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Monday, July 28, 2008

Chicken Scraps for earnings from Tyson Foods

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- Tyson Foods Inc., the second-largest U.S. chicken producer, said fiscal third-quarter profit fell 92 percent as surging corn and soybean prices boosted the cost of feeding poultry.
Net income in the three months through June declined to $9 million, or 3 cents a share, from $111 million, or 31 cents, a year earlier, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said today in a statement. Tyson had a profit of 1 cent a share, excluding certain items. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a profit of 12 cents.
Chief Executive Officer Richard L. Bond couldn't increase prices fast enough to make up for rising animal-feed expenses. The chicken unit, the biggest profit contributor last year, posted an operating loss of $44 million, its second loss in a row. Pilgrim's Pride Corp. and other chicken producers have been reducing output to boost prices.
``Profitability in the chicken business has been very poor for the bulk of the past two quarters,'' Stephens Inc. analyst Farha Aslam said in a July 24 report. ``Chicken producers must be very diligent about reducing production through a combination of head and weight.''
Aslam rates the shares ``overweight'' and had forecast per- share profit of 12 cents excluding one-time items.
Tyson fell 71 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $15.52 at 9:41 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading. Before today, the shares had increased 5.9 percent this year.
Corn Prices
The price of corn, a key feed ingredient, was 69 percent higher on average during the quarter than a year earlier and reached a record $7.9925 a bushel on June 27 in Chicago because of rising demand for food, livestock feed and ethanol. Soybean prices averaged 78 percent higher and reached a record $16.3675 a bushel on July 3.
``The chicken segment remains under pressure from higher input costs,'' Bond said in the statement. ``I am confident our chicken business will be well-positioned when the economics improve.''
Sales gained 3.5 percent to $6.85 billion. Grain costs rose by $140 million during the quarter from the year-earlier period and the company expects costs to increase about $550 million for fiscal 2008.
Tyson in April estimated grain costs will increase $600 million this year, higher than its January forecast of $500 million, and double its November estimate.
Skinless and boneless chicken breast prices averaged 16 percent lower at $1.4942 a pound during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Beef Profit
Operating profit from the beef unit, which accounted for almost half of last year's sales, plunged 92 percent to $3 million, partly because of a $75 million charge related to the value of its cattle purchases and forward boxed-beef sales.
Earnings from prepared foods fell 77 percent to $6 million because of rising costs for wheat, dairy and cooking ingredients. The unit also took a $7 million charge related to flood damage at its plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin.
Profit from the pork unit rose 46 percent to $54 million

Saturday, July 26, 2008

About time 160 overdue XM & Sirius Are One Big Happy Family !!

Howard’s happy: Sirius-XM merger (finally) approved; Now the work really begins by ZDNet's Larry Dignan -- The government regulatory debacle known as the Sirius-XM merger has officially ended as the Federal Communications Commission approved the deal after 17 months of deliberation (and lobbying from the National Association of Broadcasters). According to the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal the FCC approved the deal in a 3-2 vote after Sirius and XM agreed [...]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Xm & Sirius Merger News !!! ( Is it going to happen ( Yes ) approved!?? )

NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission have reached an agreement to approve Sirius Satellite Radio Inc's (SIRI.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) purchase of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc (XMSR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate agreed to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the deal after winning several concessions from the companies involving enforcement issues.

"I think it's fair to say an agreement in principle has been reached," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was quoted by the Journal as saying. (Reporting by M. Gershberg, editing by McCormick)

Buy up sirius shares

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dolly Hurricane , will it effect Oil prices ??

Hurricane Dolly Strengthens Near Texas-Mexico Border (Update3)

By Gregory Viscusi

July 23 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Dolly strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico as it approached the Texas-Mexico border and may grow into a Category 2 storm before making landfall today, U.S. forecasters said.

