Opening Bell: 9.12.07

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Harvard Endowment Head to Step Down (AP)
Looking for a job? Harvard's looking for a new endowment manager, as its current chief Mohammad El-Erian is returning to his old firm, Pimco to take the role of Co-CEO. Can't really blame him. The man made a whopping $2.6 million in 2006, although that wasn't for a full year. He then proceeded to grow the university's endowment by 23%. Face it, this man's got alpha.
Realtors predict drop in 2007 home sales (AP)
It's hard to say why, but our normal assumption would be that Realtors should have a better sense of the housing market than the average person. After all, they're right in the thick of things. Any theory of market economics sort of presupposes that actors directly in an industry will be apprised of the best information. And yet, the Realtors are only now predicting a home sale decline for 2007? Hello, it's September. Apparently, as late as last month, they still saw significant volume gains over last year. How is it that everyone and their dog new that thing would be rough this year, except the very people involved in selling homes?
Boeing CEO blames industry for 787 bolt shortage (Reuters)
Boeing is still finding itself hampered by those darn bolts. For several months, they've been complaining that aluminum fasteners, the type needed to hold the entire plan together, have been in short supply, as Alcoa is unable to keep up with demand. We'd sort of assumed that had been taken care of, but the Dreamliner will be delayed, largely because of this issue. At least that's what Boeing management continues to say. Let's just hope they're not covering up a bigger issues about, say, faulty wiring.
Cost of Health Insurance Rises Again, but at a Slightly Slower Rate (NYT)
Great news! The first second derivative of health care costs has turned negative. Okay, actual costs continue to grow, which isn't good, but the rate of growth is heading solidly south. And if that first derivative continues the trend, eventually it will spill over into the cost itself, maybe five years from now, and we'll get a dip. Keep your fingers crossed.

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U.S. trade deficit narrows in July (Reuters)
Ask and ye shall receive, Ben Bernanke. Just yesterday the Fed Chief voiced concerns about the widening trade deficit, and not it's been revealed that at least for the month of July, the figure (of dubious value, we might add) narrowed. Nice timing.
Burger King Unveils Healthier Kids Menu (AP)
In an effort to offer something healthier for kids appease public health tyrants, Burger King will now offer thickly cut apple slices in the shape of French fries in select kids meals. This is going to go down terribly, now because apples are so bad, per se, but because it looks like they're going to use red delicious apples, which are the worst apples know to man. One taste of these and kids will never eat another apple again, especially if the alternative is delicious, oily fries.
Size of New Homes Starts Shrinking As Builders Battle Housing Slump
Well, this is one way to make housing affordable in light of credit tightening. Just make houses small. You don't need to get some subprime jumbo mortgage if your house is the size of an East Village shoebox (provided that it's not actually in the East Village, in which case you're not in any better shape). It's too bad really, there's nothing more awe inspiring than fields of McMansions, each one the embodiment of the American dream. Hopefully the existing ones won't be discarded and fall into disrepair.
NTP Brings More Suits (WSJ)
NTP, the patent trolling firm that wrested half a billion dollars out of Research in Motion because it claimed to have a broad patent covering "wireless email" isn't done. Not content with its ridiculously massive haul already, the company is now going after all of the big wireless carriers: Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA. Obviously, their case is basically rubbish and the patent office has even indicated that the company's patents are likely to be nullified upon further review. But in the meantime, they'd be idiots not go try banking some more.
Reddy Ice Lowers 2007 Profit Outlook (AP)
Frankly, we can't imagine that Reddy Ice would really be warning about weak sales if this whole global warming thing was all it was cracked up to be.
Stock Futures Slip After Tuesday Rally (AP)
Stocks are expected to slip today, following yesterday's gains, as profit takers, well, take their profits. Who are these profit takers among us? If you ask us, they're just greedy. Can't they just hold and let the rally continue? Instead they have to line their pockets at the expense of everyone else, as we watch our assets shrink. And besides, does this make us profit givers? Unconscionable, especially in times like these.
Japan PM Abe departure unlikely to calm nervous stock market (AFX)
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is stepping down, though we're not really sure how big of a deal this is. Our guess is that it's not too meaningful.

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