‘Seaweed’ Clothing Has None, Tests Show (NYT)
Now this... this is awesome. The Times take a break from reporting on what items have lead in them to report on what items have seaweed in them. Apparently a company called Lululemon, a maker of yoga clothes (duh), states that one of its lines is made from 24 percent seaweed fiber. Easy enough to test, right? So the Times did and found zilch. The best is the response from the CEO: “If you actually put it on and wear it, it is different from cotton,” said Dennis Wilson, Lululemon’s founder, chief product designer and board chairman. “That’s my only test of it,” said Mr. Wilson, known as Chip. Another interesting angle here is that the Times said it did the test after an investor who is short Lululemon's stock told the Times about the issue. Shades of Mark Cuban ShareSleuth, eh? We wonder what Gary Weiss will have to say. We'll see if it has any effect on the stock.
Chinese Prices Surge Again, Despite New Controls (NYT)
Imagine that. Price controls in China aren't working. Just pork prices are up 17 percent year-on-year. And just to get a sense of how price sensitive the Chinese population is, the article notes that a cooking oil sale at a Carrefour store recently caused a stampede that lead to three deaths. Crazy.
Oil Falls to $91 As Data Suggest Demand Shift (WSJ)
We came close, but didn't quite hit the magic $100 mark, and now the price of oil is taking a little bit of a breather. The IEA has lowered its global growth outlook (always good news) and the price of crude dropped towards $91. Apparently, a lot of traders had bets that prices would hit $100, only exacerbating recent selling. Really, the silly thing is that we and those traders are so fascinated by triple digits it affects our coverage and their trading. Still, it is pretty wild.
Holiday Sales, Sure -- But Don't Expect Steals (WSJ)
This same article gets reprinted every year. The retail industry always does a masterful job of PR, trying to claim that this will be the year prices will hold steady and that shoppers should expect to pay full price. Anyway, how do we know this is all PR. How about this quote from a retail industry trade group VP: "We don't anticipate a lot of unplanned markdowns." Well there you have it. In other words, don't go thinking you can give gifts on Dec. 27th and don't shop around. Just drive to the mall, buy what you're going to buy, and don't waste your time comparing prices.
ArcelorMittal profit climbs 36%, tops forecasts (MarketWatch)
You can have your Wal-Mart earnings, we'll take us some ArcelorMittal. Sure, it's not going to cause* the market to rally, but it let's us know that all is right with the world. The Luxemborg-based firm grew profits by 36 percent, through a good old fashioned combo of higher prices and lower costs (no mark-to-model tricks here). And besides, nobody can argue with the dashingness of Lakshmi MIttal. *You know are usual disclaimers about things causing other things to happen.
Google 'disappointed' by EU launch of in-depth review of DoubleClick (AFX)
Bad news for the Googster yesterday, as EU regulators declared their intent to open an expanded probe into the company's acquisition of DoubleClick. We still don't know what the EU will decide, but it's clear that Google is the new Microsoft. Well, that's been clear for awhioe, but now the evidence is really piling up. While antitrust authorities in the US haven't had a problem yet, it's bound to change. And Eric Schmidt & Co. (but especially Eric Schmidt, because he's made a lot of hay out of it), may regret all of their calls to investigate Old Softy.
Few Friends for Proposal on Media (NYT)
Apparently, the FCC's proposal to relax media ownership represented some middleground that nobody is happy with -- not activists or businesses. Here's the thing, does anyone out there really think that the media is becoming ever-more concentrated and that a company owning a broadcast station and a local paper poses some threat to democracy? Get real.
Amaranth Sues JPMorgan for Disrupting Goldman, Citadel Deals (Bloomberg)
Amaranth (or what remains of it), the failed energy trading hedge fund, has filed suit against JPMorgan for.... something. It seems a little convoluted. Apparently after their trades started to fail, they handed over the control of some operations to JPMorgan, but they now think they could've gotten a better deal from another bank, but that JPMorgan interfered. This story may get better coverage from the daytime team, which operates on more sleep.