Opening Bell: 5.7.08

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Some See Oil At $150 a Barrel This Year (WSJ)
Lots of chatter lately about the next leg of the supersurge in oil. A Goldman guy came out with a call for $200, which would mean a mere doubling from here. Others see $150 comfortably in sights, though that would hardly be a move at all at this point. Nobody subscribes to it really, but we're still kind of partial to the idea that the higher the price of oil the better for the economy. Sure it's rough, but man, when oil goes back down to $35, we are going to be humming.
2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee (Intrade)
You know the media expectations game. There were actually some polls that had Barack Obama winning Indiana. But, he so consistently collapsed on primary day that small poll leads for him usually translated into significant, 10-point losses. SO when that didn't happen, and instead lost by just 2 percent, in a race that went deep into the night, the media called him the victor. Russert called him the nominee and he ticked up about 8 points on Intrade to around $.88 on the dollar.
Sprint and Clearwire to Combine WiMAX Businesses, Creating a New Mobile Broadband Company
Word of this report had leaked last night, and now it's official ailing Sprint and ailing Clearwire (started by ex-AT&Ter Craig McCaw) will merge their wireless broadband businesses (that offer internet over WiMAX) in hopes that a combined company will alleve both of their collective misery? Beyond that, it's got a number of big cable company investors -- a fresh $3.2 billion -- so yeah, seems like a gigantic industry conglomerate. Perfect.
Countrywide Admits Errors at Senate Hearing (NYT)
Steve Bailey of Countrywide admitted to a Senate panel that certain loan officers at Countrywide have made errors. Yes, it would seem that way wouldn't it.


Brainpower ain't free (Information Processing)
So nerds with unflattering bodies may be some sort of metaphysical constant. Apparently, there's solid evidence that increased brain power often comes at the expense of other physical attributes, but then there's no such thing as a free lunch, right? Not even in evolution. That being said, we still think that for the most part, more intelligent people tend to look better than their less attractive counterparts, so perhaps it's only extreme brain power that starts presenting a problem.
Message to Hillary: We Still Make Stuff (Evolving Excellence)
Watching Hillary "concede" last night, it was striking how dim her view of America is these days. It's as if nobody has a job and the best anyone can hope for is that their kid becomes an accounts receivable manager at Mid-state office supply. But, America hasn't been totally gutted -- not even the much-beloved manufacturing sector. Always good to remind folks that manufacturing output continues to expand in this country.
Seeing Inflation Only in the Prices That Go Up (NYT)
Felix Salmon calls this a smart piece of linkbait, and here we are linking. David Leonhardt's argument: we just don't notice the prices that are moving down, or that never went up. Leonhardt argues that back in the day, nobody ever marvelled at cheap food. True, but we did marvel at cheap gas. One time, when traveling through the South during a college road trip, we filled up for less than $10. Other stuff, like home prices and car prices have been falling over the past couple of years. So have some foods. The overall lesson: there's some psychology at play here regarding what we notice and way. Makes sense.
Cisco 3Q profit beats views, shares rise (AP)
We checked out the conf. call on this one. Mainly questions about the economy and nothing else, esp. since the last two quarters were kind of ugly, with warnings about coming weakness. This quarter was weak -- below the Cisco's long-term expected growth rate -- but at least it didn't get worse. And CEO John Chambers says it's all normal in the course of a business cycle. With any luck, we could have the beginnings of a spending uptick by the end of the year.

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