Opening Bell: 7.19.07

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Dubai Investment Firm Plans U.S. Purchases (Dealbook)
Hide your children, your mortgage deeds and your small businesses. Remove your stock holding from your brokerage account and put the certificates under your pillow. If you're a public company, it's time to go private -- right now. In short, time to go into lockdown mode. The Dubai money is coming. The private equity firm managed by the country's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, will soon open an American office, so that he can add US firms to his portfolio. They're takin' over.
China's Economy Grows at Fastest Pace in 12 Years (Bloomberg)
And here we thought that the Chinese government was actually doing something to curb growth. Aren't we stupid. This past quarter, the economy surged over 11%, its fastest growth in 12 years, although inflation (the enemy of all economic progress as well as the stock market) took a leap as well. Ok, it's really time for the Chinese government to get off their butts and do something. Really, it's high time they started paying attention to this wild, untrammeled growth. (end sarcasm)
As Dollar Crumples, Tourists Overseas Reel (NYT)
As we've mentioned here a few times, we're not really big Europhiles at the Opening Bell. Sure, we've traveled there before -- it mainly consisted of looking at old art, walking up endless flights of spiral staircases and trying to decipher train timetables. Ok, it wasn't that bad, but nothing that needs to be repeated any time soon. So as much as the weak dollar represents a terrible blow to our ego, which is tightly linked to the nation, we have a perfectly great excuse not to travel to Europe, or anywhere for that matter. It's gotta be rough for the kids doing semesters abroad right now, particularly to places like Paris and London, which are already so damn expensive.
Quake hits automakers (AP)
Ford, GM, Chrysler, quick! This is your chance. The Japanese automakers have halted production due to the earthquake and the attendant lack of parts. So if you're going to gain back some lost market share, then here's your chance. Seriously, rev up those factories to triple speed, offer some mad incentives, and watch the sales start rolling back.


Apple reclaims US' third biggest PC seller spot (The Register)
If you've ever been inside any coffee shop/design firm/advertising firm/blog publishing operation, you'd be surprised that Apple has only now surpassed Gateway as the third biggest computer seller. It's not just that Apples are everywhere you look -- they are, but when was the last time you ever saw a Gateway? Seriously, we can't remember either. There must be gigantic computer labs full of 'em at junior colleges and in Midwestern high schools that make up for their absence every else.
Murdoch’s Arrival Worries Journal Employees (NYT)
No duh Murdoch's arrival is worrisome. You know how we know? Cause the paper prints a story saying as such every day. Okay, they're not that explicit, but just about anytime the Journal comments on the possible takeover of its parent, there are usually a few thinly-veiled barbs thrown Murdoch's way. And, of course, the union is against it, so that's a good sign, as well.
Google Officials to Testify On DoubleClick Deal Impact (WSJ)
Just in case there were any doubt that Google is the new Microsoft, the Congress has plans to haul Google's ass up to the hill and make it testify about its acquisition of DoubleClick. Already, the deal is being examined for its antitrust implications, but when the Congressmen get involved, you know the love has worn off.
Ooma Launches Free Consumer Phone Service (TechCrunch)
This is strange. Ashton Kucher is apparently closely involved in a new VoIP startup Quite baffling. It'd be one thing if he got involved in a hedge fund, or even a company that made accessories for the iPhone. That'd make sense. But anyway, here's more competition for Vonage, which is already screwed on crack, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. Now they have to square off against Ashton Kucher as well? It's just not fair.
UK’s Neteller to pay $136m gambling penalty (FT Alphaville)
It's our view that NETeller got totally crewed when the US put the screws to the company, since all it did was act as a kind of PayPal that happened to service the gambling industry. Anyway, while its founders are going to the clink, the company will be given a reprieve after admitting guilt and paying a $136 million fine. Oh, and of course it can't process payments for gamblers anymore, so it's business is prolly kaput.

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