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Urban Outfitters Q2 same-store sales up 5 percent (Reuters)
Apparently, there's only so much demand for "Jesus is my Homie" and "Missouri Loves Company" soft cotton t-shirts as same-store sales at Urban Outfitters declined 3% year-over-year. Seriously, when was the last time that store had anything new? Atari t-shirts? Those things were popular in 1998. Coffee table books about sex? Eventually you run out of space on your table, it's unavoidable. Martini shakers? Eventually you realize that you've never, ever used it. Meanwhile, there was tepid growth at the company's other divisions, Anthropologie and Free People.
Microsoft Avoids Paying $1.5 Billion To Alcatel-Lucent, For Now (InformationWeek)
Microsoft scored a nice victory in the courts yesterday evening when a judge ruled that it didn't have to pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.5 billion in damages for patent infringement. Several months ago, a jury found that Microsoft infringed on a patent relating to MP3 technology. Of course, there are several parties that have intellectual property associated with MP3s, and Microsoft had already licensed some from another company. But seeing as so many companies have similar patents, and seeing as juries, frankly, don't understand this stuff, it's easy to see how they lost in court the first time 'round.
Fannie Mae Wants Higher Mortgage Cap (AP)
Fannie Mae is asking regulators that it be allowed to up its investments into the mortgage market (buy and hold more mortgages) as a way of pumping more liquidity into the market. That's really what it all comes down to -- liquidity -- isn't it? Is there any economic problem that it can't solve? Or... is there are any economic problem that can't trace its roots to liquidity? After all, given that there are fundamental problems with the mortgage market right now, is it a good thing to signal to mortgage vendors that there's a willing and hungry buyer out there no matter what?
Fed expected to leave interest rates unchanged (AP)
Jim Cramer can scream his dome off, but if Bob Poole and Ben Bernanke weren't watching CNBC at the time (or YouTube), then there's no way they're going to hear his pleas. Cramer, of course, desperately wants a rate cut, and he knows this is needed based on all of his conversations with hedge fund guys. But, unless someone brings their laptop into the FOMC meeting and plays the clip, it's likely that rates will remain unchanged.
Publix to Offer 7 Antibiotics for Free (AP)
Now just look at what Wal-Mart's gone and started. First it announced $4 pricing on all generic drugs, which caused some other chains to follow suit. Now supermarket Publix will offer seven forms of oral antibiotics for free. Now just watch and wait for the howls from public health scolds warning about overuse of antibiotics and how irresponsible it is to not charge for them.
Wynn, Okada Pact May Thrive When Japan Allows Casinos (Bloomberg)
Final tables at poker tournaments are frequently dominated by Asians (Vietnamese, Phillipinos, Chinese), and yet poker hasn't even fully exploded in these countries themselves. Although gambling is illegal in China, the World Poker Tour recently announced a deal to hold a tournament there, which could easily start a wave of popularity. If the whole Chinese population went poker crazy (to the extent that people have here), is there any doubt that the Chinese would soon completely dominate play? No, there's none. Meanwhile, Japan is inching toward opening up its markets, letting in casinos for the first time. The Wynn group is already set to make a bid for a development for the country, just as soon as politicians get out of the way.
Even Nonhousing Markets Feel Mortgage Fallout (NYT)
It remains very difficult to believe anyone that says the mortgage problem is contained. To be honest, it's hard to remember anyone ever using the word contained in any context where it turned out that the problem was contained. Basically, if you have to borrow money, it's now been made more difficult. The times mentions dinnerware maker Oneida has having failed to float a bond. The firm believes that if it had just done it a month ago, there would've been no problem. Fact is, there are a lot of highly leveraged industries. Check out the packaging firms like Smurfit-Stone if you're looking for some leverage.
Homeland Security Firm to Go Public (Dealbook)
At first we read this headline as "Homeland Security to Go Public", and we thought a decision had been made to privatize the DHS. We've no doubt that that would make us safer, but, alas, it's not to be. Instead ICx technologies, a maker of sensors that have security functions, is getting set to go public. Boring.
Xstrata tables $1bn S African bid (BBC)
Acquisitive Switzerland-based miner Xstrata has done it again. The firm has announced that it will pay $1 billion for the South African platinum miner Eland. Xstrata claims to already have support from at least 51% of the voting shares, so barring any third party entrance into the mix (certainly possible), you can chalk up another deal in your database.
The DOJ's bumbling Enron Broadband case (Houston's Clear Thinkers)
Yes, unbelievably, there are still pending Enron cases. Pretty incredible. As it turns out, things aren't going so great for the government.