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Opening Bell: 1.7.08

McDonald's Takes On A Weakened Starbucks (WSJ)
McDonald's has designs on competing with Starbucks, by opening up coffee bars in many of its stores, according to documents obtained by WSJ. One word: awesome. It reminds us a little of Wal-Mart installing sushi bars in their stores (or at least the one in Plano, TX). In addition to coffee, it also plans to sell smoothies and other bottled beverages. But obviously to compete with Starbucks it needs more than just competing products. It needs ambiance. It needs its own CDs. It needs to partner with a computer company. And it needs gift cards. But really, it needs to sponsor an album, perhaps something from Ringo Starr.
Oil $200 Options Rise 10-Fold in Bet on Higher Crude (Bloomberg)
Sweet (crude)! The first media reference we've seen to $200 oil. Bring it on. It's only a double from here. Certainly doable. Apparently investors are piling onto a bet that oil will reach the double century mark. The number of contracts allowing the person to buy oil at $200 has grown 10-fold in the last year and the value of said contracts is up 36 percent since early December. Still, most analysts say there's "no chance" of $200 oil. Though they might've been the same ones that were saying the wheels of the US economy would fall off in the event of $100 oil. Well maybe that's true.
Stores for the Obama generation (Ideoblog)
Larry Ribstein is hilarious. As in, laugh out loud hilarious. Here's what he had to say about a trip to fro-yo joint Red Mango, which basically sounds like another Pinkberry clone:" A small has zero fat and 90 calories. There are many toppings – I had banana and granola. The result was tasty, refreshing and satisfying, and completely guilt-free. By the time we left, I was actually about five years younger, and ready to run a marathon and vote Democratic." Also, Eks, on Driggs in Williamsburg is sorta doing the same thing. Recommended if you ever find yourself in need of a frozen delicacy while lolling about McCarren park (though why would you be?). And just to think, a few years ago, we were all talking about Beard Poppa. How times change.
Investors Said to Seek a Takeover of CNet (NYT)
Web 1.0 media firm CNET may be pushed into a takeover. Reportedly, a group of investors -- led by Jana Securities -- has amassed a 21 percent stake in the company, and is agitatin' for a sale. Word is that the company has rejected the advances, but that could just be the beginning of a broader fight.

Hong Kong Stock Index Falls 2.5 Percent (AP)
Ah, this again. The back and forth overseas, morning-to-night volley of declining markets. We go down, then they go down, then we down cause they went down, and they go down cause we went down cause they went down cause we did (that makes sense). It never seems to go in the reverse that cleanly. Or maybe it does, but we don't notice it. Or maybe the whole back and forth thing is total nonsense, but there are times when it appears to fit a pattern. That's possible.
Wikia Search Launches With Google in Its Sights (
We're huge Wikipedia fans and the guy, Jimmy Wales, is a hardcore capitalist, so that's cool. Still, the planned search engine from his for-profit project, Wikia, is probably going to have a hard time scaling the Google wall. Actually, a really hard time. Officially, today is the day it goes from vaporware to realware. Best of luck.
Credit Suisse Shares Fall on Report Of Writedowns (AP)
Get this, apparently Credit Suisse faces writedowns at its commercial mortgage and leveraged finance businesses. Some surprising stuff there. In Zurich trading, the stock fell 3 percent after a newspaper reported on the pending announcement. Heretofore, the bank has said its exposure to this stuff has been manageable.
McCain's Lost Weekend (Time)
Will that private equity guy be the comeback kid? We, like everyone else, assumed that Mitt Romney's chance of winning the presidency was toast post-Iowa. But word is he had a very good weekend and MCain had a bad one. So we go to the Intrade, where, well... McCain is still dominating. We'll see what happens today.
CNN's Lou Dobbs for President? He Says No, Sort of (WSJ)
Speaking of politics... please yes.