Opening Bell: 5.15.08

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G.E. May Sell Appliance Division (NYT)
Pretty soon they're just going to be turbines, medical imaging systems, lending, water desalination plants and lightbulbs. And aircraft leasing. And a bunch of other stuff. But still, what's GE without its iconic appliances business. You know, nothing like a good GE fridge to keep the lettuce crisp. Granted, it's not the hottest business. And consumers gravitate to more tony brands these days. Word is that the company could take in $5 billion for the unit, a nice little pad of butter during this economy.
Barclays Profit Falls After $3.3 Billion Writedown (Bloomberg)
Another writedown to add to the tally. This time it's $3.3 billion from Barclay's -- no surprise that profit fell in the quarter. And this might not be the end of the story: They could do a raise, and there's a sense that we haven't seen the last of the writedowns. Shares dipped a couple percent on the day.
Art: The Last Unburst Bubble (Felix Salmon)
Felix has been all over the latest art auctions -- and it's been really enjoyable reading. This one is no exception. So just check it out.
Ask.com acquires Dictionary.com, other references (AP)
Ask.com, the unit of IAC is adding some good old fashion words and synonyms to its business. The company is buying Lexico, which is the parent of Dictionary.com and Thesauraus.com and some other online reference material. Price was undisclosed, though it had recently tried to sell itself to Answers.com for around $100 million -- that fell through when the publicly traded Answers.com couldn't arrange financing. We're sure there's some witty line to be said about going from Answers.com to Ask.com, but it's too early.


Ask.com acquires Dictionary.com, other references (AP)
Ask.com, the unit of IAC is adding some good old fashion words and synonyms to its business. The company is buying Lexico, which is the parent of Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com and some other online reference material. Price was undisclosed, though it had recently tried to sell itself to Answers.com for around $100 million -- that fell through when the publicly traded Answers.com couldn't arrange financing. We're sure there's some witty line to be said about going from Answers.com to Ask.com, but it's too early.
Edwards Endorses Obama (WSJ)
We're glad to see he waited until the moment whereby his endorsement could have no relevance on the campaign. Obama is now trading at 91.9 on Intrade and, we're almost hesitant to say this, but he's probably undervalued. Seriously, how is there that big of a chance that he doesn't win. Still Edwards endorsement doesn't really affect it either way.
Kudlow & Co. Appearance (5/14/08) (The Big Picture)
We've taken some gentle shots at Barry Ritholtz before, but man, did he outclass'em on Kudlow last night. Going up a panel of, frankly, nutjobs, Barry was cool and logical, while the rest were, well, a bit nutty. The most ridiculous part was when they implied he was a hypocrite for owning stocks, while also thinking stocks might have further to fall. That was the point it was obvious that none of them really managed money before, or really had the slightest clue what he was talking about. At one point, Don Luskin said: "If your FusionIQ (the name of Barry's firm) ever gets to 100, short it." (jerk).
Confirmed: Comcast Bought Plaxo, Deal Closed Today (TechCrunch)
Comcast already has a reputation for being spendthrift, or at least irrationally acquisitive. Up until recently, the cable giant wouldn't pay a dividend (it does now) and remember Disney? Yeah. Well not it's gone ahead and about Plaxo, a social networker site. Get it? No, most people won't. But at least it's not like they're buying Facebook for $15 billion or something on that order. Ultimately, sort of a minor purchase for 'em.

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