The system's eye was about 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Brownsville, Texas, the National Hurricane Center said on its Web site at 7 a.m. Brownsville time. Sustained winds were almost 85 miles per hour. Winds of tropical-storm force swept the coast as Dolly headed northwest at almost 8 mph. The hurricane probably will reach the coast around midday, the center said.

Dolly is the season's first hurricane in the Gulf, home to more than a quarter of U.S. oil production. The predicted path is south of most rigs, which are along the East Texas and Louisiana coasts. Energy companies evacuated some platforms as a precaution and cut production in the Gulf by 4.7 percent, according to the U.S. Interior Department.

Dolly may dump 6 to 10 inches (15-25 centimeters) of rain on South Texas and northeastern Mexico during the next few days, probably causing widespread flooding, forecasters at the Miami- based center said. As much as 15 inches may fall in some areas. A coastal storm surge of 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) above normal is predicted near and north of the point of landfall.

``Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,'' the center said.

Crude Lower

The forecast for Dolly to miss the rigs contributed to a decline in the price of oil. Crude for September delivery fell as much as $2.20, or 1.7 percent, to $125.75 a barrel, and traded at $126.30 at 12:18 p.m. London time on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Companies that carried out evacuations include BP Plc, Noble Corp., Chevron Corp., Devon Energy Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

A hurricane warning was in place from Corpus Christi, Texas, south to the San Fernando River in Mexico, the center said. That means hurricane conditions are expected in the next 24 hours. The U.S. Coast Guard yesterday warned boaters of high seas and destructive winds and said rescue services may be ``seriously degraded or unavailable'' as the storm neared.

Texas Governor Rick Perry activated 1,200 National Guard personnel and a half-dozen Black Hawk helicopters, which can deliver emergency supplies.

Dolly was a Category 1 hurricane, the weakest on the five- step Saffir-Simpson scale. Category 1 storms have sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph. The sustained winds of Category 5 hurricanes exceed 155 mph.

The systems become tropical storms, and are named, when sustained winds reach 39 mph.

Here is another reason for oil prices to go higher today !!

RES , Beats wall street !!

July 23 (Reuters) - Oilfield services company RPC Inc (RES.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported a second-quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates even as it faced tough competitive pricing and higher costs.

The company posted net income of $22.5 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with $23.8 million, or 24 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Total revenue rose 25.5 percent to $214.7 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 16 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $203.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company faced margin pressures due to competitive pricing and operating cost increases, especially for fuel and certain materials and supplies used in providing services, RPC Chief Executive Richard Hubbell said in a statement.

"In most cases, we are not currently able to share these cost increases with our customers due to the pricing environment," Hubbell said.

Shares of the company closed at $17.42 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, near their 52-week high of $17.80 hit on April 21.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Will yahoo get bought out by microsft ?? ( Icahn on The Yahoo Board )

July 21 ( -- Yahoo! Inc. reached a compromise with billionaire activist Carl Icahn, agreeing to give him three board seats to settle a fight for control of the Internet company.

The board will expand to 11 members and current director Robert Kotick will step down, Yahoo said today in a statement. Icahn, 72, will be appointed to the board and the other seats will be filled by two people from a list of nine candidates recommended by Icahn.

In turn, Icahn will withdraw his rival slate. The investor threatened to unseat the board after Yahoo spurned advances from software maker Microsoft Corp. Before the agreement, he vowed to oust Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang for failing to come to a deal with Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker.

Yahoo rose 1 cent to $22.45 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading on July 18. The stock had dropped 3.5 percent this year before today.

Icahn owns about 5 percent of Yahoo's shares outstanding, which would make him the second-biggest institutional investor, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Capital Group Cos. is the largest, with units holding approximately 17 percent of the Sunnyvale, California-based company.

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw and Yahoo representative Brad Williams didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Susan Gordon, a representative for Icahn, also didn't immediately return calls.

If u are a risky investor looking for a quick buck i would but 1/2 of your $$ in the stock now and if it drops another 10 % - 25 % , buy w/ the other 50 % of your money and see if this merger goes thru u can make some good money !

