Opening Bell: 11.14.06

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Tyson Foods swings to loss on supply imbalance (MarketWatch)
Sometimes you think you've heard 'em all. Of all of the euphemisms for weak results a "supply-demand imbalance" has to be the best. It means exactly what it sounds like. Tyson Foods bagged a whole bunch of frozen chickens, and they didn't ring up a whole bunch of sales, resulting in an imbalance, or as most people would say a "loss". Speaking on the company's results, CEO Richard Bond said "The best thing I can say about fiscal 2006 is, it's over". And then they sang Auld Lang Syne on the conference call, and made a resolution to get into better fiscal shape in '07.
Detroit Automakers to Meet With Bush, Press Industry Aid Plan (Bloomberg)
And here you thought the Detroit automakers were charting a comeback path. Maybe they are, but a key part of that comeback apparently involves aid from US taxpayers. The question is, does Bush have the political capital to help them with their actual capital. Does he even want to? Isn't this the kind of thing he was just rebuked for? Then again, the Auto industry is one of the few industries that Democrats can love (the labor-oriented Democrats, not the environment ones), so maybe a bailout package will go somewhere.
Zune enters MP3 race with many miles to go (Seattle Times)
The good news it that we can finally quit it with the "coming Zune" jokes, cause the Zune is here. You could go out and buy one today, though we have no idea who carries them. It doesn't seem very likely that you will. Reviews coming in haven't been all that positive, though we did see a fairly good commercial for the Zune prior to a movie the other day. Even still, it's marketing leaves something to be desired. On billboards, we've seen the tag line "Welcome To The Social". What on earth is that? Really, this could be ugly.
Some skilled workers hard to find-Fed's Fisher (Reuters)
Is there some alternate universe where somebody who looks like Lou Dobbs warns that the pool of adequate labor is shrinking? Where he warns that foreign companies are hiring up all of the good US workers, and that anyone who goes to work for a company like Toyota or Sony is economically un-patriotic? Does he wish we'd up a wall on the Mexican border so that nobody could emigrate? That'd be a great movie.


Eddie Bauer agrees to takeover bid (The Star)
There are some companies that from their very inception have the words 'going private' written all over them. We submit that Eddie Bauer is one of them. Yankee Candle, which got taken out a few weeks ago is another. Supposedly, you can figure out which companies make for good buyout candidates based on debt levels, and opportunities for cost savings, but really, looking for companies with weak brands that you totally forgot about seems like the better strategy. J. Jill anyone, or as that already gone?
Oil futures dive below 59 dollars (Xinhua)
Just a question, anyone else notice that the price of oil isn't going anywhere. There isn't a day that goes by without a headline like oil surges above $59/barrel or, oil plummets below $60. When it's in such a tight range, words like plummet, dive, and surge don't really seem proper. What's really strange is that it's been a week since the election, you'd think the Republican/Big Oil conspiracy to lower prices would wrap up. It's safe to go back to $70 again.
Burkle, Broad, Welch Seek Newspapers for Civic Pride, Profits (Bloomberg)
Yesterday, we were thinking a little more about the question of why rich guys are all of the sudden so interested in newspapers. Perhaps they really do see value in them, and when it comes to making money, these guys don't have a bad track record at all. But newspapers carry and old fashioned stature that they crave. Owning a newspaper gives them influence in politics. It's a pipeline to the people, and though they've made plenty of money, and have tons of respect, they'd probably like a little public recognition. After all, once you get outside of a small group, name recognition for Jack Welch plummets precipitously.
Loading an Airliner Is Rocket Science (NYT)
Airline really like to cut it close to the bone and find any way possible to squeeze out a little more efficiency. We recently saw one company reduce the weight of their beverage carts, which over the course of the year, saved them something like $100,000 in jet fuel. Every minute counts in this game, including the minutes spent loading the plane. For some time we've read stories about how airlines are convinced that there just has to be better way, though nobody seems to have figure it out yet. We'll be content when they eliminate the walk of shame; the initial part of the boarding process when you have to walk past first class, an experience and humiliation that many readers, we hope, never have to go through.
Gu's sticky dilemma (Oligopoly Watch)
Opening Bell favorite Oligopoly Watch sets its sights on the energy snack market. Turns out energy bars may be passe, and dominated by just a few players (like Clif Bars). So how to crack this nut? Do an end run and make energy gel. That's what a new Berkeley-based startup is trying to do. Fittingly, it's called Gu, which frankly makes the whole thing sound disgusting. Apparently some people like this stuff, but gel's not food, neither is something called Gu. Of course, Nestle has designs on the energy gel market as well, so the oligopolization of it seems fast at hand.

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