Opening Bell: 10.26.07

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Baidu profit doubles, but shares slip on forecast (Reuters)
Ruh-roh. Remember a few weeks ago when the market tanked and everyone said it was because Baidu had been downgraded that day? Didn't make much sense, but let's just play hypotheticals for a second. Now the company has actually given a moderate outlook, prompting an after-hours fall in the shares. If a mere downgraded crushed the market, just think of how things are going to play out today. We can only hope that Microsoft's strong earnings prove to be a mitigating factor.
UPDATE: Oracle Tells BEA That $17 A Share Is Its 'only Offer' (Reuters)
So BEA says it won't sell for less than $21 per share and Oracle has countered that it won't offer anything greater than $17. All we can say is that this won't end well for BEA management. With Carl Icahn and Larry Ellison breathing down their necks and the appearance that they're risking a deal, it just looks like a lose-lose situation. This is PeopleSoft 2.0, and we all know how that worked out. Oh, and here's our Fox Business explainer: Although the gap is only $4, it's actually much greater than that cause it's $4 times all of BEA's shares, not just $4.
Vonage settles Verizon's patent suit for $120M (San Jose Mercury News)
Another $120 million flies out Vonage's doors, as the internet phone company settles its suit with Verizon. Here's a theory, the company is doing everything it can to run out of money so it can declare bankruptcy again. Seriously, why prolong the inevitable. They can't be blamed for paying Verizon, because a jury demanded as such. Soon management will be free to go on with their lives, rather than hanging around the sinking ship.
Merrill’s Chief Is Said to Consider a Bid to Merge (NYT)
The Times reports that Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O'neal took it upon himself to talk merger with Wachovia without consulting the board. We love this kind of story (didn't something similar happen with DuPont, except with some low-level guys?). Seeing as hell hath no fury like a director spurned, the move didn't win O'neal any friends with the company and his job could be in jeopardy. No doubt the broader troubles facing the company and its sector have something to do with it. Insiders went so far as to discuss replacements, including John Thain.

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India Seeks to Cool Stock Market With Limits on Foreign Investors (NYT)
It doesn't get nearly as much attention as the Shanghai or Hong Kong markets, but India's stock market is no slouch on the potentially overheating department. Regulators are now trying to put the brakes on, curbing investment from foreigners in a bid to cool things down. It's a lost cause. Either it won't work, or the reforms will cause too big of a disruption. There's no such think as a soft landing after this kind of boom.
Crude Hits $92 on Supply Fears (WSJ)
Not sure how they new it was supply fears, rather than, just, say, fears of a cold winter pushing up natural gas prices, bringing up oil prices. Or maybe it something to do with Kurdistan or Iran. Or couldn't it just be the weak dollar? Anyway, $92 baby.
Flowers unveils Rock management team – as borrowing mounts (FT Alphaville)
Hoping to secure its bid for Northern Rock, JC Flowers has unveiled its presumptive management team. Among the "heavyweights" are Paul Myners, former chairman of M&S, and Richard Pym, former chief executive of Alliance & Leicester. Guess we need to brush up on our British banking personnel a little bit.
JetBlue's profit goes up as growth slows down (Today in the Sky)
Here's one we missed from earlier this week. Our favorite airline is making money again, which we're glad, because as long as it's in the black, it's probably not going anywhere. It did, we read yesterday, leave some locations, which is weak, but if that's what it takes to be profitable, then we can tolerate it. Just as long as it keeps flying to Vegas and Austin.
1980s Parallels? (Big Picture)
The question all week has been about parallels to the late 80s, so here's a list of items for you to chew on over the weekend. One strange thing is that the 80s as a retro pop culture phenomenon seemed to hit its zenith a few years ago, which seriously throws a wrench into our theory that everything starts with economics and then permeates all aspects of our culture, including popular culture. Maybe music and clothing aren't directly related to which business cycles look like other ones.

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