Friday, July 18, 2008

XM & Sirus Merger Coming Soon ??

Deciding vote in XM-Sirius deal makes offer

—The potential deciding vote in the government's review of the $3.1 billion merger between satellite radio companies XM and Sirius told The Associated Press he will vote in favor of the deal if the companies agree to tougher conditions.
So far, two of the five members of the Federal Communications Commission have voted to approve Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.'s buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. That is one vote shy of a majority.

FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat, wants the companies to cap prices for six years and make one-quarter of their satellite capacity available for public interest and minority programming, among other conditions.

If the companies agree, Adelstein told the AP that he will support the deal.

Adelstein circulated his recommended conditions among the other four commissioners Thursday. His proposal seeks stronger concessions than the companies offered voluntarily one month ago. That offer led to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's recommendation that the deal be approved.

Robert McDowell, a Republican, has since joined Martin in recommending approval. Deborah Taylor Tate, also a Republican, is undecided and had been considered the possible swing vote.

Tate's office did not respond to a request for comment nor did Martin's.

Commissioners are able to vote on items "on circulation," meaning by way of computer, rather than at a public meeting. Those votes are generally not made


public until all have been cast.
Adelstein has been a vocal opponent of big media mergers, so his offer is somewhat surprising. But with strong odds that Tate eventually would vote yes, his move would make the deal more palatable for critics.

"It's critical that if we're going to allow a monopoly, that we put in adequate consumer protections and make sure they're enforced," Adelstein said.

The two companies first announced their intent to merge last year. The Justice Department cleared the combination in March. Martin made his recommendation for approval last month. Since then, the agency has been subjected to intense pressure from those with a stake in the high-profile deal.

The companies have faced a tough challenge in gaining approval because the FCC, in creating the satellite radio industry in 1997, prohibited the only two licensees from merging. In an effort to prove the combination is in the public interest, lawyers for the companies volunteered to submit to a number of conditions, including a three-year price cap, a time frame Adelstein would like to see doubled.

They also agreed to turn over 24 channels to noncommercial and minority programming.

Adelstein is seeking 25 percent of the companies' satellite capacity for public interest programming—10 percent for noncommercial programming and 15 percent for minority programming. That potentially would work out to about 75 channels.

XM broadcasts more than 170 channels, Sirius over 130 channels.

The companies also offered to adopt an "open radio" standard, meant to create competition among manufacturers of satellite radios. The condition was met with skepticism because the companies subsidize the price of radios, making it unlikely competitors would get into the business.

Adelstein is proposing that the companies be required to include a digital radio tuner in any radios they subsidize that also include regular, non-digital AM-FM service.

Digital radio is a small but growing market that is expected to become more popular in years to come.

Adelstein also wants to set up an enforcement regime to make sure the companies adhere to the conditions, something that was not outlined in the previous voluntary offer.

Sirius and XM also have promised to include an "a la carte" offering that would be available within three months of the close of the deal. In addition, they have pledged to offer radios that are capable of receiving both XM and Sirius service within one year.

Public Knowledge, a public interest group that specializes in technology issues, has been pushing for more concessions from the companies. Gigi Sohn, president of the organization, said the previous offer fell short, but the new one is more promising.

"If we get what Adelstein's pushing, then we will have gotten 110 percent," she said.

XM and Sirius did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tough Economic issues are upon us !!

By Mark Felsenthal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a House of Representatives panel on Wednesday the U.S. economy is going through a "rough time" and urged lawmakers to approve Treasury Department proposals to back up mortgage markets.

"I think the housing market is really the central element of this crisis," Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. "And anything we can do to strengthen the housing market, to strengthen mortgage finance, would be beneficial."

On the second day of two days of congressional testimony, the Fed chairman painted a gloomier economic picture than in recent weeks, suggesting the U.S. central bank is unlikely to raise benchmark rates from the current 2 percent at its next meeting on August 5.

