Opening Bell: 9.15.08


ECB, BOE to Pump Extra Cash Into Strained Money Markets (WSJ)
You know, just in case, seems like as good a day as any to drop several billion into the overnight markets. Just so thinks don't totally seize up or anything. The Bank of England is putting up an extra $9.87 billion. As we mentioned last night, Australia, which is always ahead of the curve on these things (get it?!) pumped $1.7 billion into its money markets.

Gold jumps on safe-haven buying (FT)
On the chance that the system of fiat money as we know it unravels, there's always gold -- always jumping on days like these as a "save haven". In London it was up 2.2 percent to $779.40. Though gold is frequently described as safe in a time of crisis, in a morbid way, we'd kind of like to see how it all would work out, whereby paper money ends and the gold holders rule the world. The problem is that gold bugs tend to be just about the most obnoxious people on earth. I suspect that just to spite them, the masses, under the new regime would intentionally pick some other precious medal to be the 'gold standar" (say silver, just to make it easy), leaving gold bugs to whine some more on their blogs, and the John Birchers to send out more educational videos.

Temasek May Reap $1.5 Billion Gain From Merrill Lynch Takeover (Bloomberg)
We're still a little confused how Merrill managed to get a premium on what appeared to be a rushed sale (BTW: When we says 'we're confused' we mean that factually, a statement about The Opening Bell; it doesn't imply that the deal is illogical). Anyway, another surprising element here is that Temasek, the big Singapore fund (hey, did you know that Singapore used to be called Temasek? We didn't until our recent trip to S.E. Asia), is actually making money on the deal (assuming it closes somewhere near the headline price, which is no guarantee. By Bloomberg's calculation they stand to make $1.5 billion on the deal. So far, the US financial sector has just been a big money pit for their Asian saviors, so probably good that one isn't totally getting burned. They're probably surprised too.

Asian shares fall sharply on US concerns (AFP)
The title of this article should really be: 'Asian Markets: They're actually not down by that much.' You know, it's in the 1.5-2 percent range across the board, but we've seen some much crazier action in our morning checks than this, even on days when there's hardly any news at all. It's not uncommone to see the Asian markets fall 3-5 percent on given days, just on general "jitters" so the fact that there's all this, well, "stuff" going on, and they're not going crazy seems like a good thing. On the other hand, in the big ones, like Tokyo and Hong Kong, markets are closed for a public holiday, so who knows.

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