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Opening Bell: 10.24.07

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Could Calif. fires draw a line under housing crash?
So this has to be one of the more ludicrous things we've ever read in our entire lives. The fire could staunch the housing bust, is the point here, which obviously doesn't make any sense. Check out this line: So in Southern California, one of the hardest hit housing markets in the country, the temporary reduction of available supply may not be enough to turn things around completely, but it could at least act as a brake on the housing crash. Here's a nice book recommendation for ya -- Economics in One Lesson. The very first chapter is on the 'broken window fallacy''; reading it would spare anyone from writing articles such as this.
Cablevision Vote May Be Close (New York Post)
We might learn Cablevision's fate today, or maybe tomorrow. But the deal, which just last week had looked sunk, may still have hope. Thing is, if shareholders vote against the Dolan's taking it private, then they're just giving money away, at least in the short term. Granted, some may feel that there is more long term value there, but over the long term there's also uncertainty and opportunity cost. So maybe they'll just say eff it and vote for it.
Countrywide's New Scare (WSJ)
And another class of mortgages is said to be on the fritz now. Option ARMs, which are like ARMs, but offer more flexible payment terms, are increasingly causing trouble. An analysis done by UBS indicates that 3.5 percent of them are now at least 60 days past due. And since Countrywide, not surprisingly, has been a leader in selling these, it's just another pile it has to claw out of.
Greenback Blues? Not In Techville (GigaOM)
A number of tech companies have reported meaningful currency boosts, showing that there is an upside to the declining Dollar. Amazon's report yesterday indicated that the weak buck helped push revenue up by $75 million. Ah, but the company can't really benefit, cause investors can see right through it. Sure they beat the number, but it was like they cheated, or rather sold out, profiting from the broader economic concerns.

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Oil falls near $85 a barrel (AP)
The price is dropping?! It's not supposed to be dropping... Sell, for God's sake, get in there and sell, sell, sell!!
Nissan considers mass marketing electric cars in 2012 (MarketWatch)
We were just thinking the other day how disappointing it is to be here, on the cusp of 2008, not driving a fuel cell vehicle. It's not that we're enamored with fuel cell technology. From what we've heard, it may not make much energy sense at all. Still, back in 1999/2000, there was tons of hype about fuel cells, as companies like Ballard Power, Plug Power and Fuel Cell Energy surged on a daily basis. They were the Chinese solar stocks of their day. Anyway, they always said that mass commercialization would come 2007-2008ish. Well, here we are... and we're waiting. But ok, Nissan is going to sell an electric car, maybe, in 2012. Shares Decline on Fourth-Quarter Profit Forecast (Bloomberg)
Everyone's talking about how Amazon tanked after hours following its earnings report, which is true. But the stock rose about 10 percent during the day and then fell 10 percent in the evening, so it basically sets the stock back to Monday, which doesn't seem like a big deal. Yesterday's session was totally crazy, anyway, if you look at the charts, so the after hours movement isn't such a big shock. And it's not like the earnings were bad -- you know, it was one of those failures to beat the whisper guidance sort of thing.
Online Faceoff: Microsoft and Google Duke It Our Over Hot Site (New York Post)
So we could get word any day now about Facebook taking in some monster investment from either Google or Microsoft. To be honest, it's not really clear what either company gets from holding a 10 percent stake, though if Facebook is really the next Google, then sure, that could be a good investment. But you've already heard our Facebook spiel.