Opening Bell: 10.17.07

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Ahead of the Bell: Beige Book (Forbes)
Ah the Beige Book, the book of anecdotal evidence about the economy. Truthfully, this is about the only thing that really matter to us, anecdotes. Yes, we believe in the old saw that the plural of anecdotes is not data, but data isn't data either. Number on a page are difficult to interpret. They're not language. Go around, ask some people what's up, and you can often get a good idea of, well, what's up. Also, without the Beige Book, there'd be no phrase "Stick that in your Beige Book, Sucka!"
China surge in charts (Abnormal Returns)
Two great charts really spell out the dizzying hits of the Chinese markets. You're probably the most familiar with the first one, the one that shows the market taking off like a rocket ship. But check out the second, which actually puts it in perspective. Look at how many of the world's largest companies, by market cap, are now Chinese. And then check out the PEs on those babies. If all those Chinese energy companies had PEs like Gazprom or Exxon, they wouldn't ever show up on the list.
Small Steps at Yahoo Bear Fruit (NYT)
So the first quarter of the newly-returned Jerry Yang at Yahoo has borne fruit. Sort of. The real question is, what fruit? A quince? a fruit that you have to cook like hell to make it edible for human consumption. A persimmon? A fruit that looks nice and gets hyped a lot in recipes, but actually isn't that nice? Ah, how about a red delicious? If you peel it it might be okay, but for the most part, it's pretty unsatisfying. We'll go with the latter. Yes, Yahoo bounced back in key metrics, as investors were praying it would. But there wasn't much robust flavor to get excited about. Hopefully next quarter will be a honey crisp.
Coca-Cola Net Beats Estimates on Asia, Latin America (Bloomberg)
Brown sugar water continues to sell well, particularly internationally. Of course we think coca-cola is the devil's drink -- worse than cigarrettes, as Muhammad Ali use to say -- but exporting our obesity isn't bad, only in the sense that it helps level the world's playing field (it also helps keep the world in balance, literally). Anyway, a good quarter with earnings growth of 13%

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Record Price of Oil Raises New Fears (NYT)
Let's just say that at this point, if oil doesn't get to $100/barrel, we'll consider it a real tease. Seriously, cause ultimately were Julian Simonists, and we believe that the price of energy will go down, not up, over the long term. But seeing $100 oil would be a major event. Our other dream, seeing a split between the electoral college and the popular vote came to fruition much sooner than we'd expected. Now there's this.
Splitting Up at Scripps; McClatchy Profit Falls (NYT)
This could be the quarter of hell for newspaper companies. A preliminary look suggests there in the exact opposite of the sweet spot (the bitter spot?), where a tiny bit of revenue slippage translates to a major hit in income -- negative operating leverage. Yesterday the CEO of McClatchy basically had to apologize for his company's punk performance over the past year. It was that ugly. Gannett is on the dock today.
Food Companies Face U.S. Probe Over Iraq Deals (WSJ)
Food companies Sara lee and Con Agra are being investigated, er, probedy over possible misbehavior surrounding their business with the military in Iraq. What's funny, is that we don't recall having been pelted with handheld flyers from activists telling us to boycott this companies for the past several months. Maybe the fact that the government got to the issue first is because Dick Cheney wasn't involved in those companies.
Yahoo! Finance
Holy mother of pearl!. If you start entering in a ticker or company name into the bar on Yahoo Finance, it'll start filling it in for you. This feature is so useful, especially when you're not sure what the ticker is, but the company has been sitting on its hands about rolling this out. Not being sarcastic here, this was honestly one of the major reasons we started using Google Finance. Well done Yahoo!!