Opening Bell: 5.14.08

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Clear Channel, Banks, Lenders Agree On Deal
So in the end they got the deal done, as the funding banks probably realized that they couldn't just step away from their obligations, just because they didn't like the economics any more. They did agree to lower the price, so that'll save a couple people their jobs, but it's still a big 'ol pile of debt that should be very fun to move.
Icahn Enters Yahoo Fray (WSJ)
So Carl Icahn is expected to decide today whether he wants to wade into this Yahoo mess. Well he better decie today, as tomorrow is the deadline to file a slate of candidates to the company's board. It's hard to imagine that the guy has purchased 50 million shares at a value of around 1 billion and doesn't have a clear idea of what he wants to do, so all these media reports that say he's "deciding" seem a little naive, but whatever. It probably comes down to what assurances he can get from Microsoft, that they're still willing to buy Yahoo. Indications so far are that they've moved on, but maybe at the right price, who knows.
H-P Takes Aim at IBM (WSJ)
So HP has gone done made another monster purchase, but unlike Compaq, which was a double-down on its core business, this is about diluting its core business. The name of the game right now in corporate IT: get big and bland. If you're really diversified, with a million product lines, in 150 countries (so basically currency neutral) and have a nice spread of consumer and corporate products, you don't have too much to worry about. Yeah, you'll never be Apple, even if Jay-Z starts touting EDS services on his tours. But only Apple is Apple so might as well move into the other direction. On the other hand, we do like the Jay-Z/EDS synergies.
Congress Votes to Stop Stockpiling Oil (NYT)
The whole Stategic Petroleum Reserve things seems like much ado over nothing to us, at least in the sense that whether we add or subtract from it, it's unlikely to affect the price of oil much. That being said, it probably makes some sense for the government to stop buying for it at $125/barrel. But if the government kept adding to it, it wouldn't bother us too much.
A Second Night for Comedy at CBS (NYT)
Wait, are there still sitcoms?


Clinton's Wide Margin in West Virginia Won't Cut Obama's Lead (Bloomberg)
The Clinton team never even bothered to lower expectations on this one, nor did team Obama ever try to raise them. Some jerks in the media were even talking an 80-20 victory, so yeah, this pretty much changes nothing.
Markets: As Good With Elections As They Are With The Economy (Big Picture)
Blog fight!! Barry Ritholtz points to a WSJ article about the failure of betting markets to accurately "predict" the outcome of political elections. And since Barry has been a long time critic of the betting markets, it's right up his ally. But Eddie at CrossingWallStreet has a different take, and it's one he's repeated before: that these aren't prediction markets, they're odds-setting markets. Their goal isn't to be right, it's to make a market. Here's our question for Barry: If you think they're so messed up and inaccurate, are you betting on them to take advantage of how inaccurate they are?
Home court advantage in basketball (MarginalRevolution)
We've often wondered what the deal is with home-court advantage. No seriously, what's the deal with home court advantage? Why do teams play worse on the road. Here are some theories being bandied about. The last one is interesting.
U.S. stock futures flat as Greenspan predicts bottom (MarketWatch)
We find it very hard to believe that markets are actually flat because Greenspan is predicting a housing bototm. Does anyone care what Greenspan's views are on housing? AND if he had any actual insight into the matter, wouldn't he keep it quiet and feed it to the private companies that pay his salary? Sort of a good test on whether someone has anything worthwhile to add. If they're saying it in public: probably not.

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