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Stocks Slide amid Inflation Concerns

Filed under: — 3:04 pm

Stocks moved down Friday afternoon, as a surprising jump in import prices drove up Treasury yields and kept inflation fears in focus. Sustained dollar weakness contributed to these worries.

Source: BusinessWeek


Stocks Slip

Filed under: — 11:30 am

April retail sales rose less than expected, sparking hopes the Fed may pause its tightening cycle. Crude futures surged near $74

Stocks were trading modestly lower early Thursday, as investors weighed a tame retail sales report and surging oil prices. A lower-than-expected increase in April retail sales is being taken as a sign of less pressure for the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates, but concern is growing that the stock market is due for a correction.

Source: BusinessWeek


Fed Raises Rates

Filed under: — 2:23 pm

The Fed has raised rates 1/4 pt. to 5.00%. They also said that some further policy firming may yet be needed. Timing of future firming depends on data.


Oil Rises on Iran Worries

Filed under: — 8:00 pm

Crude-oil futures rose more than $1 a barrel Tuesday amid persistent concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Oil prices have risen in recent weeks on anxiety that Iran, the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, could cut supplies because of international pressure to modify its nuclear program.

Other factors pushing up oil prices are unrest in Nigeria, violence in Iraq and rising resource nationalism in South America. Some 500,000 barrels per day of Nigerian production, most of it operated by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, remain off-line because of violence there, and more than 300,000 barrels per day remain shut down in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Katrina battered offshore platforms in August.

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister suggested relief - though still far off - was nonetheless in sight, saying prices will stabilize by 2010.

Unfortunately that doesn’t help consumers now. But at least they will only pay out the nose for four more years.

Source: Forbes


Freakonomics Author Talks Oil

Filed under: — 4:55 pm

I thought I was subscribed to the Freakonomics Blog (great book) but apparently was not. Thanks to Fred for the link pointing to Levitt’s discussion on oil.


Hurricanes Also Hurting Oil

Filed under: — 11:38 am

Producers aren’t just worried about “pipelines blowing up in Iraq or an oil-worker strike in Venezuela”, they have hurricanes to contribute to the already record-breaking prices. Plus, the increase in demand from China and India has just made things worse. The New York Times reports:

“It’s a new version of the butterfly effect,” said Larry Goldstein, the president of PIRA Energy Group, an oil consultancy in New York. “A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico can lead to higher prices around the world. That’s how vulnerable oil markets are today to events outside of our control. And it shows how little room there is for errors.”


NYSE to Merge with Archipelago

Filed under: — 5:12 pm

Another headline I didn’t expect to see today. The merger will create a new publicly held, for-profit company called NYSE Group Inc. The WSJ says this group will be trading more than just stocks. Don’t get too excited yet, the deal will take about a year to finalize.

In any case, the merger will allow the exchange leverage new opportunities and hopefully, “the New York Stock Exchange will be the leading securities market in the U.S. and the world.” Well, at least Mr. Thain hopes so.


Long time away, legalize drugs

Filed under: — 11:15 am

I realize it’s been quite a while since I last posted. School and life take priority. I actually listened to Rudy Guliani speak a week or so ago about leadership. I may blog about what all I can remember from that. In the meantime I’ve been reading and pondering an interesting proposal: legalizing drugs. The following are some interesting posts:

The Failure of the War on Drugs-BECKER
A VC: Legalizing Drugs
It’s Time to Legalize Drugs
It’s Time to Legalize Drugs (continued)

Interesting social and economic implications… great analyses, certainly worth spending some time reading.


Greenspan Comments On Interest Rates

Filed under: — 3:18 pm

Everyone is reporting on Greenspan and what he had to say this morning:

U.S. interest rates are still “fairly low” after six straight increases, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Wednesday, warning that despite the economy’s good health, fiscal discipline is vital. Financial markets took Greenspan’s hotly awaited testimony to the Senate Banking Committee as confirmation that more interest-rate hikes lie ahead in a cycle that began in June, as well as a vote of confidence in the expansion.

It may not be very subtle but its clear that gradual increases should be expected. In addition he commented on the coming wave of retiring “baby boomers” and the need to act before 2008.


