Opening Bell: 7.6.07

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Newmont Mining eliminates gold hedges (AFX)
It's not clear if this is some sort of sign, but Newmont Mining, the major gold miner, has announced that it will eliminate all hedging, thus making it a much more leveraged play on the price of gold. While hedging allows the company to smooth out its earnings stream in good times and bad, if shareholders want balls-to-the-wall gold investing, then who's to say they shouldn't have it. And of course, the current bull market in commodities is now a permanent reality, right? So why bother hedging against a drop?
Boeing 787 Dreamliner to debut - on tarmac (MarketWatch)
Fears that Boeing may not get its 787 Dreamliners out on time have been growing of late (metal fasteners, among other things, may stymie production), prompting the company to schedule the first public showing of the supermegajumbojet. But it's still not "ready" per se, so the public viewing of it will just consist of it sitting on the tarmac. Given the current state of the US aviation industry, sitting on the tarmac would seem like a pretty natural environment for any plane.
UBS Ousts CEO Wuffli After a Spate of Setbacks (WSJ)
UBS has announced the immediate ouster of CEO Peter Wuffli, who has failed to put out a number of fires raging at the bank. Missteps include the loss of certain key dealmakers as well as the implosion of an internal hedge fund, which seems to be a pretty common issue these days. Wuffli has been replaced with Marcel Rohner, who runs the company's private banking and wealth management operations, a move that could signal a shift towards lower-risk operations.
iPhone Futures Prove to Be a Bad Investment (NYT)
This story should give anyone a vague modicum of schadenfreude. All the "geniuses" that thought they could flip their iPhones by selling them on eBay have pretty much been proven wrong. Very few have sold and even fewer have sold at a meaningful profit. You have to wonder whether the guy who waited in line at Soho so he could sell an iPhone for charity isn't regretting the decision a little bit. He might've been better off, say, working those few days at a real job, and then just given his wages to charity. The whole thing echoes what happened with PS3 speculators several months ago, although some of them at least made money in the early days. Also, hats off to Apple. The lack of aftermarket profits means that the company nailed the volume/price level. Well done.


Microsoft pressures U.S. in Vancouver move (Financial Post)
Microsoft has gone a hop skip and a jump over the border for its latest software development center. The company will employ 200 people in Vancouver, although the company hasn't decided what they're going to be working on. Microsoft, notoriously, has a hard time putting its employees to good use, so it ends up with a lot of frivolous money-losing projects. Some see the move as putting pressure on the US to relax visas for foreign workers, although there's no reason that Microsoft wouldn't open up a Vancouver office in any circumstances. Probably folks are reading a little too much into this one.
Second Suitor Makes a Bid for Barneys (NYT)
So, have you been to the Uniqlo on Broadway? It's been open for awhile already, so the novelty has worn off a bit, but if you're in the market for a simple shirt or pair of shorts, it's not a bad option. Sort of like Old Navy without the lameness or American Apparel without the political baggage. Anyway, the scene is about as far away form Barneys as you could imagine, but the company's parent firm, Fast Retailing has stepped in to make a bid for the tony clothing retailer. The move is the second bid for Barneys, so perhaps shareholders can expect a nice bidding war.
Microsoft Having Profit Problems with Xbox 360? You Don't Say? (Information Arbitrage)
Roger Ehrenberg has been pretty on top of the video game industry lately, nailing the simple fact that while Sony and Microsoft struggle, Nintendo is whipping their hides. The latest problem at Microsoft is that its going to take a $1 billion charge for repairs to the Xbox 360. Microsoft is huge, but $1 billion is $1 billion, which is a lot of money. It's especially a lot because Microsoft's Xbox unit is unprofitable (black ink any day now we're told), so to sink another $1 billion into an unprofitable line can not be particularly appealing.

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