Opening Bell: 5.23.08

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Gap boosts 1Q profit on tight cost management (AP)
Barring some sort of shocking return of cargo pants and ill-fitting jeans, this'll be the only way The Gap actually performs well. Profits at the SF-based retailer actually jumped 40 percent on account of cost controls, though the top-line dipped. The economy didn't help, but we're sure the selection of clothing at the store (where it's always '93: nostalgia for more profitable days, or did they can all the designers after that year?) didn't help either.
Myanmar Says It Is Open to All Aid (WSJ)
Wow, a major step for the Myanmar government, which is practically flinging its doors open to the outside world, allowing any and all aid workers to come in and assist the cyclone-stricken nation. Hard to say what prompted this bout of radical neoliberalism (weeks after the original disaster struck), but it's obviously a radical step.
http://quote.yahoo.com/
Hey, what the hell is the deal here? We've been getting error messages for two days whenever we jump over to quote.yahoo.com, which always used to work in the past. Sure, we can go to finance.yahoo.com and get the same thing, but when you're used to typing something in, then you're used to typing it in. Any ideas? And is anyone else getting the same error?
Beat Cops (WSJ)
Perhaps you heard: The Wall St. Journal officially said yesterday that it would leave Wall St. for greener pastures uptown. Some critics will lazily call this symbolic. Too cheap. Anyway, how can you say the paper is straying from what made it great. Awesome article on how a lot of up and coming ultimate fighters are cops. One of them even defeated Kimbo Slice.
Citi's Weill admits flaw in 2003 succession (FT)
Ex-Citi CEO Sandy Weill says it was a mistake not to hold a tournament among his possible replacement, saying it was wrong to have just handed the job over to Chuck Prince. And in other news, Weill still believes in the company's "universal banking model". So just to get things clear: Building up Citi's business model isn't the problem: it all just goes back to how they chose the successor (and presumably who they chose, though he didn't specifically say that in this interview).


Beat Cops (WSJ)
Perhaps you heard: The Wall St. Journal officially said yesterday that it would leave Wall St. for greener pastures uptown. Some critics will lazily call this symbolic. Too cheap. Anyway, how can you say the paper is straying from what made it great. Awesome article on how a lot of up and coming ultimate fighters are cops. One of them even defeated Kimbo Slice.
As Market Shifts, Ford Sees Profit Fleeing (NYT)
What year is this? Apparently some trends in the auto industry are going to take a hit on Ford's bottom line. Or something like that.
Pfizer Hits 10-Year Low (CrossingWallStreet)
As Eddie says, for a long time, it was the stock that could do no wrong. And now it's just the opposite. Click over for a pretty striking chart on how rough the past decade has been at Pfizer.
Municipal Yields Decline to Three-Month Low as `Sanity' Returns (Bloomberg)
So, did you miss your chance to pick up some public debt at a ridiculously fat yield? You probably heard that Warren Buffett picked some up for his Ameritrade account (presumably, he trades through Ameritrade given the Omaha connection). But you probably didn't get much. Sure there were some nice yields, but not a lot of supply at those prices. And now sanity has returned to the market... or is it insanity?! Oh and btw, others who were faster and more ahead of the game than you: Bill Gross of PIMCO. FT notes that the ex-Blackjack player continues to add to his mortgage debt. Ballsy.

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