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Opening Bell:12.21.07

Merrill May Get Capital Infusion (WSJ)
It's become so hard to keep up with these writedowns and capital infusions. If you'd asked us yesterday whether Merill had already taken a big, multi-billion capital infusion we might've said yes. But apparently they're in talks to take one and apparently this is news, because it's the top story at the Journal this morning -- hence the top billing here. Nothing officialy, but probably somewhere on the order of $5 billion from the Singapore government-owned fund Temasek.
Philips to Buy Respironics of U.S. for 5.1 Billion (Bloomberg)
How many more of the EU takes over US company deals are we going to see? Probably lots until the currencies regain some semblence of parity. The latest: Philips acquiring med equipment maker Respironics for $5.1 billion, aka chump change -- the price of a latte in Moscow. Anyway, with all this cash coming into the US, time to build out our own sovereign wealth fund.
China unveils first locally developed regional jet (Reuters)
Interesting, the first China-made regional jet has been unveiled. At some point, China will be competitive in aerospace, but if we had to guess it'll take awhile longer. No need, just yet, for Airbus and Boeing to get too scared. But they can't rely on their laurels too much. Between wiring problems and bolt issues, there's obviously room for improvement. Anyway, the Chinese plane is named "Xiang Feng" or "Flying Phoenix". Btw, before we get the plane, how about the $5000 Chinese car we were promised (hello, Chery QQ).
Sweet Debut For NetSuite (Forbes)
A small step for NetSuite, a giant step for Dutch Auctions or something like that. After routinely dissapointing investors and participating companies, the theoretically sound Dutch Auction turned in a good performance, with the successful IPO of on-demand ERP maker NetSuite. Not only did the deal price high, there was even a good pop in first day trading. Still seems a bit odd though that there was such a pop, given that the market set the IPO price. perhaps there's a participation barrier. People still aren't comfortable buying via auction, so they wait until its on the market before placing their orders.

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Chrysler Faces Financial Pinch, Sees Asset Sales (WSJ)
So word is that Chrysler is not doing well at all. This isn't exactly new. We'd seen Chrysler pop up on a couple year-end "worst lists" pertaining to business, but the Journal delves into things a little more. Long story short: bad performance and dwindling cash. If only the private equity business really were based on magic.
Refocusing, Campbell Sells Godiva (NYT)
Soupmaker Campbell is shipping its chocolate unit, Godiva, overseas, selling it to the Turks for $850 million. The company had sales of $500 million last year, though we can't imagine that margins on chocolate are all that high -- even quasi-premium chocolate. But don't worry. It will still produce that delicious aroma in certain parts of San Francisco, and you'll still be able to eat it and buy it with American dollars. Of course, chocolate is bad for you, so might not eat it, but if you felt so compelled, at least rest assured that you could. Perhaps this is the reason that they're selling, a federal investigation into the chocolate industry. For more DB choco-blogging, see Carney's piece on the chocolate wars.
Stewart, Colbert to return to air in January (LA Times)
As we see it, if you're a pro comedian, and you're basically doing a show full of newsreporting, pithy quips and interviews, then you shouldn't need pro writers. Proof: Bill O'reilly. You never saw him take a break because of the strike. That's cause he doesn't need WGA writers to be hilarious.
Do Traders Read About Economics? (or the Poetry of Alexander Pope?) (Usable Markets)
Alex Kirtland takes a look at whether pro Wall St. traders have been guilty of a cardinal rookie mistake: loss aversion. Staying in positions too long, just because they're not willing to sell for a loss.