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Opening Bell: 6.13.08

Microsoft Studies Strategy as Yahoo Talks End (WSJ)
Jerry Yang says his company's new ad deal with Google doesn't raise any regulatory red flags, but does it? It probably doesn't matter. Microsoft is going to throw every last resource it has into blocking this deal, based on multiple reports. And why not? What's it goes to lose. Already Yang says they're delying the launch by 3.5 months just to get a super-green light from the feds. Why not push to make that 12 or 18 months? In the meantime, Yahoo employees squirm, waiting to see how relevant they are within the company, once a key part of the company's money-making ops is gutted.
2 more airlines to charge for first bag (IHT)
United Airlines and US Airways are jumping on the first checked bag charge that AA said it would institute last week. And oh, coincidentally, each one is $15. Somestimes you don't need to talk in secret if you want to collude. We've got no problem with this. Hopefully it will lighten the load a little bit, though we still say that an airline should offere a $15 discount to flyers sans-bag, but maybe it's harder to raise the underlying core ticket price. That must be what it is.
Cat's $1 billion investment could affect Aurora (Sun-Times)
As Cramer says, this whole weak dollar thing is really a boon to our manufacturers out in the Midwest, and alas... the town made most Famous by Wayne's World is set to benefit from a fresh capital re-investment at Caterpillar into new manufacturing facilities. Despite the weak economy, says Caterpillar, international demand for its wares allow it to justify the investment.
Go to Africa, Young Investor (Paul Kedrosky)
We have a bet with a friend of ours -- a 'long bet' if you will -- that at the end of the 21st century, it will be known as "Africa's Century". It's going to be a tough bet to collect on given that neither of us expect to be alive in 2100 (we can hope!), so we'll have to check in on things around 2060. We took the affirmative side, he didn't. Anyway, Paul Kedrosky offers some interesting stats arguing that, yes, Africa appears to be in the larval stage of a societal and economic rebirth. So far, it's just a couple choice indicators, but all good signs.

Paul suspends presidential campaign; forms new organization (CNN)
Just cause we're masochists here... Dr. Paul is out. No doubt he and John McCain have some sort of joint press conference today to remind the world how much they respect each other. He says he will start a new org devoted to supporting limited-government Republicans. Kind of a sad state of things when that's considered a unique sub-set of the party.
National Red Cross Campaign Begins as a Logo on a Stock Car (NYT)
What's funny is how the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva is so uptight about the use of the logo, not wanting it to be used for commercial purposes or anything like that, or in anyway that doesn't suggest "humanitarian emergency relief". And here the US one is putting it on a NASCAR.