Opening Bell: 10.18.07

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SAP's Third-Quarter Profit Rises 10% on License Sales (Bloomberg)
Putting the puzzle pieces together, now we have a better idea about SAP's new found love for acquisitions. See for a long time, it didn't believe that acquisitions were the route to growth. It only purchased companies for their technology, unlike Oracle, which made deals that got them customers. Then SAP announced the purchase of BOBJ and said more could be on the way. And now SAP reports flagging profits growing half of what Oracle's have grown. On all the big metrics, the company seems to have come in shy. What we still haven't see is an all-out bidding war between Oracle and SAP, but if we had to guess, then we could see one sometime in the next 12 months.
Indonesia's Rating Raised by Moody's to Decade High (Bloomberg)
Obviously you can't trust the ratings agencies anymore, but if you could, then you'd want to know that Indonesia has seen its debt rating raised to its highest level in a decade. They're still at Ba3, three levels below investment grade, but still, they've come along way since a few years ago, when it was all riots and terrorism. According to Moody's, the rating reflects Indonesia's commitment to fiscal prudence.
Best Buy ends analog television sales (Reuters)
To be honest, we didn't really realize there were still analog TVs. Actually, we were at a friend's house the other night, and they put on the Red Sox/Indians game, and midway through the game, it dawned on us that we were watching an over-the-air broadcast. It was crazy. It actually looked alright, but man. Over the air!
Seeing Sugar’s Future in Fuel (NYT)
Why not? Seeing as we offer so much in subsidies to corn and ethanol operations, why not subsidize cane and beet sugar operations? It's only fair, right? And if it leads to a little more agflation, or if it leads to bigger waistlines, from cheaper sugar all around, it's just a small price to pay for energy independence. And most of all, it's fair. Nothing worse than arbitrary policy.

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Nokia Profit Jumps 85% as New Models Win Market Share (Bloomberg)
They don't have an iPhone for sale, but Nokia (Oyj, yes that Nokia) turned a strong performance, mainly by beating up on Motorola. The company has definitely been on a good run from the days when it only sold cheap candy bar phones and Motorola had the RAZR. Of course, everyone knows the history. Motorola banked on style over substance, building more and more permutations of the RAZR, while Nokia actually made some cool handsets that people wanted to buy. And now it's showing 85% profit growth. Let it be a lesson, yo.
Houston Businessman Is Key Figure In U.S. Probe of Iraq Food Contracts (WSJ)
The government is now probing Houston businessman Samir Itani for his role in possibly fraudulent food contracts with the military. A quick Google search does not indicate much of a post, at all, between him and the President, but its only a matter of time before some enterprising muckraker makes the link.
The Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal Blown Wide Open (Freakonomics)
Ok, this story has been bubbling around the intarwebs for a little while, but now it's been covered by the Freakonomics guys, so it's actually newsworth for us. Basically, one of the big (though not one of the biggest) poker site, Absolute Poker, suffered a security breach, allowing some players to cheat -- or at least that's what it seems. Unfortunately, this only confirms people's stereotypes about online gambling, though in fact, such allegations have been extremely rare. Anyway, you should read it to check it out what actually happens. Suffice to say, it doesn't help the cause very much.
Illinois Tool Works (ITW) (CrossingWallStreet)
A great first line form Eddy: If you’re new to investing, don’t be afraid of companies that sound boring. We couldn't agree more. Frankly, the Googles and the Apples and their ilk get a little boring, but we've never got bored reading about steel companies or jute manufacturers or even aggregates makers. It's weird though, cause people love real estate, and that stuff seems pretty boring, at least on the surface.
Web 2.0 Summit: Day One News Wrap Up (Tech Trader Daily)
Just in case you missed it, Eric Savitz offers a good roundup of all the hilights from the Web 2.0 Summit (how official sounding, no?) yesterday. He also has several posts that go into more detail. But probably no need to read it, cause you there, right?

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