Archive for January 2007

Write-Offs: 01.31.07

$$$Shorting the Government, cont. [Long or Short Capital]
$$$Can anything stop THE GOOGLE? [Business Wire Daily]
$$$More Aleksey-related news. [New York Sun via Banker’s Ball]
$$$Dentsply (XRAY) [WallStrip]

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  • 31 Jan 2007 at 4:06 PM

Give Yourself More Time

Returning to DealBreaker’s coverage of the nuclear pupil explosion of insightfulness that is the Yahoo! Personal Finance website, today we review Penelope Trunk’s latest column. According to Yahoo! Personal Finance, “The Brazen Careerist” Penelope Trunk, former marketing executive and professional beach volleyball player (Impossible really is nothing!), “writes counterintuitive but effective career advice for a new generation of workers, where she explains why old advice — like pay your dues, climb the ladder, and don’t have gaps in your resume — is outdated and irrelevant in today’s workplace.”
DealBreaker’s *shocking* discovery is that almost all of the advice administered on Yahoo! Personal Finance is so bland, so generic and so impersonal, that it can be applied to almost anything, including (but not limited to) Asian Butterfly Escorts.
So, here it is, Penelope’s “Top Tips for Giving Yourself More Time,” (completely unaltered!) applied to an Asian Butterfly Escort: (after the jump)

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  • 31 Jan 2007 at 2:36 PM

Businesses Still Dumb

Returning to CNN’s list of the “Dumbest Moments in Business,” otherwise dominated by Wal-Mart, here is a clip that highlights some pretty obnoxious ways people have been laid off in the past year. It’s nice to see CNN completely stealing VH1’s “Best Week Ever”/’every other show it produces’ format. The sad thing is that the actual corporate events are way funnier than the commentary. The clip details the Northwest Airlines ‘How to be an efficient homeless person’ guide distributed to former employees and Bank of America’s mandatory (in the sense that getting your severance is “mandatory”) training of outsourced replacements.
The Video - [CNN]

thank-you-for-smoking-poster-0.jpgMarch 30 will be the day Altria finally rids itself of the dead weight that is Kraft Foods Inc, Bloomberg reports. For every share of Altria, investors will get 0.7 share of Kraft. As we noted earlier this morning, this spin-off will allow the units to focus on separate interests, Oreos/Tang vs. cigarettes, while remaining committed to the mutual goal of screwing the youth of tomorrow, by whatever poison possible (trans fats versus tobacco). (Here at the DB HQs, we’re content to merely do it through poor attitudes and ineffectual discourse).
Fourth quarter profits at Altria increased 29% to $2.96 billion ($1.40/share), due to higher Marlboro prices and overseas sales. Revenue swelled 3.7% to $25.4 billion. 4Q profits at Kraft declined for the first time in four and half years. Net income dropped to $624 millino (38 cents/share); sales dropped 3% to $9.37 billion.

Altria to Spin Off Kraft Unit in March to Spur Growth
[Bloomberg]

high-five.jpg The latest string of Schumer and Bloomberg refutations are out (even since the opening bell), concerning the dynamic duo’s alarmist report about the impending decline of NYC’s financial dominance due to SarbOx and precluded by mass IPO relocation. To summarize a couple recent responses: The New Yorker’s Financial Page argues that the IPO migration is mostly a byproduct of large-scale privatization of former foreign government enterprise and SarbOx hasn’t hurt the market, evident by its growth. Adam Lashinsky of Fortune takes this stance one step further, pointing to the growth in the number of venture backed companies that went public in the U.S. in 2006 and the increase in the amount of money raised by domestic IPOs per IPO. Lashinsky also says the strength of the U.S. IPO market is self-evident in fact that some of the largest tech IPOs are still looking to trade on U.S. exchanges, not foreign ones.
IPOs still love U.S. markets – [Fortune via CNNMoney]
Over There – [New Yorker]

