Opening Bell: 2.8.08

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Alcatel-Lucent Posts $3.74 Billion Quarterly Loss (Bloomberg)
Whoa, what year is this? You'd think that Alcatel-Lucent had just made some sort of ridiculous acquisition, and now they're taking a "paper" loss. Of course, $3.74 billion is actually sort of tame compared to some of the writedowns among the big gearmakers back in the day. Shares have fallen 59 percent in the last year.
Coca-Cola buys stake in Honest Teas (Oligopoly Watch)
We didn't realize it before, but Coke has acquired a 49 percent stake in bottled tea maker Honest Teas. It's a small deal, though as Oligopoly Watch points out, it continues the trend of moving away from the carbonated drinks business. That part is smart: soda is a loser, long term, when people get their heads on straight. But so are weakly flavored, partly-sweetened teas. Seriously. If you want a good tea, then get that Japanese iced green tea from Ito En. Coke should buy them out. Everything else is pretty foul.
Creators of Credit Crisis Revel in Las Vegas (NYT)
Shocking. Despite the fact that the world of credit derivatives are in turmoil and banks have lost billions by skinny dipping in that pond, market practitioners have the temerity to meet in Vegas. They even arrive in, oh my, private jets. So while people are being foreclosed on, and shareholders have been flummoxed, they're still partying it up at the venetian. And some are even looking for ways to profit from the current mess.
The $72 Billion Social-Climber (Weekly Standard) (via CrossingWallStreet)
A good take on the implications for French culture of the Kerveil mess. It's not totally new ground. There's been a lot of brain picking about the guy, as well as discussion of his background and the fact that he "shouldn't have been there" in the first place. But still a worthy Friday read.


Congress delays first hearing on Microsoft's Yahoo bid (Mercury News)
Maybe calling hearings on Microsoft's bid for Yahoo, well before there was even an official yes or no was a little hasty. Granted, Microsoft's bidding for Yahoo might almost be as important as, say, whether or not the NFL improperly destroyed evidence in the Pats' cheating scandal. Obviously the latter is the greater threat. Anyway, "scheduling problems" got int he way, so the hearing has been postponed indefinitely. Apparently they hadn't even drawn up a witness list. No doubt some fool thought it would be okay to call Jerry Yang to the stand.
China May Invest in J.C. Flowers Fund (WSJ)
Word is that China is set to invest in a new fund from JC Flowers. It's just $3-$4 billion, so not really all that much, but probably a good idea to spread their money with different managers. Also interesting that they're hanging out in the private equity scene again. DIdn't we hear somewhere that Schwarzman is now the most hated man among the peasants in the mainland, cause of his dealings there and the money he's lost? Or was that just something we dreamed?
Mounting Inflation Concerns Weigh on the Fed's Next Move (WSJ)
Amazingly, pumping more cash into the economy hasn't made inflation issues go away. One thing we just realized: they've taken the phrase "considerable period" out of fed statements, haven't they?

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