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Opening Bell: 2.16.07

Chrysler Said to Seek Help From G.M. on a Big S.U.V. (NYT)
Remember that really ludicrous deal from a few years ago, when Apple licensed out the iPod to HP, so that HP could sell an HP-branded iPod. Granted, they did get Sean "Puffy" Combs to sponsor it, but it was still ridiculous to think that that was a good idea. Now something similar is happening in the car world, as GM and Chrysler are in talks to provide Chrysler with a version of GM's Chevy Tahoe SUV. No, it's not that Chrysler is going to buy a Tahoe from GM, it's that they're going to make their own. It makes sense to be confused, since the companies aren't giving many details. Nor are they going to say if Jay-Z will start driving a Tahoe.
Global leaders reach climate change agreement (Guardian)
Ok, so why are we pointing to yet another climate change story? Yes, there's been a lot, and, yes it's getting a bit much, but is it really necessary to monitor each one? Well, actually there is an angle to this one that's pretty important. In a meeting, members of the G8+5 climate dialogue came to a non-binding agreement that developing countries must face emissions caps as well. This, of course, had been one of the main criticisms of Kyoto, that it did nothing to stem emissions from the likes of China and India. So now the world environmental leaders are coming out and saying it, that the developing world can't grow as fast, that they'll need to hold themselves back, come out of a poverty a leetle bit slower so that we can save the environment. Ok, just so long as that's clear now.
BBVA Confirms $9.6 Billion Deal for Compass (WSJ)
Is Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya the new HSBC? It's definitely emerging into quite the global brand, and it's beefing up its presence in the US. The bank has announced the acquisition of Compass bank, a chain primarily located in the south. Compass has lot of locations in Texas, which BBVA sees as big growth market because all of the money associated with Mexican trade.
Microsoft Plays Down a Sales Lift From Vista (NYT)
Speaking to a Wall St. crowd, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cautioned that analyst optimism over Windows Vista was too great, and that the new version of the operating system would not be the savior of the PC industry that many are hoping for. He said that hopes of 12-15% growth are not to be seen, and that customers won't be rushing out to upgrade Vista on their older box. So, what did you just spend 5 years working on?

JetBlue CEO offers apology (AP)
It was a rough couple days for airline wunderkind jetBlue. It seems like every year it happens to exactly one airline -- some combination of the weather and bad luck strain the airline beyond its capacity. Last year it was Fronteir during Christmas. This year, it was a blizzard all around the country, but it was jetBlue that couldn't deal with it. On Wednesday, as you've certainly heard, the company let passengers sit stranded on the tarmac for 11 hours -- Bill O'reilly is even calling for class-action lawsuits. And yesterday, the disaster that was Valentine's day spilled over, as thousands of angry travelers faced massive delays (though not once they were in the plane). From having been there, we can pass on one interesting tid-bit that didn't make the news. They had to bring in police to deal with the crowd; people were getting to agitated that the employees, evidently, felt unsafe.
Swiss Franc Volatility Rises on Speculation Currency to Rebound (Bloomberg)
The Swiss Franc, now there's a currency you don't hear much about. Because of the country's insistence on not joining any multi-national bodies, Switzerland never joined the EU much less the currency union. So, it still hangs on to the legacy Swiss Franc, which hasn't been enjoying the strength of its neighbors' currency. Well, the Swiss Franc (or CHF as its known) has reached an all-time record low, prompting speculators to jump in, optimistic that the government may do something to bolster it.
Wal-Mart Taps Strategy, Online Officers (WSJ)
This is one of those stories that you'll read every year for years to come. Wal-Mart is apparently shifting gears in its online strategy. The company's internet operations have never amounted to, well, anything, despite a lot of promises that it was figuring it out. When it first launched, if you'll recall, the company had the most ludicrous of shopping sites. It actually arranged the site like a floorplan of a store. You were literally looking down from above at aisles of goods and you had to click on the area where you were interested in buying from. Absurd. Eventually, the company scrapped that nonsense, but results haven't changed too much. So yeah, no surprise that the company is still working on things.