Opening Bell: 2.26.08

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Home Depot Is Hurt By Weak Housing Market (WSJ)
A rough quarter for Home Depot, as net income fell by 27 percent in the face of a weak housing market. Sort of takes the wind out of the bull argument, that when people aren't spending their money on buying new homes, they're spending their money on renovation, so Home Depot wins either way. Admission: we haven't actually heard anyone say that specifically, as far as we can recall. The release is here, with more discussion on outlook.
Jury Convicts Five of Fraud In Gen Re, AIG Case (WSJ)
In case you missed it yesterday, the gov't won five convictions in the multi-year case relating to General RE and AIG over fraudulent transactions. When the allegations first came to light, even Warren Buffett's sterling superb reputation took some knocks in the media, and Hank Greenberg, who didn't have any media love to begin with was totally trashed. He was an unindited co-conspirator in the case. Ominously, prosecutors say they plan to work up the latter. A couple of the execs face prison sentences of up to 230 years. Makes Jeff Skilling's sentence seem pretty light, eh?
Food maker CEOs face House grilling (CNN)
We love the subtle pun in the headline, especially because this story has to do with the heads of companies involved in tainted beef. Anyway, we're sure this hearing will get at least as much attention as the steroids one did.
Pfizer to End Lipitor Ads by Jarvik (NYT)
Apparently the creator of the Jarvik artificial heart didn't have the chops to talk about heart-related matters on TV. After drawing fire for the ads, Pfizer has pulled the contested Lipitor ads featuring Robert Jarvik off the air. There's lots that seems ridiculous to us about this one, but this may be the most ridiculous: "One television ad depicted Dr. Jarvik as an accomplished rower gliding across a mountain lake, but the ad used a body double for the doctor, who apparently does not row." Yes, that's apparently a slice of the scandal. So before you get on Lipitor for your cholesterol, be mindful of the fact that DR. JARVIK DOESN'T ROW! IT'S A BODY DOUBLE!


Novell Buys Virtualization Firm PlateSpin (Dealbook)
For $205 million... just think how much it would've been back last summer during the VMWare second coming.
Sarkozy attacks SocGen boss Bouton (Reuters)
We might be getting our Sarkozy stories mixed up, but apparently the French President was in a crowded room and put his hand on Bouton's shoulder who turned around and lashed out at Sarkozy, prompting Sarkozy to call the guy a jerk. Or maybe this has something more to do with Jerome Kerviel. Something is getting lost in the translation. You can figure it out for yourself.
EA's Dead Space Dismembers the Competition This Halloween
It's not quite as big news as launching a takeover bid for TakeTwo, but yes, EA's new game Dead Space will dismember the competition this Halloween.
Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2007 Results
Make of it what you will.

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