Opening Bell: 2.14.08

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UBS Falls to 4-Year Low as Subprime Markdowns Cause Record Loss (Bloomberg)
So was this this kitchen sink quarter at UBS? The bank booked a $13.7 billion subprime writedown and a $11.3 billion total loss, whihc, to use and old and hackneyed joke, means they would have made $2.4 billion, ex-the write down. Not bad, not bad at all. How many major banks can say they made $2.4 billion this past quarter? Eh?
U.S. stock futures lean higher before Bernanke (MarketWatch)
Another up day for the market? We're starting to put together a streak here. The bull is back. The again, Big Ben is set to speak today. What, exactly, could he say that would make the markets happy? It'll be funny comparing the questions he gets to the questions that Clemens got yesterday. Our guess is that the politicians questioning clemens did a lot more homework before the event. Just a guess.
The Opening Bell (CJR)
Click on the link above. No, it won't take you down some recursive hell hole that traps your browser between two dimensions forcing you to call your IT guy. Just thought you should check a new morning roundup of the business news from CJR. It's written by Ryan Chittum, a "crusty-yet-youthful financial journalism veteran." Anyway, love the title.
The DOJ loses another Enron criminal case (Houston's Clear Thinkers)
The government has lost another appeal in the Enron case, this time having to do with the old chief of Enron Broadband. If you followed this story in the mainstream media (MSM, does anyone still say that anymore?), you'd know that the government has not been doing so well in recent decisions. Just kidding. That story died a long time ago.


Yahoo seen in News Corp talks but analysts dubious (Reuters)
The general thinking is that it's only a matter of time before Microsoft and Yahoo hammer out a deal. But in the meantime, Yahoo is said to be talking with News Corp. about some alternative plan. Analysts are skeptical and so are we. Something about some private equity money, a swap for MySpace and probably some other engineering while they're at it. No doubt, shareholders will go gaga over whatever crazy structure they can come up with. We read someone speculating that it's all a ruse on News Corp.'s part to get a look at Yahoo's internal books. Now that makes sense.
Comcast Drops Payout Plan For Founder Amid Criticism (WSJ)
Comcast founder Ralph Roberts is joining a very elite and hip crowd of business executives. What's the club? He's collecting a salary of just $1. Just like the Apple guy and, perhaps, some of the Google ones?
Real Retail Sales Fall to 2003 Levels (The Big Picture)
Barry does an excellent job of looking behind the numbers: this time it's retail sales data that needs fisking.
Developing Countries Grew More Biotech Crops in ’07 (AP)
We're as bullish on food as the next guy. Well, maybe. Either way, supposedly, for the first time, developing countries are growing more biotech crops than their industrialized brethren. We're not really sure what that means. Is that a good sign or a bad sign? We think it's probably good, you know, technology spread and all.
He May Not Win Grammy, but He's Big in Walgreens (WSJ)
And because it's Valentine's day and because you've read all the way to the bottom.... a profile of a guy who sings a song that plays when you open a box of Chocolate foundi in Walgreens.

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