Opening Bell: 12.08.11 - Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 12.08.11

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Jon S. Corzine: 'I Simply Do Not Know Where The Money Is' (WSJ)
A contrite Jon S. Corzine will express both sorrow and a firm defense of his actions Thursday in his first public appearance since the collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd. in late October. "Recognizing the enormous impact on many peoples' lives resulting from the events surrounding the MF Global bankruptcy, I appear at today's hearings with great sadness," Mr. Corzine plans to say in testimony prepared for a hearing by the House Agriculture Committee, which subpoenaed the former MF Global chief executive Friday. The testimony Thursday is sure to be contentious.

Jon Corzine Is Sad (CNBC)
"My sadness, of course, pales in comparison to the losses and hardships that customers, employees and investors have suffered as a result of MF Global’s bankruptcy," Corzine said in testimony prepared for his appearance before the House Agriculture Committee today. "Their plight weighs on my mind every day — every hour. And, as the chief executive officer of MF Global at the time of its bankruptcy, I apologize to all those affected."

Corzine: MF Global Board Knew What Was Up (BW)
MF Global’s board of directors was told of the European debt trades and approved limits on the risk in the trades by specific countries, Corzine said. “At the time of the bankruptcy, MF Global was within the risk limits set up by the board of directors,” Corzine said. “MF Global’s board was not a rubber stamp,” he said. None of the foreign debt securities that MF Global used in so-called repurchase-to-maturity transactions has defaulted or been restructured, Corzine said.

Franco-British Alarm of 1989 Comes True (Bloomberg)
Berlin’s dominance has shaken the Franco-German equilibrium at the heart of the post-World War II balance of power. Debt contagion and slumping growth have driven French borrowing costs to a euro-era record against Germany. The result may be a remade political map with even Poland, invaded by Adolf Hitler in 1939, calling for a stronger German role.

Geithner: US Has Interest In Strengthening The Euro Zone (Reuters)
FYI.

Jobless Claims in U.S. at Lowest in Nine Months (Bloomberg)
Jobless claims dropped by 23,000 to 381,000 in the week ended Dec. 3, the fewest since February, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a drop to 395,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those getting extended payments also decreased.

Police: Package Sent To Deutsche CEO Was A Bomb (Reuters)
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the package, which was intercepted late on Wednesday. "Initial investigations show that this was an operational letter bomb," the Criminal Investigations Office for the state of Hesse and Frankfurt prosecutors in a statement, adding that no further information was available.

Elementary school teachers 'caught having sex in stadium restroom at Buffalo Bills game' (DM)
France's wife (not the woman he had sex with in the bathroom) confirmed that her husband was stopped while leaving the lavatory...A Bills spokesman says, ‘We do not comment on arrests that are made on game days at the stadium.’ School district superintendent Michael Wendt said his office is doing its own investigation.

Banks' Ratings Reliance Nears End (WSJ)
Angry about the credit raters' poor track record on evaluating mortgage debt in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, lawmakers mandated that federal regulators remove references to credit ratings from their rules. Bank regulators struggled for a year to find a workable alternative to the credit ratings, which have become entwined in the domestic and international financial-regulatory structure.

Private-Equity Firms' Yuan Funds Soar (WSJ)
Private-equity firms closed 295 yuan funds in China from January to November, raising a total of 19.8 billion yuan ($3.1 billion), according to a report by Zero2IPO Research, a Beijing-based firm that tracks China's private-equity industry. The capital raised accounted for 75% of all the private-equity funds completed in the first 11 months of this year, which totaled 26.5 billion yuan—more than double the money raised in all of 2010.

US Growth May Put Fed Purchases On Hold (Bloomberg)
“Recent economic data takes away some of the urgency for the need to engage in a new round of quantitative easing,” said Michael Feroli, a former Fed economist who is now chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. The Federal Open Market Committee “can say, ‘Let’s wait and see if this is going to build on itself.’”

Air-rage ranter Alec Baldwin deactivates Twitter account (NYP)
A day after he was booted from an LA-to-JFK flight for freaking out because a crew member told him to turn off his phone, Baldwin last night apologized for delaying his fellow passengers — but resumed his verbal attack on the flight attendant. “I was singled out by this woman in the most unpleasant of tones. I guess the fact that this woman, who had decided to make some example of me, while everyone else was left undisturbed, did get the better of me,” Baldwin said. “The lesson I’ve learned is to keep my phone off when the 1950s gym teacher is on duty. That was my fault there, even though this trip was quite a bit different from so many others.”

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