Underscoring the recent economic deterioration, minutes of the Fed's last meeting on June 24-25, released on Wednesday, showed officials thought at the time they might be able to begin raising benchmark interest rates from 2 percent as soon as August.


For the second day in a row, Bernanke sought to convince sometimes skeptical members of Congress to send a strong signal to financial markets that the U.S. government stands behind embattled mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) by approving a backstop package proposed on Sunday.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson also returned to Capitol Hill in a bid to win backing for his plan to extend unlimited credit and the possibility of equity purchases to the companies.

The mortgage enterprises' share prices slid abruptly last week amid worry they may lack sufficient capital to weather crumbling housing markets. Policy-makers consider them vital to any recovery of the beleaguered housing market, and Paulson's plan had backing from the Fed, the White House, and congressional leaders.

The Fed chairman said the two companies, with small exceptions, are now the only companies securitizing mortgages.

"I would advise prompt action on housing issues, including Fannie and Freddie," he said.

But Rep. Spencer Bachus, the highest ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, told Bernanke that taxpayers should not be on the hook for losses incurred by publicly traded companies.

Bachus said he was concerned about an approach "where investors reap market gains and taxpayers are stuck with the losses."

His concerns echoed those expressed by several Senators on Tuesday, raising questions about how quickly the administration can push its package of confidence-boosting measures through Congress.

Shares of the two companies jumped on Wednesday after big mortgage lender Wells Fargo reported stronger-than-expected earnings, countering a trend of bleak news in the financial sectors.


Speaking about economic conditions, Bernanke acknowledged that rising unemployment, tight credit and higher prices are pinching many people, even though the economy continues to grow.

"This is clearly a rough time," he said in response to questions from lawmakers. "Conditions are tough on average families," he added.

But the Fed is also increasingly worried that inflation may be flaring, as the minutes of the June meeting emphasized.

Bernanke is under pressure both within and outside the Fed for not fighting inflation more aggressively with higher benchmark interest rates.

Fresh evidence of inflationary pressures surfaced in a government report on Wednesday showing consumer prices rose in June by the biggest amount since September 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as gasoline prices surged.

Even when volatile food and energy costs were stripped out, consumer prices rose more than expected.

Bernanke assured lawmakers that inflation is a concern for the central bank.

"Inflation is currently too high," Bernanke said. "And it's a top priority of the Federal Reserve to run a policy that is going to bring inflation to a acceptable level consistent with price stability," he said in response to questions from the committee.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fed to save Fannie & Freddie ?

White House, Fed will rescue Fannie, Freddie
Government-sponsored lenders are too global to go down, Paulson says
The implicit government guarantee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is now explicit.
In a suprising statement released Sunday, the White House and Federal Reserve moved to give the mortgage lenders the capital they need to survive the depression in the housing market in 2008 and turmoil in financial markets that had left them dangling over a cliff and ready to fall any time.
Of most immediate importance, the Fed's board of governors voted to open up its emergency discount window to Fannie and Freddie. Will this work ???? Your thoughts ??

Friday, July 11, 2008

Will Oil hit 200 a Barrel By year End ??

Oil hit a record trading high Friday as tensions with Iran, the possibility of renewed violence in Nigeria and a planned labor strike in Brazil threatened already tight crude supplies.

Light sweet crude for August delivery was up $5.35 to $147 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier prices touched a new trading record of $147.27, eclipsing the mark of $145.85 set July 3.

Iran: Oil rallied more than $5 a barrel late Thursday after the oil producing nation of Iran conducted a second missile test in the Persian Gulf Thursday evening, increasing tensions with Israel and the West over its nuclear program.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said Israeli warplanes were allegedly practicing over Iraqi airspace and at U.S. military bases in the region Friday, according to regional news reports.

Sources cited in a major Israeli newspaper said they may be training for a potential strike on nuclear sites within Iran.

If Israel does conduct a military operation over Iran during the weekend, the affect on the oil market could be devastating, said Tom Orr, head of research at Weeded & Co.

