Opening Bell: 11.2.06

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GM, Ford sales up; Chrysler down (Detroit News)
Finally, the Detroit automakers turned in a good month. Well, two of the three did if you're including Chrysler. Not only that, the company actually expanded their market share over their Japanese rivals, despite the fact that they did well as well. As both Ford and GM struggle to turn the ship around, improving sales has always been the missing piece. You can talk all you want about unions or healthcare costs or whatever, but if you're selling less cars year after year, of course things are going to be ugly. Also worth noting, it's still be an awful year for these companies. Sales at Ford are down 7.3%, 9.3% for GM. Just horrendous.
Nomura to Acquire U.S. Electronic Broker Instinet (Bloomberg)
Nomura, the Japanese Goldman, is buying out Instinet, the electronic exchange currently owned by Silver Lake. Volume at these exchanges is on a rapid growth pace, as Instinet has seen a doubling in just the last year. For Nomura, it expands their services for hedge funds, an area that the company's been struggling with.
Wall Street Has Doubts on CVS Deal (NYT)
The stock market wasn't particularly impressed with the CVS/Caremark deal, as shares in the companies ended lower after yesterday's trading. Other companies in the same space were also down, as a warning if they think they're going to do the same thing. Apparently the companies didn't do a good job explaining all of the wonderful synergies. Judging from what they said to analysts, the vision does seem a tad weak. Now customers will be able to get their drugs in the store or through the mail. Awesome. Still, the big worry on people's minds has to be the general future of the industry, in light of Wal-Mart aggressive moves into it, and the way the company savaged the grocery store chains when it went into that space.
German unemployment drop beats all forecasts (Reuters)
Chalk another one up for old Europe. Deutschland is on a tear these days. Unemployment fell by 67,000 jobs in October, whereas no economist had anticipated a fall of more than 40,000. Of course it's still Germany, so the actual rate of unemployment remains above 10%. And with the good news, there's always a downside. A few or employment gains like these, and the ECB is going to have to raise rates. And the company recently passed a 3% increase in the sales tax, which has economists worried that the good times could be derailed.


As Investors Covet Ethanol Plant, Farmers Resist (NYT)
In Texas, last century, if you wanted to be rich, you needed to find yourself and oil well and drill drill drill. Either you got a gusher, and you were set, or you came up dry, and all your friends would laugh at you for your silly investment. There was a lot of stupid money going into Texas oil which initially led to a boom, and then to a major bust, which you can ask George W. Bush all about (no, we're not making a joke about the President's intelligence. Just pointing out that he was around for the bust, that's all). We're seeing the same thing in ethanol. Investors are roving rural Midwestern areas, looking for farmer-owned ethanol co-ops, offering millions upon millions for 'em. And even crazier, many of the farmers are reluctant to sell. They don't like that many of the buyers have no clue what ethanol is, for example. And they get satisfaction out of owning the plant. This'll probably just push the price higher -- when the money boys from NY come to town and talk some sense into the farmers -- and the groundwork for a bust will be set.
S&N, Biomet hold preliminary tie-up talks (Reuters)
Are we seeing the oligopolization of healthcare? Medical device makers Smith & Nephew and Biomet are in early merger talks. Such a move has been speculated on before, and it could result in a $10.5 bid for Biomet. There have been other mergers, in recent years, in the medical device space, and it only makes sense for players to want to consolidate and strengthen their hands as they deal with governments, insurance carriers and hospital chains for their business.
Yahoo Food asks: What are you hungry for next? (Reuters)
Here's the difference between Google and Yahoo. If Google were going to make a website about food, it would come up with some new file format specifically for recipes that could be downloaded, or sent to an online grocery store, or shared in some manner. If it were cool, people might use it. When Yahoo does a food website, it goes out and hires a bunch of celebrity chefs to come up with original content, and then talks about how this will attract more women to the site It's sort of like when they beefed up the original content on Yahoo Finance, and now they have a column from rube among rubes Robert Kiyosaki.

Credit Suisse profit dips 1%, beats forecasts (Marketwatch)

Maybe the folks at Credit Suisse will get their bonuses. True, it wasn't a very good quarter, mainly due to equity losses, but it wasn't as bad as it could've been. Profit dipped by 1%, exceeding analyst estimates. The company also confirmed an optimistic outlook, citing a strong pipeline of business.

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