Opening Bell: 08.30.12

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Credit Rating Gadfly Leaves S&P (WSJ)
Mark Adelson, who pushed for tough rating criteria, including those that led to the unprecedented downgrade of U.S. debt last year, left Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday. The departure of Mr. Adelson, a controversial figure among some market participants and colleagues alike, highlights the rating industry's difficulties in remaking itself following heavily criticized moves during the financial crisis. Mr. Adelson, S&P's chief credit officer until late 2011, left the firm to "pursue other interests," according to an internal company memo. In an email to friends and colleagues viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Adelson wrote: "I am now a free agent."

Short Sellers Cry Out For Help (WSJ)
Yelp's stock soared Wednesday, defying expectations on a day when executives and early investors were allowed to sell millions of new shares. Market participants widely attributed the online-reviews service's sharp rise to investors who had bet against the stock but then switched their positions en masse, in what is known as a "short squeeze." These investors appeared to reverse course when it quickly became clear in early trading that the end of a "lockup" preventing certain Yelp shareholders from selling wasn't going to doom the stock...Some 8.6 million shares changed hands on Wednesday. Though that is about 10 times the typical Yelp volume, it signaled the vast majority of the approximately 52.7 million newly freed Yelp shares weren't traded. "The lesson for all those people that got short in anticipation of the lockup [ending] is there is no such thing as a sure thing," said Michael Shea, a managing partner at Direct Access Partners, an institutional brokerage firm.

Paulson’s Gold Fund Faced 22% Losses in July (CNBC)
Paulson’s gold fund, which holds an array of gold miners, fell a whopping 22 percent between the beginning of the year and July 31, according to people familiar with its returns — outsinking the oft-discussed flagship funds, which were down 13 percent and 18 percent respectively during the same period, by a considerable margin.

Buffett, near 82, reflects on staying in Nebraska (AP)
"It's very easy to think clearly here. You're undisturbed by irrelevant factors and the noise generally of business investments," Buffett said. "If you can't think clearly in Omaha, you're not going to think clearly anyplace." In the city of 415,000, Buffett can drive the 20 blocks from his home to his office in about 5 minutes. "I would find a long commute quite irritating even if I did it under favorable circumstances — even if I had a driver," Buffett said. "I like being in the home and I like being in the office, and I'm not keen on in between."

Robbers Take Man's Cash But Leave Bus Fare (DDN)
The victim reported that two men walked up to him while he waited for a bus at West Hudson Avenue and North Main Street at about 5 a.m. Tuesday. According to a Dayton Police incident report, one of the men put a black .22-caliber automatic handgun against the victim’s forehead and said, “Give me everything out your pocket.” The victim handed over his cell phone and $40. Before fleeing on foot, one of the men asked the victim if he had enough money for the bus. When he said no, the suspect handed him back $2 in cash.

Gross Says QE3 Likely Even If Bernanke Doesn’t Provide Hint (Bloomberg)
Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve will add to monetary stimulus even if Chairman Ben S. Bernanke fails to indicate additional measures during a speech in two days. Policy makers will announce more so-called quantitative easing “relatively soon,” Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart” with Trish Regan. “They have a dual mandate,” Gross said, referring to the Fed’s directive of price stability and maximum employment. “Unemployment is still above 8 percent and it’s obvious that the Fed isn’t comfortable, nor is the nation or the economy with 8 percent unemployment going forward.”

MF Global Trustee Seeks End To Suits (WSJ)
Louis Freeh, the trustee for bankrupt securities firm MF Global Holdings called for settlement talks with other bankruptcy administrators in the U.S. and U.K. amid a clash over how to recover money for the company's customers and creditors. The proposal was made by Mr. Freeh in a court filing Wednesday afternoon that also outlined his opposition to a plan by a separate trustee, James Giddens, to join several plaintiff lawsuits against former MF Global officials.

BofA Trails In Mortgage Pact (WSJ)
The Charlotte, N.C., lender, the nation's second-largest bank by assets, is required to provide the lion's share of relief under a $25 billion foreclosure pact reached in early 2012 with federal agencies and 49 state attorneys general. Through June, Bank of America had made about $800 million in loan-balance cuts under trial modifications for around 18,000 borrowers, and it offered another $2 billion in loan forgiveness, the report shows.

Carriage horse who went on Midtown rampage is 'retired' and shipped to Massachusetts (NYDN)
Oreo, the black-and-white carriage horse who went on a sprint through midtown after being spooked by construction noise earlier this month, will only have a brief retirement. The steed was shipped Wednesday to a 120-acre horse sanctuary in Massachusetts, where he’ll remain for a few weeks until someone adopts him. And that new owner will likely work the 4-year-old, said Pamela Rickenbach, who runs Blue Star Equiculture, the official retirement sanctuary for Central Park carriage horses. “For him to stay healthy his whole life, he needs a job,” said Rickenbach. Oreo had steady work as a carriage horse until Aug. 16, when he got spooked near Columbus Circle and turned into Secretariat, racing through traffic, colliding with cars and then spilling an Australian family out of his carriage. The Aussie tourists were not injured. Oreo was corralled on Ninth Avenue — his career and reputation in tatters. “He’s retiring, but he could be pulling a carriage for pleasure somewhere else,” Stephen Malone of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York said. “He’s too young just to stay in a paddock.”

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