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Opening Bell: 9.23.08

Weakest holiday sales since '02 seen (CNNMOney)
Well this is really predictable... The National Retail Federaton predicts weak holiday growth this year, just 2.2 percent. Hey at least it's up. But apparently it usually grows by about 4.4 percent per year. Growth of 2.2 percent would represent the most anemic growth since 2002. And realistically, with these things, doesn't the final number usually come in weaker than all the forecasts. At least gas prices might be down (well, before yesterday they might've been).
Bristol-Myers launches sweetened bid for ImClone (AP)
At least someone out there is getting paid. It's not anyone you or we know, but rather some folks working for and investing biotech ImClone, which so far has successfully resisted a takeover attempt from Bristol-Myers. It's paid off at this point, as the big drugmaker upped its offer from $60 to $62. That being said, ImClone claims it has an offer of $70 out on the table from some unspecified gentleman caller.
How close was the financial system to melting down? (Megan McArdle)
Remember last Thursday night? When Senators and Congressman got to meet with Bernanke, Paulson and Cox? Apparently their jaws just dropped, though it was never completely clear what was said at the meeting. Well it was probably something like this. