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Opening Bell: 1.15.07

California Growers Battle Cold Front; Midwest Storm Heads East (Bloomberg)
Has anyone else noticed that among some crowds it's almost politically incorrect (to use a tired phrase) to enjoy the warm winter? Like if you acknowledge that it's warm -- and that it's really nice, and that you really wouldn't mind if every winter were like this -- then it's clear that you're not sufficiently disturbed by the environmental implications, and that you really need to watch An Inconvenient Truth one more time. On the flipside, of the country, things aren't so balmy. There's record cold in California, and the possibility of major crop damage. Perhaps it would be the perfect year to corner the frozen concentrated orange juice market.
Just ‘Citi’ as the Brand, and a Folded Umbrella (NYT)
For those keeping score at home, Citigroup may be very close to dropping the -group from its name, and going simply as Citi. We think it's high time. Certainly Citigroup has the same star power as many other one-word celebrities. And the fewer syllables the have, the more confident they are in themselves. Of course, if you're not paying close attention, the isolated Citi sort of rhymes with a certain negative adjective, no?
BlackBerry Pearl Goes White (WSJ)
The iPhone is six months from its launch and its effect is already being felt. T-Mobile announced it would begin selling a white version of the Blackberry Pearl (the consumer version, not the one that our readers would use), and it's going to slash the price another $50. Still, a white casing around a Blackberry does not an iPhone make. Then again, a phone without a keyboard might not exactly qualify as a useful phone for tapping out messages.
Smiths Agrees to Aerospace Sale (WSJ)
Due to the holiday, it's not much of a merger Monday today. One of the few deals, not surprisingly, is trans-Atlantic, as GE announced that it will buy the Aerospace division of UK's Smiths Group PLC. The Journal notes an interesting currency-related slant to the deal. While many American companies are reluctant to buy European companies (due to the weak dollar), aerospace may be something of an exception. Since jets are priced in dollar (was not aware of that), it's been rough going on some European firms, and thus there's been pressure to sell out of the business.