sixteen percent of those surveyed are likely to cancel in the next six months, according to Magid’s survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers completed at the end of August. Another 14 percent are “seriously considering” cancellation according to the survey. Netflix currently has 24.6 million subscribers.

Rent-A-Guinea Pig Service Takes Off in Switzerland (Spiegel via MR)
Without her rent-a-guinea pig service, the owner would have to purchase a new, probably younger guinea pig as a companion to the ageing survivor, whose eventual death would force the purchase of yet another guinea pig, locking the owner into an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases in order to adhere to Swiss law -- even though he or she may only ever have wanted one guinea pig in the first place.

Home Forecast Calls for Pain (WSJ)
One in five Americans with a mortgage owes more than their home is worth, and $7 trillion of homeowners' equity has been lost in the bust. Homeowners' equity as a share of home values has fallen to 38.6% from 59.7% in 2005.

Holders of Sovereign Debt (Big Picture)
Note that almost half — 47 percent – of the US$14.7 trillion U.S. federal government debt is held by the Federal Reserve and the government itself, such as the Social Security trust fund. Add to that the 22 percent foreign official holdings (mainly central banks) and almost 70 percent of the debt of the U.S. government is held by non-market/non-profit oriented investors.

SABMiller to Buy Foster's for $10 Billion (WSJ)
When it was first proposed, some SABMiller shareholders questioned the logic of the tie-up, given the company's push to expand into faster-growing developing markets, and not developed ones with lower growth profiles like Australia. But after missing out on recent deals, including the roughly $7 billion acquisition of Mexico's Femsa Cerveza that Heineken NV sealed last year, SABMiller was determined to secure the purchase of Foster's.

Gruebel Meets With UBS Board on Trading Loss After Scolding From Singapore (Bloomberg)
Lutz Roehmeyer, who helps manage about $14 billion at Landesbank Berlin Investment, including UBS shares, said it will probably be up to Gruebel whether or not to resign. If a trader knows the rules and how to evade them, it’s very difficult to prevent him from doing so, he said. “The CEO is the last person who can do something about that,” Roehmeyer said. “If someone robs a UBS branch or steals gold from UBS’s safe, you can’t blame the CEO for that. The scandal has nothing to do with his performance.”

Santorum blasts Google for political discrimination (CBS)
"I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they'd get rid of it," Santorum told Politico. "If you're a responsible business, you don't let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country."

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel says he resides in New York City, but facts paint a different picture (NYDN via Deal Journal)
The Greenwich clerk's office has dog licenses for four Steel dogs: a Welsh springer spaniel named Duke, a Labrador retriever named Jack and two Yorkshire terriers named Lulu and Charlie. ... Asked about the dog licenses, he said the pooches live in Connecticut - but he does not. "Why would I bring my dogs to New York?" he asked repeatedly.

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