Opening Bell: 11.12.07

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Banks to Share Platform for 144a Trades (WSJ)
Turns out, having a dozen different fragmented markets all pursuing the same goal didn't make much sense. So, after a long time of hyping up their own private 144a exchanges, several major Wall Street Banks are joining hands in a spirit of fellowship to trade under an exchange run by the NASDAQ. The new trading system, NASDAQ's Portal market, comes after two months of negotiations, and is expected to be active early next year.
NYMEX Buys 15 Percent Stake in IMAREX (AP)
The NYMEX has purchased a 15 percent stake in Norwegian derivatives exchange IMAREX for a price tag of about $52 million. IMAREX specializes in energy-related assets, such as electrical power, carbon dioxide and tanker shipping. But the real crown jewel is its vibrant seafood derivatives trading. Yes, seafood. So, like, fishgut trading. This is obviously what NYMEX is licking its chops over -- don't be surprised if others seek out a cut for themselves as well.
China's trade surplus hits record monthly high
Not quite the mirror image of the US trade deficit, but still related, China's trade surplus hit a record high of $27 billion in October. Perhaps that has more to do with European trade though, seeing as our weak dollar was, if nothing else, supposed to be mitigating this. The Chinese government insists that it's not trying to run these massive surpluses... it can't help it if it's the cheapest exporter around.
Disney to enter Japan cellphone market in spring (Reuters)
Because that worked so well here... Disney is going to launch its own family-oriented cellphone service in Japan. Of course, it didn't work well at here, either as a Disney-branded or as an ESPN-branded plan. Not sure why Japan will be different, but, it is a different market.

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Hong Kong Index Tumbles 3.9 Percent (AP)
Well, no luck on the weekend snapping the global economy out of its cycle. After a very rough finish to the week over here, the Hong Kong market kicked things off with a 3.9 percent decline. The recently IPO'd Alibaba.com is already off 25 percent since it's debut. HSBC fell 2.7 percent.
A Heart Stent Gets a Reprieve From Doctors (NYT)
We're always interested in the goings on of the highly-volatile stent market, which seems to get rocked by some news recall on a nearly daily basis. It's already been a rough year for the stent makers, as they've watched sales plummet on safety fears and doctor concern... but maybe it's all be overdone. Though there's still plenty of questions, and stent recalls aren't going anywhere, new research is starting to put things in a better light. Maybe they're not really so bad after all. Still, plenty of doctors and patients are still skeptical, so it may take a while for the industry to build itself back up. Meanwhile, amidst a lull in bad stent news, here's some scary stuff about implanted defibrillators poking holes in people's hearts.
'Bee Movie' Tops Box Office With $26 Million Over Weekend (WSJ)
Well, it turns out that if you flog something heavy enough, or you have Denzel Washington in it, you can still get people out to the theaters. We were actually at the Union Square theater this weekend and it was something of a madhouse. A bit overdone actually (sort of like the glowing reviews about American Gangster). So yeah, important lesson. Advertise like hell, get a few big stars together and make something that appeals to kids/diverse audiences and you might be able to pry people off their couch, even on a chilly day.
How Sick the Dollar? (Big Picture)
Great point from Barry Ritholts: The false conceit of the article was summed up in the sub-heading: "Bush Administration Prefers to Let Markets Operate, And Cures Open to Fed and Treasury Are Limited." This of course, is nonsense. "This government, like many of the ones that preceded it, only like Free Markets for the upside of the cycle. When the cycle turns and things get dicey (as always happens), they become interventionists, interfering with the Free Markets to avoid the real and necessary pain the Free Markets regularly metes out." How true. The fact that our public officials give so much lip service to the strong dollar, while pursuing policies that can only make the dollar weaker is rather telling, belying any suggestion that their only interest is in letting the market run its course.

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