Opening Bell: 7.30.08

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Oil down below $122 on demand worries (AP)
Is this a head fake? A consolidation at a lower level as oil prepares to race towards $200? Or are we on the back side of a parabolic curve, that will now see things hurtle towards $50 or $80. It wouldn't shock us if demand for oil meaningfully declined in this country. We've heard more than a few anecdotes about people pulling back. But then if gas gets down to $3 per share, it's time to take out the Hummer again, right?
Nintendo reports jump in quarter profit on hit Wii (AP)
No idea what expectations were on this one, so can't really tell you whether Nintendo had a good quarter on the back of its Wii gaming console. Profit in the quarter shot up 34 percent, so that's something. And total sales were $996 million (almost $1 billion) so that too is something. Just the Wii Fit addition sold 3.42 million units, which seems impressive.
After 7 Years, Talks on Trade Collapse (NYT)
Jeez, the Doha round has been going for seven years. Pretty sure we mentioned yesterday that it wasn't doing so hot, but yeah, seven years of futility cause they couldn't agree on farm subsidies. Of course we're against them here at the OB for all kindsa reasons, and we suspect that they hurt farmers in developing countries. But, just for the hell of it, is there a contrarian take that argues they don't really affect farmers in the developing world? Give it your best shot.
Dell Tests Player to Renew iPod Battle (WSJ)
Dell, really? A new MP3 player that comes with its own store. Really? Of course they've already tried this before to little avail. This time they're going with a more complete strategy, building out a new store and playing nice with others. But really? Then again, maybe Dell have learned something. SAI gave nice reviews to the design elemants on a new mini PC. But still.


Delta Raises Fee for a Second Bag (NYT)
$50 if you want to check a second bag. We're all for it.
Maybank Shares Jump as Indonesian Takeover Is Blocked (Bloomberg)
Indulge us for a moment in news that's only interesting to, well, us. Shares of Maybank, a major bank in Malaysia, spiked after the bank was prevented from making a costly acquisition of an Indonesian bank. The relevance: We used to bank with Maybank back when we lived there, and the Opening Bell has a trip planned there soon, so we're happy to see investors of Maybank cheered. Not that it would've really affected us in any way.
The unfortunate return of the "strange, red-haired, bearded, one-eyed, man with a limp" (Truth on the Market)
We had no idea that there was still legal action pertaining to the Whole Foods case going on. Like, they're still talking about the long-completed merger of Whole Foods and its smaller rival Wild Oats. Naturally, the Blawgosphere is all excited about getting to debate marketin definition and all of its various tentacles all over again. Here's more from the University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog called: "Whole Foods and Wild Oats: Unscrambling the (Organic) Eggs?"
The secret report about food prices? (The Bayesian Heresy)
For some reason the biofuels debate is back in a big way, though we're not sure why. Yesterday we mentioned Beef Magazine's take (ok, maybe saying it's back in a big way is a big overstatement). And today The Bayesian Heresy points to a new World Bank report pointing the finger at biofuels as the culprit in the increase in the price of food. Prediction: If oil keeps declining, food will move in that direction too.

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