Opening Bell: 8.14.08

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Wal-Mart profit climbs 17%, ups 2008 goal (MarketWatch)
A solid earnings report is always a solid earnings report, but you know, it's Wal-Mart, so it could mean all kinds of things. Maybe the low end consumer isn't doing that bad. Or maybe there are a lot more low end consumers than there used to be. Actually, that's pretty much the crux of the debate. Here's the actual report.
Olympic Medal Count
Can't say we're real happy to wake up and see this: The US and China are tied at 33 medals a piece. It helps China that in one swimming event they took both gold and silver last night, and that there weren't many men's swimming finals. Tonight there are a few, and the Americans should rack up several. But still. Then again, we should be okay once the Track & Field portion of the games start. Just can't fall behind.
Greenspan Blasts Mortgage Fix (WSJ)
Now he tells us! Alan! You think we should dissolve Fannie and Freddie? We agree. But why wait 'til now to come out and say this. Why wait 'til the moment when you have the reputation of being just another ex-Fed Prez that can't stand to be out of the conversation. How credible is that? Again, you're right, but too bad your standpoint will have all the effect of John Edwards' endorsement of Obama. And that's not a reference to his affair at all -- just the fact that his endorsement came after it was irrelevant.
Borders' Larger Rival Is Unlikely to Make a Bid (WSJ)
Tough break for struggling book chain Borders, which won't be selling out to rival Barnes & Noble, which is struggling, but just not quite as much. Evidently the would-be acquirer found financing tough. It's a product of the economic environment, sure. It's also, fundamentally, the market pre-empting what might've been a very bad idea.


Flight of the dead: Suburban families move loved ones from Detroit cemeteries (Detroit News)
Whoa, this is amazing. Detroit's population of dead people is declining. Families are actually paying, sometimes $5,000 a pop, to have the remains of their dead relatives move to the suburbs. It's gotten so bad, apparently, that folks won't even go into Detroit proper to visit the graves of the decased. Wild. Read the whole thing, and there's a video! (via MarginalRevolution)
Must the Government Combat Americans' Addiction to Foreign Bananas? (The Independent Institute)
We'll save you some time: This article isn't actually about bananas. Instead bananas are used as a joke, like... well if it's bad to be addicted to foreign oil, then it must be bad to be addicted to foreign-grown bananas. And since nobody really believes the latter, why do we believe the former? Ok, kind of reductionist. But it is actually a good point.
Best Buy's Break-Even iPhone Deal (Bits)
We mentioned yesterday that it seemed pretty unlikely that Best Buy would make much money by selling iPhones. As we noted, Apple likes to put the screws to its partners, and make the partner enjoy getting a raw deal. AT&T bragged about bagging the iPhone, saying how great it was -- then it said it had to lower its profit estimates. So anyway, one analyst agrees with us. Best Buy isn't likely to make much money -- perhaps a little, but not nearly as much as on the other phone. So if you go in there and buy one, expect pushy salespeople to offer you all kinds of protective cases and iTunes gift cards along with your purchase.
Eurozone economy contracts (FT)
For the first time since the launch of the euro a decade ago, the Eurozone economy contracted for the three months ending in June. So how is the US econ holding up again?

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