"I think you could see crude go up $10 to $15 instantaneously," added Orr.

One of the great fears facing oil investors is the possibility that Iran could blockade the nearby Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway that carries a large percentage of the world's oil traffic.

If Iran were to close the strait "even for a week, that would be disastrous," said Orr.

Nigeria: Unrest in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, has also set investors on edge. The nation's main rebel group threatened to renew attacks after the British expressed support for the country's current government. Militants have commonly targeted Nigeria's oil infrastructure.

Brazil: Also adding to concerns was a potential labor strike against Brazilian oil company Petroleo Brasileiro. Brazil's Oil Workers Confederation said it was planning a 5-day strike that could affect 80% of the South American country's oil supply.

Through the beginning of the week, oil dropped more than $10 a barrel after tensions with Iran subsided over the July 4 holiday weekend and the Nigerian rebels maintained an uneasy cease-fire.

But now all those problems seem to be resurfacing at the same time, said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst with Alaron trading in Chicago.

Investors are afraid that "with all of these problems, more than likely something is bound to boil over," said Flynn. He said they don't want to get caught betting against oil if they can help it.

And still lurking at the back of everyone's mind is the value of the dollar, which lost ground against the 15-nation euro.

Gasoline prices slip again

Sizing up Iran's oil threat

Awash in oil money, and problems

Buying an IPhone today ??

Lining up for your iPhone?

Retailers are planning to make the wait for Apple's much hyped iPhone 3G, which goes on sale at 8 a.m. today at Chicago Apple and AT&T store, as painless as possible.

"It's all hands on deck," said Gina Macchitelli, marketing director for AT&T, which has 11 area stores.

Ihnatko: iPhone drops (like it's hot) today
The 160 N. State store, for example, will serve drinking water and have customers answer trivia questions to win prizes.

Employees will hand out order forms to to be filled out in line for quicker AT&T phone activation inside the stores. The purchasing and activation process should take about 15 minutes, Macchitelli said.

Also on sale today will be programs available through the online iPhone App Store that work with both the new and earlier model phones as well as the new MobileMe platform, which replaces the existing .Mac service.

Older model iPhones use the slower AT&T EDGE network, which the new phones switch to when the faster 3G network is unavailable.

The new iPhone operating system allows for use with Microsoft business applications, like Exchange-based e-mail. Older model iPhones and iPod Touches will need a software upgrade -- free for the phones and $10 for the Touch.

I would buy Apple under 176 a share and hold until it reaches 205 a share and then sell ! By: Mad Man

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oil Rise , Again After Iran Missle Test

Most U.S. Stocks Retreat, Led by Financials, Technology Shares

By Eric Martin

July 9 (Bloomberg) -- Most U.S. stocks declined after Fannie Mae's borrowing costs climbed, analysts said a slowing economy may hurt sales at technology companies and oil prices rose for the first time this week.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the largest sources of financing for U.S. home loans, posted the steepest declines in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index after Fannie sold $3 billion in notes at higher yields than in past offerings. Cisco Systems Inc. tumbled as UBS AG said the world's biggest maker of computer-networking equipment faces a slowdown in the U.S. and Europe. Continental Airlines Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell as crude advanced. Alcoa Inc. climbed, limiting the market's retreat, after posting earnings that topped estimates.

Eight stocks fell for every seven that gained on the New York Stock Exchange. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.53 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,275.23 at 10:31 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 4.95 to 11,379.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 4.26 to 2,290.18.

``The bottom line is that we are in an environment where there is a high degree of uncertainty,'' said Ian Harnett, an equity strategist at Absolute Strategy Research in London. The high oil price means ``there is a lot of risk out there.''

Profits at S&P 500 companies are forecast to decline 11 percent on average in the second quarter, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Income is projected to slump 60 percent on average at financial companies.

Global stock markets have erased more than $11 trillion this year as record oil prices and more than $400 billion in credit- related losses threatened to push the U.S., the world's largest economy, into recession.

