Opening Bell: 5.28.08

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LG, Haier May Bid for GE Appliances Unit, Immelt Says (Bloomberg)
Jeff Immelt says the sale of the appliance biz will be a "long process" and that Haier and LG are both obvious candidates. But he few out a few dark horses as well, such as Controladora Mabe SA and Turkey's Arcelik A.S. We'll admit to not having heard of either of those. It sounds like there were a few more, and he said they were all almost out of the US. That's not surprising. Ultimately, we think we're going to have to go with Haier, given its size, (presumable) financial heft, and interest in getting a known brand in the US market.
D: Gates and Ballmer Post-Game Wrap (TechTraderDaily)
The big news in the tech world is that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer sat down for an interview together at the D conference, which is put on by the Wall Street Journal, which is part of Dow Jones, which owns Barron's, which is where the excellent Eric Savitz blogs about technology. Savitz liveblogged the interview and then sussed out a few key takeaways in this post. On Yahoo (which is what everyone wants to hear about), he says no new ground was really broken, which jibes with what we've read elsewhere.
In Housing, the Strong Turn Weak (NYT)
BTW, did you catch those Case-Schiller numbers yesterday on housing? Yikes. Even Drudge ran a screamer on those for awhile, which is all ya need to know. NYT follows up the data with a fuller exposition. Here's one take from a pro: "'It's like eating beyond your stomach's capacity,' said Ronald J. Peltier, the chief executive of Home Services of America, which owns real estate brokerage firms across the country. 'We have huge indigestion.'" Lovely. Just Lovely. Anyway, if you're looking to buy this might be a good time... though only if you're not too concerned about the potential for more price drops.
Fear, Rumors Touched Off Fatal Run on Bear Stearns (WSJ)
Say what you will about it, we're really enjoying this series on Bear Stearns. Certainly props are due to Kate Kelly. Anyway, here's part II. Favorite line from this one: "Just a few blocks away on East 48th Street, Mr. Dimon, the J.P. Morgan CEO, was celebrating his birthday with his family at the Greek restaurant Avra. The banker, who could be painfully blunt, was annoyed when his cellphone rang. It was reserved only for immediate family and business emergencies. Reluctantly, he picked up."


Indonesia to pull out of Opec (FT)
This is kinda old news, but you know, since Indonesia hasn't really been a net exporter of petrol for awhile, it probably makes sense for them to leave the cartel. Besides, it must be really awkward and obvious at OPEC meetings: every time the subject of increased output comes up, the Indonesia rep starts acting all giddy, bouncing in their seat like a child.
Oil Falls to Lowest in a Week on Concern Prices Hurting Demand (Bloomberg)
True story: We were talking to our Polish landlord last night and he mentioned how quiet it was at his favorite vacation spot in upstate this past weekend. His reasoning: high gas prices keeping everyone at home. And he, of course, totally loved it, and starting chanting "$10, $10, $10" which is what he'd like to see a gallon cost by July 4, or at Labor Day at the latest. Anyway, bad news for him. Crude dipped to its lowest prices in a whole week, and is now around $126. We can't bring ourselves to tell him that the top has been put in. Btw, Barry Ritholtz also spotted some signs of economic weakness during his weekend vacationing.
Japanese cooperation (MarginalRevolution)
Tyler Cowen has been travelling Japan (he might be back now, unclear on that) observing and pondering aspects of the scene over there, as Cowen uniquely can. Anyway, today he offers his take on the much-vaunted Japanese cooperative skills, and whether, perhaps, they're not all they're cracked up to be.
Investors Criticize Société Générale Chief for Losses (Dealbook)
We wondered yesterday if, perhaps, the SocGen shareholder meeting wouldn't end up particularly dramatic. Despite some attempts to make it sound exciting, this version makes it sound like any other shareholder meeting: "I say you are twice guilty," said the representative of one small shareholder association who did not give his name. "You're putting the employee into prison when it was the bosses who should have left," he said to bursts of applause. "And your second failure was to turn our bank into a casino." Yep, sounds pretty typical.

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