Opening Bell: 2.20.08

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Delta-Northwest deal may be at risk (AP)
If there's one thing we know about the working if airlines and their unions, it's that seniority is a very big deal. So big that it makes merging airlines tough, because nobody wants another 1000 pilots jumping ahead of them in the seniority queue. More senior pilots get first dibs on the routes they fly, while the less senior ones fly the redeye from Gary, IN to Iceland. So yeah, that big Delta-Northwest deal, which was supposed to be announced any minute now: hung up, due to pilot seniority issues -- at least according to the AP.
2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee (Intrade)
We said yesterday that the markets were predicting solid wins for Obama and indeed they were right. In the case of Wisconsin, probably more solid than anyone thought. With the big margin of victory, he's now trading at around $.80/dollar, basically his all-time highs. Even in Texas he's up big now. Meanwhile, here's a discussion on Intrade and carry.
H-P Posts 38% Quarterly Profit Gain (WSJ)
Admittedly, we totally thought HP was dead five years ago, just like everyone else did. And when it showed a little life post-Carly we thought that was just a fluke, and sort of a shame for her that the timing worked out as it did. But the company continues to perform solidly, as its earnings rose 38 percent in the latest quarter, on 13 percent revenue growth. It does see PC growth slowing, however, and it also had some "words" about the US consumer, which weren't ideal. But, hard to really blame any of that on the company.
Supply Fears Push Oil to Triple Digits (NYT)
Maybe that's why the airline merger isn't going through -- they're freaking out about oil again. Just a week ago, there was all this talk about the end of expensive oil, and how it was finally on a sustainable downward drift. And then it hits $100 again, on the ever popular "supply fears".


Ending Tradition, NBC Dismisses Fall Debuts (NYT)
This makes sense: NBC is going to a year-round primetime programming schedule, so there'll be new shows during all parts of the year, not just Fall. The traditional model seemed pretty useless, and increasingly irrelevent in an age of DVRs, Netflix and premium cable TV shows which are often better than what's on broadcast.
Wichita, Kansas City spar over which has lower fares (Today in the Sky)
Seriously.
BNP Paribas Profit Declines 42%, Hurt by Writedowns (Bloomberg)
BNP Paribas, which was involved in some scandal or another last summer, or maybe it was a fund freezing or a run on the bank, said its profits fell 42 percent y-o-y to $1.01 billion EUR. The reason: of course, subprime stuff. The result, if nothing else, is at least in line with their previous guidance.

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