Opening Bell: 8.3.07

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Toyota's Net Profit Rises 32% On Strong Sales, Weaker Yen (WSJ)
Toyota has been taking a few knocks lately, as US automakers are said to have added a little bit of share these days. Well, they're making profits, which isn't the same thing as gaining market share. Then there was that earthquake in Japan, which knocked off production for a couple of days, prompting pundits to bash Toyota's JIT methods. But, the proof of the pudding is in the pudding, so they say. The company is still rocking on the earnings front, aided by strong sales and a weak yen.
Feeling the Heat, Not Breathing Fire (NYT)
The Chinese government's investment into Blackstone hasn't turned out so great, since, you know, that stock has sucked it up. Now a number of pundits in China are slamming the country for its ill-timed purchase. Yo: get over it. It's was one small purchase that will have no bearing on anything. In fact, it could be argued, that the purchase was a "strategic" one, to use rubbish corporate jargon.
You Know It's a Private-Equity Bubble When... (Deal Journal)
The Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal blog correctly surmises that it's a sign of a bubble in the private equity industry when you start seeing fliers on telephone poles advertising private equity training. Here's the thing though. Deal Journal claims to have seen this flier back in February, but they're only showing it to us now? (go to the link for the image). What's the point of that? If they'd posted it in February, then the Chinese government would've known to stay away from Blackstone. As it is now, though, it's just amusing in retrospect.
Take-Two Delays New `Grand Theft Auto,' Cuts Forecast (Bloomberg)
Let's cut right to the point: you can't sustain an entire company on Grand Theft Auto. Sure it was a popular game, and presumably still is (although the buzz seems to have died down significantly), but trying to support an entire firm would be like trying to sustain the world's largest tech company on Windows. You need Windows and Office. Also, like Windows, Take Two has announced that it will push back the next GTA. Ok, the company isn't all GTA. In the meantime you can buy their ping-pong game, which is fun, but, alas, a bit tiresome.


Russia's Gazprom postpones threat to Belarus (BBC)
If you get a chance, you should go check out Gazprom's website. It's easily the most intimidating corporate site you'll ever see. And that's fitting. The company has threatened to reduce the flow of energy to Belarus, but... they'll delay carrying out the threat pending ongoing negotiations. How nice of them.
Court backs insurers over Katrina (BBC)
Oh really? We'd have thought that the courts would side with Katrina over the insurers. Hard to predict what the courts will do.
Green Bean Recall Announced (The Denver Channel)
Add it to the list: French-style, canned green beans have been recalled due to safety concerns.
American Home Mortgage Says It Will Close (NYT)
In news that will come as a surprise to exactly know one, American Home Mortgage will close. This is refreshing. It's not often enough that a company just announces its closure, as if it were some restaurant or neighborhood boutique. Usually they go bankrupt, operate in bankruptcy, and then sell their assets to some other company, maintaining the brand. Obviously this company will sell off any mortgages it owns that actually have value, but in terms of operations, it's kaput.

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