Opening Bell: 9.6.07

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Crocs shares dip on costs of shoe shipping (Bloomberg)
We know the world is pretty evenly divided between Crocs lovers and Crocs haters, and, we're sorry if you're the former, but we're solidly Crocs haters. Still, we watch in amazement every day as the stock climbs steadily higher, as if it were the AAPL of shoes. The company finally took a hit as it announced that it's spending more on shipping costs in order to meet demand. We're of two minds about this. In a sense, it's always a red flag when a company warns that profits were down because demand was too high. There's often something else going on in such situations. On the other hand, if the company's problem is really so straightforward, then this probably isn't something to worry about.
VW Virginia move a blow for Detroit (FT)
Someone at Volkswagon must have been watching CNBC when they did their best states for business special, because the company is set to announce that it's moving its US headquarters from Detroit to the DC suburbs, in Virginia. It's a blow for Detroit, naturally, but at this point, it's hard to imagine that it will really be noticed. What's one more loss? Meanwhile, it just goes to show that in 21st century America, the money is in being close to the halls of power in DC.
Microsoft cuts Zune music player price by $50 (Reuters)
Not that anyone would really care, but yesterday's Apple announcements, that it would cut prices on iPhones while boosting the functionality of iPods, seems to have put more pressure on the Microsoft Zune. The company has announced that prices for Zunes will be cut by $50. From what to what, we don't know. In other equally important news, a shotglass full of chewing tobacco spit can easily be mistaken for a shot of Jaeger. Don't be fooled!
Investors raise funds for leveraged loan sales (FT Alphaville)
One thing that's clear is that the credit crunch is going to create a lot of desperation. Companies will start selling units on the cheap in order to fund buyback programs because the bond market has dried up for them. Banks are going to be on the hook for a lot of private equity debt that they had assumed they could dump. Apparently hedge and private equity funds are licking their chops at the opportunity to lend money to banks at loan shark prices. Doesn't really seem fair, considering how generous banks have been all these years in lending money to funds.

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Phila. cab drivers start two-day strike (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Apparently they're solidarity striking in Philadelphia too. Of course, this has nothing to do with the costs of installing GPS and everything to do with taxes. But it probably wouldn't look to good if the striking cabbies said their main beef was that the new technology would make it harder for them to fudge their tax returns.
CP Rail sees future in coal (Toronto Star)
Canadian Pacific Railroad is likely Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp., which does a brisk business in hauling coal. For CP Rail, the move is a bet on continued growth in the coal business, as Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern has recently won approval to expand its coal business.
Air travel for me, exercise for thee (Megan McArdle)
Now this is pretty messed up right here. So you know about carbon offsets, right? It's what allows guys like Al Gore and John Edwards to live opulent lives while still claiming to be carbon neutral. Anyway, apparently one group is selling a most galling kind of offset. If, say, you want to fly to Europe guilt-free, you can pay some poor chap in India to do manual labor in India without using any machines. The organization believes that a good way to thwart global warming is to replace fossil fuel with muscle power. Since they know that's not going to happen in the west, they pay the world's poor to stay poor, by sticking to manual labor. On the other hand, if you'd still feel more guilty about taking a plane than about stunting economic development, then here's their website.
Financier Sentenced to Prison for Not Paying Federal Taxes for 29 Years (NYT)
Lest you get seduced by any schemes to avoid paying taxes, a former investor (once at Goldman Sachs) has been sent to prison for 50 months for failing to pay taxes for 29 years. Then again, 29 years of tax-free living in exchange for 50 months of minimum security jail... worth it?
Wal-Mart Says August Same-Store Sales Increased 3.1 Percent (Bloomberg)
Ok, so Wal-Mart claims to have seen a same-store sales jump of 3.1% in August due to school supply sales. Fair enough. But weren't there school supply sales last August, too? Or did people not go to school last year? Musn't there be something else to explain the rise?

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