Fannie, Freddie Slump

Fannie Mae slipped $1.17, or 6.6 percent, to $16.45. Freddie Mac lost $1.04, or 7.7 percent, to $12.42. Fannie's 3.25 percent notes, which mature Aug. 12, 2010, priced to yield 3.27 percent, or 74 basis points more than comparable U.S. Treasuries. Fannie last month sold $4 billion of 3 percent benchmark notes maturing July 12, 2010, that priced to yield 3.036 percent, or 65 basis points more than U.S. Treasuries of similar maturity. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

Fannie and Freddie, which are rated Aaa by the world's largest credit-rating companies, are being treated by derivatives traders as if they are rated five levels lower. Credit-default swaps tied to $1.45 trillion of debt sold by the two are trading at levels that imply the bonds should be rated A2 by Moody's Investors Service, according to data compiled by the firm's credit strategy group.

Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. bank by market value, lost 18 cents to $23.36. Regions Financial Corp., Alabama's biggest bank, declined 29 cents to $10.66.

Dividend Concern

Credit Suisse Group AG lowered its share-price forecasts for the banks and said as many as 40 percent of the top 50 U.S. regional lenders may be forced to cut their dividends or raise ``more expensive and dilutive forms of capital over the next few quarters.''

Cisco Systems declined 62 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $22.26. The world's biggest maker of computer-networking equipment may say fourth-quarter revenue was ``flat to down'' from the third quarter, according to UBS AG.

``Enterprise spending remains challenging and there has been further slowing in the U.S., especially in the West Coast region,'' New York-based UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos wrote in a report today. ``We also see Europe slowing from last quarter.''

Intel lost 45 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $20.47. The world's biggest maker of computer chips may fail to beat earnings estimates in the second half as some customers curb spending and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. introduces new products, Merrill said.

Oil Climbs

Continental dropped 60 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $9.64. Wal- Mart, the biggest retailer, tumbled 97 cents to $58.14.

Crude oil for August delivery rose $1.28, or 0.9 percent, to $137.32 a barrel in New York. Futures tumbled 6.4 percent the past two days, the biggest two-session decline since March 19 and 20. Prices are still up 90 percent from a year ago.

Alcoa, the first company in the Dow to report second-quarter results, climbed $1.26 to $33.59. The company's profit excluding certain items of 71 cents a share, topping the 65-cent average estimate of 17 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Mattson Technology Inc. fell 41 cents to $4.51. The provider of equipment used to make semiconductors said its second-quarter loss was wider than it predicted because of ``protracted weakness'' in the chip market.

Mohawk Industries Inc. sank 78 cents to $64.12. The U.S. carpet and tile maker said second-quarter earnings may be $1.23 to $1.26 a share, compared with a previous forecast of $1.36 to $1.45, as the housing market deteriorates.

U.S. shares rallied yesterday, sending the S&P 500 to its steepest advance in a month. Banks and transportation companies led gains after JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s chief executive officer said the credit crisis will ease and oil posted its biggest drop since March.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oil Decline ??? WOW !!!!!!!

U.S. Stocks Push Higher On Oil's Decline, Fed Assurances

U.S. stocks on Tuesday moved solidly up after several visits to negative turf, with a broad sell-off in commodities pushing crude down for a second day and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offering solace to the battered financial sector.

"The market is bouncing back; yesterday there was a lot of negative news, and clearly the Fed's announcement today is helping. Of course oil coming down also helps," said Noman Ali, a portfolio manager with MFC Global Investment Management.

Down at the start, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) tossed its losses aside within the first 10 minutes of trading, and then struggled to retain its gains in volatile action.

As the final hour of trade approached, the Dow was up 82.64 points to 11, 314.6.

Of the blue-chip index's 30 components, 22 posted gains, recently led by Bank of America Corp. (BAC), up 5.3%, and Pfizer Inc. (PFE), up 4.1%.