FDA Creating New Safety Board

Filed under: — 12:48 am

Development in the drug world:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it was creating a new drug safety board to improve the monitoring of medicines already in the marketplace, a response to charges the agency has failed to protect the public from dangerous side effects. The announcement came on the eve of a three-day FDA meeting called to discuss the safety of painkillers, such as Merck & Co. Inc.’s now-withdrawn Vioxx, that have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The main concern is that the Office of Drug Safety has really dropped the ball, lately. On the plus side, some liability will now shift from corporations to the government.



SBC May Buy AT&T

Filed under: — 4:50 pm

Here comes an interesting acquisition:

SBC Communications Inc., the second-largest U.S. regional phone company, is in talks to buy former parent AT&T Corp. for $15 billion or more, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The talks, which the Times said executives described as “fluid” and “very, very sensitive,” would re-unite SBC — a Baby Bell with some 50 million local-line customers — with its much-diminished former parent. (Reuters)

Yes, this means that “Ma Bell” would disappear. What’s also interesting is SBC is looking to get into television.

The talks come on the heels of SBC’s decision to move into TV programming, and its recent wireless expansion. A deal with AT&T could give SBC access to millions of coveted corporate customers and would make it the only telecom company to be a major player in every segment of the industry. (Wall Street Journal)

This really isn’t a new concept, what with Chief Executive Edward Whitacre Jr. still around. He also talked with MCI at one point. Before he retires he may want to corral just one more company. We’ll see…

Reuters | Wall Street Journal


Companies post profits today

Filed under: — 5:11 pm

Yahoo’s profit rose sharply from a year ago, boosted by an investment gain and continued growth in online advertising and its premium services.

IBM’s net climbed 12% from a year earlier, boosted by improved spending by its business clients as well as the benefits of a weaker dollar.

Motorola’s profit rose 33% as the cellphone maker enjoyed strong demand for its new handsets and recaptured market share in the holiday season.

Three of the biggest U.S. banks, led by Bank of America Corp., reported record quarterly profits on Tuesday as consumers and companies borrowed more and credit quality improved.blockquote>


Apple iProduct and more

Filed under: — 4:59 pm

A few days ago, I debated posting this. At first I thought I was the only one that found it funny. I sent it to Jesse at AppleWatch who liked it and then I showed it to a few friends who proceeded to shrug. Oh, they probably shrugged because this poster was referring to them. In any case, I printed it out and its on our dorm’s door. You can’t walk around Boulder’s campus without noticing a few iPods on the way to class. The ironic part: I, too, paid twice as much as “other companies’ products with comparable features”. You know what, it’s funny, but the business model has certainly worked.

Take a look at the Apple iProduct from Gizmodo. Then, go check out Apple Haters Unite.

Finally, (not for humor) look at Nixlog’s Tipping Point. Its a pretty amazing graphic that really breaks down the markets. Hmm, odds are there’s been a a chart like this somewhere over at Apple headquarters for a while now.


Comcast will annouce entry into telcom today

Filed under: — 1:55 am

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable-TV operator, is set to announce today an ambitious push into the phone business, a major escalation in the telecom wars that promises to pose one of the biggest challenges ever to the U.S.’s phone giants.

After two years of keeping Wall Street and the telecom industry guessing about his phone strategy, Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts will detail his plans at an investor conference in Phoenix.

This will certainly put the edge on the already edgy telcom industry. Comcast is a classic example of a cable company getting into the telephone business. This move makes sense since Comcast current has lines in over 40 million homes. Comcast is hoping to market new features such as voicemail on the internet, videophone service and even call waiting that “whispers” the caller’s identity. By including these features Comcast can consequently keep charging its current rates and, thus, compete without having to discount themselves. Hey, we’re all fans of new, innovative things, right? Pricing, service, customer relations, bah.

…needless to say, I’m not planning on switching away to Comcast anytime soon.

Correction: Comcast isn’t getting involved in wireless, just telephones. It was late.. I was tired. Thanks, baratunde.


Interesting start to the year

Filed under: — 8:12 pm

While Wall Street has usually opened the new year with a buying spree, investors were picky, favouring large-caps with solid balance sheets over small-caps and more speculative bets. (BusinessCentre)

So, instead of keeping up the pre-New Year trend, “investors shored up portfolios and abandoned risky positions”.

Ironically, the dollar strengthened and oil prices rose. Yes, the two biggest concerns hopefully set a decent pace for the rest of the year. In addition, Wal-Mart posted higher-than-anticipated sales results. In conclusion, the markets are down… and up.

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