10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell


Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:

  • European markets pulled back from yesterday’s euphoric highs with the realities of the eurozone bailout sinking in. CDS on Portuguese and Greek sovereign debt are not showing the sort of improvements that would indicate full confidence in the bailout. Were these companies really saved in the bailout >
  • Greece is set to test the legitimacy of that bailout package today by requesting the first portion of the assistance package. The first portion should amount to €14.5 billion from the EU and €5.5 billion from the IMF. Can we expect more riots like these >
  • The UK remains embroiled in hung parliament negotiations with the Liberal Democrats allegiance shifting from the Conservatives to the Labour Party every moment. More direction on the new government should emerge today. The problem hasn’t impacted UK debt markets though, with the most recent gilt auction today well subscribed. Play the UK results >
  • Inflation in China continues to rise with April’s growth beating economist estimates at 2.8%. Real estate inflation also grew in 70 cities, with prices rising 12.8%. See the complete guide to the Chinese housing bubble >
  • Both JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs played a perfect hand in Q1 2010, making no losses on any trading day. JP Morgan made an average of $118 million a day, while Goldman Sachs never made less than $25 million.
  • The proprietary trading units that powered those gains are under increasing threat from Democratic legislation that would target conflicts of interest in the banking industry. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Levin and Sen. Merkley would bring a Volcker Rule like initiative into the current financial reform legislation.
  • Toyota may still be reeling from the impact of its massive recalls, but it is still projecting massive growth in 2010. The company predicts 48% growth in net profit for 2010, with sales growing everywhere but Europe.
  • BP is blaming Transocean and Haliburton over the failure of valves, which may have caused the explosion at the offshore Louisiana oil platform. Haliburton and Transocean are fighting back, blaming BP for not putting in a cement plug which could have stopped the explosion. All of this comes ahead of today’s senate hearing on the matter. See shots of the massive explosion >
  • Two Asian funds, Temasek and Hopu, are moving towards a massive investment in oil and gas giant Chesapeake Energy. The investment, valued at $1 billion, would be a bet on the growth in value of natural gas in the U.S.
  • Dutch banking giant ABN Amro has settled with the U.S. government over charges it did business with, “Iran, Libya, Sudan and Cuba.”  The settlement is said to be valued at $500 million for the bank now owned by RBS.
  • Bonus: Angelina Jolie has fallen back to 38 on Maxim’s hot 100 list. Katy Perry came in first. Jennifer Aniston was dropped from the list.
  • Check out The Money Game for live market coverage all day long >

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