Bush Fawns Over Wall Street, Fucks Over Wall Streeters

Bush’s “State of the Economy” speech is happening rightthissecond at Federal Hall on Wall Street. Unlike the State of the Union, the SE is not an annual party, but one delivered at the whim of the Commander in Chief, whenever he has a premonition that his numbers are bad enough that he needs to book a seat on the Acela from Union Station to Penn and tout something “good” as the work of his own nimble fingers. So far, Bushie-boy has reckoned that “America’s capital markets are the deepest, the broadest and the most efficient in the world,” and has called for changes to Sar-Box, specifically Section 404, stating that we “don’t need to change the law, we need to change the way the law is implemented.” Groundbreaking stuff, eh? Well it wasn’t just a waste of time and $180 for the Dubya. Incidentally, he’s also inconvenienced those of you who actually work on Wall Street, too.
[11:46] ClipperJCM: So President Fool is speaking in the building next door, and as a consequence, I can’t leave the building to get coffee.
[11:48] ohbabyitsbess: that seems like an unusually restrictive security measure
[11:48] ohbabyitsbess: no coffee in the vicinity of the president?
[11:57] ClipperJCM: Starbucks is across the street.
[11:57] ClipperJCM: And of course I dislike Starbucks, but sometimes it serves the purpose
[11:57] ClipperJCM: At the moment, I can’t cross the street.
[11:58] ClipperJCM: Dunkin Donuts is my preferred haunt. It’s down Broad Street, and I can’t walk that way without passing through the phalanx of Secret Service
[11:58] ohbabyitsbess: i suppose a trump building badge does not interest the secret service
[11:59] ClipperJCM: it’ll get me back onto my own block
[11:59] ClipperJCM: and into my building
[11:59] ClipperJCM: but I won’t be able to cross over to blocks with decent coffee
[11:59] ClipperJCM: my only option is the horrible little stand in our building
[11:59] ClipperJCM: or suicide
[12:00] ohbabyitsbess: 6-1, half a dozen to the other
Bush says lawsuits, regulations hurting markets [Reuters]

  • 31 Jan 2007 at 11:04 AM

U.S. Economy – Schwing! Boeing!

waynesworld.jpg The first of the U.S. Commerce Department reports is out this morning; showing 2006 GDP growth in Q4 of 3.5%, up from 2% in Q3 and 3.2% in Q4 of 2005. This surpassed the consensus of economic experts by half a per cent. The other major highlight from the report is a dip in inflation (or at least a tempering of the inflation surges in Q2 and Q3), aided by a 0.8% fall in the government’s price index for personal expenditures.
Boeing, up almost 5% after morning trading, doubled Q4 net income and experienced 26% revenue growth in response to the robust blowing the crap out of things aviation market.
U.S. Economy Grows 3.5%; Inflation Gauge Falls Sharply – [WSJ]
Boeing’s Net More Than Doubles On Surge in Jetliner Orders – [WSJ]

  • 31 Jan 2007 at 10:40 AM

So Long and Thanks For All the Books

borgcube.jpg Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker article sheds some light on Google’s semi-surreptitious book scanning efforts. Google plans to scan every book in the world (minimum 32 million) to create a comprehensive Google Book Search tool that would provide references and quotations to the volumes in its database. The Company has been scanning every book currently in the public domain, plundering the libraries of major state and private universities like Michigan and Stanford. Recently, however, Google has been cut off from scanning books not in the public domain (copyrighted volumes) from private universities because they don’t want to get sued.
Publishers have a problem with Google’s scanning; namely, they aren’t getting any cash for it. The legal battle Google faces is over copyrighted books. 20% of all books are in the public domain and free to scan and reproduce, 10% are in print and under copyright, and most of the rest are under copyright but out of print or restricted in some other fashion.
Google’s argument is that Google Books is basically a glorified card catalogue, and will merely point to sources rather than produce them entirely upon search. The publisher’s argument is that Google is going to profit from such ‘pointing,’ so it better give a little slice to publishers/authors like any other such enterprise. The consensus among people in the dispute is that a settlement is likely. This will actually help Google, creating a significant cash barrier to entry in the electronic book compiling market. What is paper thin police tape to Google is an entire barricade to most other companies.
Google is not Wikipedia, and despite its desires to ‘not be evil,’ the $150bn megalith’s path toward owning all the written information on the planet, whether it’s merely a ‘portal’ or not, is a bit daunting. Where’s crippling bureaucracy when you need it, or at least something to make Google seem less like the ultra-efficient assimilation machine Borg and more like the rather bumbling Vogons?
Google’s Moon Shot – [New Yorker]