Opening Bell: 10.15.07

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Inside Fox Business News (Fortune)
Well, today couldn't get any more exciting, as it's the official launch of the Fox Business Channel. Seriously, it's practically a holiday around here, and if posting is really intermitent, it's because we're glued to the screen, taking notes on every detail. So, will this "Wall Street to main street" shtick actually work? Hard to say, but you'd be a fool to bet against 'em.
Citigroup's lower earnings top estimates (CNNMoney)
So, we're not exactly sure how Citigroup has been playing Wall St. analysts, or what constitutes an upside surprise, and what just counts as a bad quarter. Obviously, the company knows how to manage expectations, so that no matter how badly it did, it could spin it as overperformance. So, despite the fact that mortgage revenue -- and well a bunch of other divisions -- cratered, the company beat estimates by $.03, guaranteeing that Chuck Prince gets to keep his job.
Hong Kong gains in unknown territory
So, it's been seven weeks since select Chinese investors have been allowed to invest in the Hong Kong stock market. Anybody want to take a guess how much it's up by then? C'mon, take a guess. Seriously. Ok, it's 40%. Forty frackin' percent in seven weeks. That's performance, no other way to put it. And naturally, all that Chinese money has attracted money from other areas, looking to front run the rush of liquidity, which only helps the whole things snowball. Anyway, great for Hong Kong, the whole thing is truly a recipe for long-term success.
Patrick to press mortgage companies (Boston Globe)
The governor of Massachusetts has stumbled upon a brilliant idea to avert a housing crises: let people pay less than their full balances and have the mortgage holders take a loss. Wow, Such brilliant policy maneuvering, it's amazing nobody has thought of such an elegant, magic bullet previously. Hopefully, this test case will be replicated throughout the nation in due time.

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U.S. to review claims that lipsticks contain lead (IHT)
It's no longer just your kids' toys that contain lead, now it's adult items, like lipstick, which may carry the stuff. Now it's a serious problem. See, we've been advocating a "no toys this year" policy, as a way to avoid the whole tainted stuff problem. But now we sort of doubt whether that will work, since just about everything will eventually prove to be tainted with lead. Seriously. This is bad. Hopefully some enterprise free-enterprise economists will come out with a report soon debunking the lead=bas assumption.
China Offers Taiwan Peace Ahead of Island's Election (Bloomberg)
Chinese President Hu Jintao says his country is willing to discuss the status of Taiwan... but, there will be no wavering from the "one China" policy, meaning, there probably won't be much change. Any negotiations would probably consist of Chinese pleading, Taiwan's refusing and then stalemate. That being said, maybe if China offered to let mainland investors invest in the Taiwan Stock Exchange, things might be different. 40% in seven weeks would be a nice sweetener.
Oracle and BEA: Getting Uglier By The Minute (Tech Trader Daily)
Well, it won't be a reprise of Oracle/PeopleSoft, because BEA isn't as big as PeopleSoft, and it's doing as well. That being said, it looks like we're going to get a nice seat at yet another Larry Ellison spectacular, as he whips out every trick in the book to break BEA management and get the company he wants. If history is any guide, by the time this is over, all of BEA's managers will be gone, while BEA shareholders somehow get less than the initial offer, as punishment for the company not immediately agreeing to the deal.
Cancer death rates dropping faster than ever (CNN)
Being big fans of Julian "The Doomslayer" Simon, we have to link to this story that death rates from cancer continue to drop. This article is actually pretty strange, in that it doesn't contain tons of hedge quotes to make the news seem less good. Almost always, whenever there's good health news to report, they include a few quotes from some public health nits saying that things aren't really that good. In this case, there's just one, from someone who says there isn't enough screening still. ok.

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