Opening Bell: 11.7.06

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A split vote for stocks (CNNMoney)
We'll get our obligatory mention of the election in right off the bat here. But don't worry, we're not going to implore you to vote or anything. The big question, of course, is, what do various scenarios mean for stocks. It all depends on who's talking points you use. So just bear in mind that the market loved divided government, no, no wait. The market loves Republican government because of the tax breaks. Oh, actually the market likes Democrats in power because historically it's done well under them. Nevermind, what the market hates is uncertainty; everything else is tolerable, so let's hope there aren't many recounts. Seriously, the only ballot box we care about is a trading screen.
Toyota, Isuzu announce tie-up, focus on emissions (Reuters)
Joe Isuzu is back, and this time he's a real scold when it comes to global warming. Great, as if he weren't annoying enough. Toyota announced that it's taking an equity stake in Joe's eponymous company, and said that the two companies will partner on R&D related to lowering auto emissions. Toyota's been getting its fingers in a few pies; it recently took a stake in the parent company of Subaru. And if it needs to be spelled out that the balance of power in the world has shifted (it doesn't need to be spelled out, but we're going to), both Isuzu and Subaru had been associated with GM until they dissolved those ties in a move to save some cash.
After a Loss, the Chief of Overstock Reassesses (NYT)
It's really hard to pin blame on naked short sellers for your company's woes when your company's results suck. Certainly, Overstock CEO couldn't blame them for the fact that sales were down, right? Down they were, and pretty big. And now the company is running low on cash. After it pays the post-holiday bills, Byrne said, it may or may not have to tap the market for some more cash. Again, back to the original question. It seems like there were plenty of legitimate shorters of this stock, that had it sized up pretty well, and are being vindicated. The company blamed the softness on "internal marketing", which appears to be a made up phrase related to the fact that many people who visit the site aren't converted to buyers.
Verizon, YouTube Aim To Bring Web Videos To Cellphones, TV (WSJ)
Ooh, Verizon is so cool. It's on ther verge of signing a deal with YouTube, so that you can watch all your favorite clips anywhere from your Verizon phone with VCast premium mobile services. Oh wait, the whole story actually just shows how lame Verizon is. See, YouTube doesn't have to sign deals with other mobile companies. But Verizon insists on deciding what content gets on and off your phone (ostensibly for your protection), so users are at the whim of whatever the company agrees to. Good luck watching Wallstrip on your Verizon phone.


Toll Brothers Revenue Declines After Cancellations (Bloomberg)
Another housing stock, another weak earnings report. Back during the boom, less than a year ago, the homebuilders were out trying to convince investors that backlog was the same thing as sales. Do a search for the phrase "record backlog" and you'll see. But backlog isn't sales because backlog can be cancelled. So if you don't think buying that luxury house next to a golf course is such a good investment anymore, especially since it'll be surrounded by 15 empty ones, you might cancel your purchase. Or if 5 of your other properties have taken a hit in value, making it harder for you to get a loan, again, you might cancel. And speaking of Toll Brothers, they seem to be making quite a push in New York. They look nice, but how embarrassing would it be though to move into one of their buildings?
Committed to Coal, and in a Hurry, Too (NYT)
What the hell is up with those TV commercials featuring young kids musing about coal? Seriously, seen those? Absurd. It almost makes you want to bust out the old comedians' crack about which marketing genius came up with that one. That being said, coal is hot these days. Energy firm TXU is making a seriously bet on the dirty stuff, and hopes to build 11 new coal power plants, which as the New York Times says "...will produce copious amounts of global warming gases for decades to come." Meanwhile, railroad stocks, that do a brisk business in transporting the stuff are rather hot as well, having surged as a group in just the past few months.
Boeing looks to take weight off 787 (Chicago Tribune)
Sorry Airbus, there won't be any wiring delays for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. All things appear to be going good, though the company is looking to still shave 5,000 lbs from its final weight, so that it can save costs and pass them on to its customers. Should also help with fuel costs, albeit marginally. Shaving the weight sounds like a simple enough project; the company says it's a matter of looking over the plane piece-by-piece and asking themselves "did we optimize this?"
Abbott to pay $3.7 billion for Kos Pharma (MarketWatch)
Abbot Labs announced that it would buy out Kos Pharma for $3.7 billion. Kos has a cholesterol drug that raises one's good cholesterol, something we've all heard a lot about. What's funny is that all of the articles about this deal seem really skeptical on the whole good cholesterol thing. Some are calling it "good" cholesterol, while others call it so-called good cholesterol, and yet others are describing it, kid you not, as so-called "good" cholesterol. Listen, it's real. No need for the quotes.

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