The Dow's biggest loser was Alcoa Inc. (AA), off 3.7%, with the aluminum producer due to report on its second quarter after the close, in an unofficial kick off of the earnings season. .

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose 9.90 points to 1,262.21, with financials and health care leading sector gains, up 3% and 2.1%, respectively.

Of the S&P's 10 industry groups, energy declined the most, down 2.7%, followed by materials, recently off 0.4%.

Natural-gas shares led declines among energy stocks, with the sell-off continuing even after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said spot prices for crude would likely average $127 a barrel in 2008 and $133 next year. .

In an overall positive for the equities market, the price of crude futures slumped sharply for a second day, with the spot month down $4.67 to $136.50 a barrel, while Treasury prices declined were mixed, with the yield on the two- year note rising to 2.4%. The dollar firmed, with dollar index recently at 72.97, compared with 72.67 earlier on.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) gained 27.67 points to 2, 270.99.

VMware Inc. (VMW) was among those dogging the tech sector, with its stock down 26.5% after the EMC Corp. (EMC) spinoff announced the departure of its chief executive and warned that sales would come in below previous estimates. .

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange surpassed 1.1 billion shares, and advancing issues ran ahead of those declining, roughly 9 to 7. On the Nasdaq, nearly 746 million shares traded and advancers topped decliners more than 3 to 2.

Active issues

Ambac Financial Inc. (ABK) soared more than 50% after the bond insurer disclosed collateral-posting requirements for its guaranteed investment contract business were smaller than some investors had feared. .

Office Depot Inc. (ODP) warned that North American same-store retail sales for the second quarter dropped 10%. Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. (PBG) edged past earnings estimates for the second quarter, but cut its revenue outlook for the year.

LCD-TV maker Syntax Brillian (BRLCD) sold some assets to TCV Group and filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules. It expects the common shares to have no value after the filing and reorganization.

Federal funds

"Unless and until the economic clouds part, we'll likely see the housing market continue to struggle," Mike Larson, analyst at Weiss Research, said of the National Association of Realtors' measure of pending-home sales, which fell 4.7% in May. .

Ahead of the opening bell, stock-index futures had trimmed their losses as Bernanke said that the Federal Reserve might extend the time frame for embattled brokerages to tap the central bank for emergency funds.

The Fed move offered assurances that "there is little risk of actual bankruptcy for the [financial] sector," said Ali.

Worries that Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) may have to raise more capital, along with a report that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEH) was temporarily barred from trading oil contracts reignited financial-sector worries ahead of second-quarter earnings season, prompting stocks to slide on Monday.

On Tuesday, shares of Fannie and Freddie gained some ground with comments by analysts and regulators easing worries the big mortgage buyers might have to return to the capital markets due to pending accounting-rule changes.

Adding his voice to the mix, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said the Federal Reserve shouldn't wait too long before raising interest rates.

International stocks saw heavy pressure, with the Nikkei 225 losing 2.4% in Tokyo. The FTSE 100 lost 1.3% in London.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

NBC weathers the weather channel

NBC and its Partners Announce Deal
To Buy Weather Channel and Assets

General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal and two financial partners announced a deal Sunday to buy the Weather Channel and its related assets. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed but people familiar with the situation said the price tag was just under $3.5 billion.

The deal brings to an end a lengthy auction that saw several contenders fall by the wayside. NBC Universal and its partners, Bain Capital LLC and Blackstone Group LP, entered exclusive negotiations with the Weather Channel's owner Landmark Communications Inc. last month after rival contender Time Warner Inc. pulled out of the bidding.

In a statement, the acquiring team said NBC Universal would manage the Weather Channel, but it would continue as a separate entity based in Atlanta.

The sale includes the Weather Channel cable networks, and Weather Services International, which provides weather data and services to local television stations. It also includes Enterprise Electronics Corporation, a manufacturer of meteorological radars, and Landmark's interest in Pelmorex, a Canadian weather company.

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