Opening Bell: 11.07.11

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Greek Prime Minister Plans To Step Down (WSJ)
Greece's major political parties on Sunday agreed to form a national unity government that will oversee elections after putting in place a debt-slashing deal, in the hope of averting financial catastrophe and winning back the trust of the nation's European partners. The deal came about after Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to step down to make way for a new prime minister under a commonly accepted government...The administration is hoping to agree on a new government by Monday, ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers in Brussels that is expected to discuss whether to release Greece's next aid payment. Government spokesman Elias Mossialos said cabinet ministers serving in the new coalition will be named as early as Monday and the new government could be sworn in by the end of the week.

Berlusconi Considers Resigning (WSJ)
While resignation is a possibility, the prime minister is seriously considering going to Parliament for a critical budget vote Tuesday, which could confirm he no longer commands a majority, the people said.

Berlusconi’s Majority Unravels as Allies Push Him to Resign (Bloomberg)
Two Berlusconi allies defected to the opposition last week, and a third quit late yesterday. Six others called for Berlusconi to resign and seek a broader coalition in a letter to newspaper Corriere della Sera. More than a dozen more are ready to ditch the premier’s coalition, Repubblica daily reported yesterday, without citing anyone.

Regulator To Skip MF Probe (WSJ)
Mr. Gensler's decision was made to eliminate the perception of a conflict of interest due to his longstanding ties to the now-departed chief executive of MF Global, Jon S. Corzine. Mr. Gensler worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the 1990s, when Mr. Corzine was the securities firm's chairman and senior partner.

Occupied: Portable Bathrooms for Protesters (NYT)
The scarcity of bathroom options has been both a major hassle for the protesters and a source of tension with their neighbors and the local community board. Restaurants, Starbucks and fast-food joints within a few blocks of the square have seen eternal lines of protesters looking to use the john, and residents have been complaining about protesters using the doorsteps of their buildings as makeshift relief stations...OccupyWallSt.org said Friday afternoon that it had obtained three portable bathrooms and placed them on a loading dock connected to 52 Broadway, the United Federation of Teachers building about two blocks south of Zuccotti Park where protesters have been storing their gear.

MF Global Creditors To Seek Ways To Recover (Bloomberg)
MF Global creditors looking to recover from the eighth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history may sue the company’s advisers, search for assets overseas and seek information from a probe into the commingling of customer accounts at the brokerage, a bankruptcy lawyer said. Creditors seeking a position on a committee that could shape the approach to recoveries are set to meet today at the Millennium Hilton hotel in Manhattan. A trustee overseeing the liquidation of the company’s operating unit, MF Global Inc., started his investigation into possible fraud or misconduct on Nov. 4. The FBI has also started a probe, according to a person familiar with the matter. MF Global has until Jan. 30 to report a detailed list of its assets and debt.

MF Global And The Rubber Check (Reuters/Matthew Goldstein)
It appears that 10 days ago, with speculation swirling that the Jon Corzine-led firm would soon file for bankruptcy, a good number of customers started to put in requests to pull their money from the New York-based outfit. But instead of simply wiring that money back to their customers, it seems MF Global tried to buy some time for itself by sending that money back via snail mail in the form of an old-fashioned check. Those checks cut by the folks at MF Global began arriving in customer mailboxes this week, several days after the firm filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31 in New York federal court. And by the time customers started depositing those checks, they were rejected as having insufficient funds.

European Bonds Lure U.S. Bargain Hunters (WSJ)
Europe's sovereign-debt crisis has sent many portfolio managers fleeing the region. But some intrepid U.S. investors are venturing across the pond to snap up corporate bonds at cut-rate prices. Some are buying junk-rated bonds of European companies. Others are taking advantage of a growing price gap between European and U.S. bonds of international companies such as Levi Strauss and Hertz Global Holdings. And some even say there is money to be made in debt of Greek banks. "It's only every once in a while that you have an opportunity like this," says Ming Shao, a director at DuPont Capital Management, which manages $10 billion of fixed-income investments, mostly for parent company DuPont.

Greenwich Lean Time (NYP)
Out-of-work hedge fund millionaires are exiting Greenwich, Conn., en masse, with a record number of their pricey mansions now on the block. “They’re even turning back leases on their luxury cars because they can’t afford those, either,” said Gary Cheeler, an investor and adviser to the hedge fund industry, which is struggling with scores of shutdowns and clients seeking to make year-end withdrawals. A report by Prudential Connecticut Realty in Greenwich -- home to the East Coast’s biggest cluster of hedge fund shops outside Manhattan -- said the number of homes valued at $8 million and higher that are now languishing unsold soared by one-third recently. About 10 percent of those homes have been built on spec,” said J ohn W. M. Cooke, head of the firm...Indeed, one $11 million mansion in Greenwich was foreclosed recently, and the owner -- an out-of-work hedge fund boss -- packed up and returned to his California roots, said Cheeler, who declined to name the cross-country traveler.

Pair Of Runners Get Married During NYC Marathon (NYMag)
Dressed in a vest, bow tie and boutonniere, Raymond Donaldson took Mary Donaldson, who wore a part dress, part runners top and a white cap fitted with a veil, to be his lawfully wedded wife near mile 22 along the marathon course. A minister who the pair said they had just met chased alongside to officiate.

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