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Opening Bell: 7.8.08

Mortgage Fears Depress Global Shares (NYT)
Banks are in "denial" about the extent of their mortgage problems, says some fund manager in Zurich that agreed to be quoted to the NYT. After yesterday's renewed drubbing of the financial sector, stocks took it on the chin overnight. The Nikkei fell 2.5 percent, the Hang Seng was down 3.3 percent, and in London stocks are down like 2.7 percent.
US exports to Iran increase in Bush years (AP)
This seems like kind of a random article from the AP, but whatever... apparently exports to Iran increased 10x during the Bush administration. So maybe that's supposed to mean something. Like maybe for all his rhetoric, he didn't do much to stem the flow of goods there, or something like that. The biggest export, clocking in at $158 million: cigarettes. Also high on the list: bull semen.
Pittsburgh's Rooneys Quietly Shop the Steelers (WSJ)
It's funny, we were just talking with friends yesterday about the prospect that the Steelers could be sold, and how much it'd go for. And here it is. Very, very odd. Evidently, the 75-year old Pittsburgh-based franchise is being "quietly shopped", as the owning family is seeking $1.2 billion on the high end. Some local financier is interested. Maybe they should consider selling to Warren Buffett. Think about it: high moat; classic American name, and he's known to be an appealing acquirer of family businesses, since he lets them do their thing. Warren, are you listening?
Food cost link causes retreat on biofuel (FT)
Somehow our ears clam up everytime we hear the word 'ethanol'. Not sure why, but maybe we just haven't heard an interesting thing said on either side of the debate in a long time, though yes, the idea of burning corn for fuel seems kinda dumb to us. Anyway, at least on the other side of the pond, they may be pulling back from their pro-biofuels policies in light of soaring food costs. We're not sure what's happening here. Last we checked, which was ages ago, the plan was still to pay off Iowa farmers (first in the nation, yo!) at the expense of everyone else.

G-8 Says Oil, Food Prices Pose Risk to World Economy (Bloomberg)
Great to see the G-8 so on top of things. And check out the picture. They literally sit around a table!
U.S. Not Lagging or Stalling In Broadband Adoption (The Business of Online Video)
Anytime you see some study talking about how the US is lagging in broadband adoption, and it turns out that lowly Denmark is the internet leader, you should ask yourself why the world isn't buzzing with Denmark-borne internet innovations. Seriously. A main argument for why broadband penetration is a good thing is that broadband penetration should, in theory, lead to more innovation. Anyway, those status you see at the USA Today and the tech blogs that like to flog them are probably rubbish. At least according to a contradictory study, broadband penetration is deep and growing.
SmartNow's Julie Wainwright Speaks! (AllThingsD)
Interesting, the CEO of .com poster-child has a new startup. The site is called, and it's aimed at women, delivering health information, nutrition stuff, fitness, etc. Kinda hate to say it, but this is probably one of the hottest, most-crowded areas there is, but whatever. Still interesting to see the vet get another shot. Now we just need to see the return of kids. Pasternak and Kryzelman? Something like that?
CBS, News Corp. Stock Slump May Top Allen Agenda, Not Deals (Bloomberg)
Ah it's that time again. The big Sun Valley media industry event hosted by boutique i-bank Allen & Co. We're wondering who the big internet darling is going to be this year. Two years ago it was YouTube, as they hadn't yet sold to Google. Last year it was Facebook, before taking the huge investment round. This year? It's not so clear. Does anyone have any guesses. Also, this article speculates that the stock slumps of big media companies will be a key topic of discussion. Surely Murdoch and Redstone et. al. can find something more uplifting to talk about, no?