Opening Bell: 4.20.07

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Nacchio convicted on 19 of 42 counts (BusinessWeek)
Just in case you missed it, yesterday evening jurors in the Joe Nacchio case came back with a guilty verdict on 19 of the 42 counts. That's slightly less than half, but it doesn't really work that way. Nacchio could be in prison for a long time, so the fact that he was acquitted of most of the charges doesn't mean zilch. Honestly, we wonder what it means when jurors come back with a mixed verdict like this. If we had to guess, we'd guess that they feel compelled to deliver a few not-guilties just so that they look like they were paying attention. Each guilty could conceivably carry a term of 10 years, though it's doubtful he'll get a 190-year sentence. Your over/under?
Google profit soars over the estimates (SF Chronicle)
Just a few days after Yahoo's poor earnings, Google announced sales growth of 66% and earnings growth of 69%. Not bad. After the news, the stock rose modestly, indicating that Google's results were basically what people expected. In other words, investors have set a damn high hurdle for the company, and if at some point it can't keep delivering such tremendous growth (seems inevitable), the company may get punished.
Supervalu raises forecast; shares jump (MarketWatch)
Hey WallStrip! Do you guys take requests? We've always been intrigued by Supervalu, a company that basically strives to be the Dollar Store of grocery stores. They're small format stores that have a complete range of items, many of them private label. They're big in urban areas, and most importantly (for WallStrip, that is) they're at an all time high as the business model seems to be clicking. What do you say?
H&R Block to Sell Option One Mortgage to Cerberus (Bloomberg)
H&R Block has agreed to sell its subprime mortgage business to Cerberus. Is it just us or has every attempt made by H&R Block to diversify away from taxes been a failure? At some point, if we recall, the company bought an asset manager, which had all these race-related complaints or lawsuits against it -- the details are hazy in our mind. This sort of seems like the great move from dumb to smart money here. As Tom Kirkendall spotted the other day, actual losses from subprime assets aren't as bad as you'd think, given all of the scare talk.


Pound May Extend Gain After Reaching 26-Year High, Options Show (Bloomberg)
Options-based forecasting models indicate that the British pound is likely to rally further, past its current perch of just over $2 per. If true, it's just more confirmation that we'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming to visit England these days, or probably the rest of Europe for that matter.
R.I.M. Offers a Reason for BlackBerry Failure (NYT)
Just in case you were wondering, it was a software glitch that done in Blackberry. It admitted that it had done inadequate pretesting of a new software system that it was installing, which, ironically, was put in place to improve operating performance (rimshot!).
Short Interest (Again) Precludes Correction (The Big Picture)
So, why haven't the US markets been hit worse by things like the China Flu and the Subprime Pneumonia? Why aren't oil prices, Iran, the trade deficit and the deterioration of corporate spending causing more pain? Ah, it's because there are so many bears out there with short positions that there's no way to gain momentum on the downside. As soon as something swoons, the shorts come in to take their profits and the prices are bid up again. So, in other words, because there's so much cause for worry, and because people are actually heading these causes for worry, the market can't go down. Maybe there's a grain of truth, but we remain a tad skeptical by this explanation, which seems a little too pat.

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