Opening Bell: 1.8.08

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Starbucks, Threatened by McDonald's, Brings Back Schultz as CEO (Bloomberg)
So yesterday morning brought the news that McDonald's would invade Starbucks' turf. And then yesterday evening it came out than the old CEO would come back as the new CEO. But it probably wasn't a causal thing. Howard Schulz didn't wake up, read the WSJ, call the board and say, "yo, I want my job back. Gotta defend against the golden arches." Probably didn't happen that way. We're guessing the wheels were in motion on this for at least a few days. Then again, maybe not. The McDonald's thing could've been the straw.
Gold Rises to Record in London, New York, on Crude Oil, Dollar (Bloomberg)
The most common headline of the last year.
Krispy Kreme CEO resigns, chairman named to post (Reuters)
The CEO of Krispy Kreme -- the company that has an a product as addictive to crack, but can't figure out how to make any money off of it, which is utterly ridiculous if you think about it -- is stepping down for "personal reasons". We'd sure love to know what those personal reasons are. We doubt it's to spend more time with his family and his luxury goods. It probably has something more to doth, oh, the weak performance of Krispy Kreme over the last several years, which if you think about it, is the most intensely personal reason there could be.
Cayne to Step Down As Bear Stearns CEO (WSJ)
It'll be a sad day... but at least as of right now, there's nothing official.


2008 Pres. Primaries (Intrade)
Granite State baby! Live Free or Die. Today's the day. Barack Obama, his contracts are trading at $.935 on the dollar meaning there's very little to gain by picking him. Sort of like picking up pennies in front of a steamroller at this point. On the other side, McCain is at $.825, despite the fact that all of the punditerati jumped back on the Romney is surging bandwagon over the last 72 hours. Either Intrade didn't pick it up or it didn't believe it.
Is Even-Higher Definition Next Big Thing for TVs? (WSJ)
We've got a 46" HDTV at home, but to be honest, we're pretty bored of it after about a year. It's just so... normal. We felt this way after about six months. So we sort of wish we were at CES, where the main innovation this year seems to be bigger, thinner sharper. It's pretty much a pure arms race at this point. Most consumers probably don't need a credit-card thin 150" TV, but if your competitor has made a two credit-cards thin 144" TV, well then, there's only one way to do it, isn't there?
Strikebound, the Globes Scale Back (NYT)
It sounds like the spirit of Samuel Gompers has pretty much killed the Golden Globes, which is fine. They're not totally dispensing with the show. Awards will be given out at a very very elegant, red carpet press conference, as opposed to a fancy dinner. It's always weird. The Golden Globes are supposed to be the foreign press, yet there's never anything foreign about it. You'd think they'd at least get a dude with a British accent to host each year, but nope.
Tata Motor's $2,500 car to put India on global autos map (Reuters)
India's Tata is out with a much-talked-about $2500 car dubbed The People's Car. Assuming it basically runs alright, that's cheap. But there's catch. It apparently wouldn't stand a snowball's chance of coming to market here due to its environmental unfriendliness. We'd be all for it. Yeah, some emission-spewing clunkers on the road may have its drawbacks, but they'd be hella cheap clunkers. And they'd be Indian, which would be cool. The good news is that a host of other automakers are now getting into the ultra-cheap game. What would be nice is if cars got sort of disposable. Like you could drive one out at night, but if you were drunk or couldn't remember where you parked, you just just screw it and leave it and pick up another one some other time.
Strong fourth quarter rescues (Canadian) IPOs (Globe & Mail)
Despite the strong Loonie and a couple of other things that Canada's got going for it, it was a pretty weak year in terms of IPOs. A big factor was the change in regulations regarding energy income trusts, which had been untaxed for awhile. So there were a lot fewer of those this year. Canada's great and all -- or at least currency traders have been favorable to it -- but it really is a cold place with a lot of miserable people out in the middle of nowhere doing unpleasant jobs. Strip away the royalty trusts and what's there?

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