Opening Bell: 8.27.08

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Heineken first-half profit climbs 35% (MarketWatch)
Breathe... Heineken turned in a solid quarter. People are still drinking alocohol. The world's third biggest brewer said revenue was up 17 percent, though only 7 percent on a comparable basis. Two good trends for the company: Consumers are going for higher end brews (presumably because everyone is in one of those phases where they look down on cheap beers) and the company is able to pass along costs. No doubt hops prices are expensive, given the global absence hops producers we talked about yesterday.
The Hillary Moment (WSJ)
How about we just go back to the same well as yesterday and make a joke about how Hillary must've done a good job, because stock markets are up, and the markets obviously fear an Obama Presidency, because he doesn't believe in low-tax, pro-growth policies, like McCain does. Actually, it was a solid speech as long as you ignore any of the, you know, substance.
Oil rises above $117 on concerns about Gustav (AP)
You know the free fall in oil is done when you see stuff like this. Ok, maybe traders don't really care at all about hurricane Gustav -- entirely possible. But these small bumps in prices are a much different story than a few weeks ago, when not even the Russian invasion could unnerve the markets.
Macquarie: The 'great unwind' is coming (FT Alphaville)
Interesting how things have changed. Well, that's obvious. Things have changed for every one of the banks and institutions we've been covering for the past 2.5 years. But in the early days, Australia's Macquarie was definitely one of the interesting ones we followed -- it invested daringly in big infrastructure deals around the world. You know, airports and water works and public highways. And now things aren't going to well, with its stock down and various financial instruments getting out of whack. A good read of how things have fallen.


Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid's Limits (NYT)
Yep, those majestic wind turbines, spinning gracefully in the plains and on the mountains don't exist on an island (except those that are actually on islands...). All that power needs to be moved via ugly power lines. Speaking on the same topic, check out Deep Glamour, a new blog on glamour and aesthetics from power writer Virginia Postral, the longtime blogger, magazine editor and author. Anyway, she talks about some of the aesthetics of wind power and the hiding of the grid part. Given how bent out of shape people get about the appearance of wind, it's not a trivial issue.
Baseball to start using instant replay Thursday (AP)
Sacrilege! Baseball will introduce instant replay tomorrow for the first time ever. But it will only be used for potential homeruns. Like: Were they fair, foul... did they hit the yellow on top of the wall or did the bounce of some other part of the outfield. For some reason people always make a really big deal about this stuff. And with baseball, given all the history, it's even more so. But really, isn't it best to just have the right call. And since it's only for marginal homeruns, we doubt it will be used that much.
tuitalk: Ads-Supported VoIP Calls (BusinessWeek)
Just curious: Is there any more disgraced business model than ad-supported phone calls? Nope. And yet here it is again, being totally taken seriously by a major publication.

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