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Opening Bell: 11.15.07

Delta, United deny merger talks (SF Chronicle)
This again. Seems we go through this song & dance about once every six months or so, when some unattributed report promises that a big aviation merger is imminent. The talk goes on for a few days, while a few analysts talk up all the cost cutting that could be done, and then it goes away. Sure, there have been a couple of deals, usually smaller ones where integration issues wouldn't be so daunting. But it boggles the mind, the idea of merging Delta with United, so we're going to go out on a limb and predict 'no'. But, if it does happen, we promise to do something embarrassing... like dye our hair purple. Notice we said *like* dye our hair purple, which gives us a lot of wiggle room.
Oracle's Ellison says any new bid for BEA would be lower (
If BEA ever comes crawling back to Larry Ellison, they'll have to accept a lower bid, at least according to a speech he gave to analysts on Wednesday. We saw this coming from day one, though to be honest, we think he could be posturing a little. If BEA were to call up Larry right now and say they'll take $17 per share, we bet he'd do it, though maybe not. During his talk, he also promised more deals of varying sizes. Good news for investment bankers... except that Oracle's been doin' it dolo lately.
German Train Strike Halts Passenger, Cargo Service (Bloomberg)
German train workers are striking and we can only assume it's in solidarity with the downtrodden screenwriters and Broadway grips in the US. Meanwhile, there have been talks about the Broadway strike have a negative effect on the economy which has yet to be said about the TV strike. Seriously, you've gotta figure that all of those apres-theatre restaurants are really starting to hurt. God save Ollie's.
Most at NYU say their vote has a price (The Politico)
When asked, several students at NYU said they'd sacrifice their right to vote for a free iPod touch and the majority said they'd give up their right to vote (in the next election) for free college tuition. We'll be the first to say it: these kids are absolutely mental! Their waaaaay overvaluing their vote. If they had an ounce of rationality, they'd give up their vote for a decent dinner, or maybe a book of fast food coupons. The ones who wouldn't give up their vote for a free ride to college have even more explaining to do. Are they high? Probably. It's one friggin' vote in... in New York, where the outcome (at least for the Presidency) is a foregone conclusion. The really silly thing is mostl of these "principled" kids, who wouldn't trade their precious vote for some crass material object, aren't going to vote anyway, because this is not a high voting demographic. Sheesh, time to get off your high horse there.

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Barclays Writes Down $2.7 Billion on U.S. Subprime (Bloomberg)
Just in case you're keeping score, Barclays is the latest to do a subprime writedown. No big deal though, just $2.7 billion. The general consensus seems to be that it could have been worse.
Lululemon Shares Fall After Article (AP)
We were absolutely certain that the New York Times' stinging piece on Lululemon, the Yoga clothing company, was going to crush the company's stock. After all, an overpriced apparel company that appeals to the yoga crowd, is nothing more than its brand. And when the brand is exposed to be lying to customers, that's pretty bad. But after an initial dip, shares recovered everything. Amazing. Maybe people just don't care.
The wine juggernaut (Oligopoly Watch)
Oligopoly Watch does its analysis of the big wine buyout this week, when Constellation Brands bought out the fermented grape juice business of Fortune Brands. Following the deal, Constellation will have 20 percent US market share and 5 percent globally... probably not enough to set off the great big Herfindahl Index alarm that they have set up at the FTC and the DOJ.
Retail Sales Slip, Signaling Cutback in Holiday Spending (NYT)
Apparently the NYT didn't get the news. This is going to be a strong retail season, with few unplanned price cuts.