Opening Bell: 4.17.07

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Coca-Cola Profit Climbs 14% on Gains in Asia, Europe (Bloomberg)
Coca-Cola is still basically a sugar water company, despite its efforts to get into things like green tea, herb-infused sports drinks, and stuff like that. Granted, the company's pure green tea product, which can be found at some Japanese grocery stores, is pretty delicious. But it's sweet "healthy" stuff, like Enviga (which sounds like a pharmaceutical), is down foul. Nevertheless, the company is turning in exceptionally strong number, as growth abroad offsets, ahem, flat sales here.
Sterling breaks $2 as further UK rate rises seen (Reuters)
I've never been particularly interested in traveling to Europe. I mean, I've been there once, but the whole climbing tall staircases at 500-year old churches just to get some good view of a Piaza doesn't do much fore me. Anyway, I have a nice excuse now, since the Sterling (the Pound) has cracked the $2 level for the first time in 15 years. It's just not worth it. As nice as it is to get away, it can't be worth feeling so poor. Besides, I thought London seemed expensive when I was there, in 2000, when the dollar was hella strong.
Taxpayers face filing deadline (Rocky Mountain Telegram)
If you owe taxes, which you almost certainly do, then today, as you almost certainly know, is your last day to send the check to Uncle Sam. People who stand in line today are often thought of as procrastinators, and for some reason they're looked down upon. But don't worry, the critics are idiots. The real fools are the people who owe money, but don't wait until the last minute to pay, since they're giving up valuable teenths of interest that they could be earnings on their accounts.
Boston Scientific plant fixes send stock up 7% (Reuters)
Boston Scientific announced yesterday that it has resolved some flaws in its manufacturing plants and that the FDA had cleared its Guidant unit to begin selling implantable defibrillators again. The stock rose 7% yesterday on the news. Still, cynics that we are, we can't help wondering whether the celebration is premature, since, you know, the business that this company is in is plagued by these problems. They may have solved one issue, ok, but there's almost certainly numerous other ones lurking around the corner.


Black swan spotted in Iceland (IcelandReview)
Ok, this news is like two weeks old, and it doesn't have anything to do with finance but there's an obvious reason that we're linking to it. It's because (duh) today marks the release of Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan, the followup to his cult classic Fooled By Randomness. Now, we've definitely dropped hints here that we're excited about this, and we humbly accept any criticism that you may hurl here for being Taleb fanboys, but with that out of the way, it is exciting that the book is finally coming out. No doubt that over the coming days, we'll be peppering the Opening Bell with subtle references to it wherever we see fit. Sorry.
Obama Gets Edge on New Yorkers Clinton, Giuliani on Wall Street (Bloomberg)
Bloomberg has declared that Barack Obama has edged out Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani by a nose in terms of raising money from Wall St. Obama took home $479,209 from donors at the various banks, while Clinton slightly trailed him with $473,442. Obama was particularly popular at Goldman Sachs, it seems.
Nacchio Jury Ends 3rd Day (AP)
However the Nacchio case ends up, jurors don't seem to see it as a slam dunk. Already, they've been deliberating for three days without returning a verdict. Maybe they really buy the whole "I thought we were getting a big contract so even though my sales seem timed to bad news, they were actually timed to good news" argument.
Managers Use Hedge Funds as Big I.R.A.'s (NYT)
We can't really be bothered to read this article, but it's something about hedge fund managers using their funds as a big tax shelter so that they can do most of their investing on a tax-free basis. Ok, we read the first paragraph and that's what we ascertained. Maybe it's a bit of a scandal, but maybe not. Let us make a broader point though. Flash back to this Sunday. It was pouring rain, and we happened to have a copy of the Sunday Times laying around. The Times doesn't interest us on Sundays, typically, since it's mainly the kind of lifestyle stuff I don't care about. That and some less-newsy featurey pieces that we find similarly boring. Nevertheless, the business section has to have something worthwhile, right? Get this, they're still doing specials on corporate pay. What the hell is wrong with this people? How can they be so obsessed with this one damn issue? Who's the underling that goes to his boss and says "I've got the best idea for this weekend's business section -- a special on CEO pay"? And who's the boss that says "brilliant". These people might be marginally psychotic, or maybe they have some other mental disorder that makes them so focused on a single issue. Either way, it might be time for them to cut that out, cause it's gotten to the point of being disturbing.
"Somebody was guilty because they were guilty" (Houston's Clear Thinkers)
Obviously, nobody wants to hear more about Enron, but this is actually interesting. Seems that some of the jurors from the trial of the century have been given speeches on the issue, talking about how they brought justice to Lay and Skilling (or is it brought Lay and Skilling to justice?), while basically revealing their own ignorance of the whole case. As one juror put it, they knew someone was guilty because somebody was guilty.

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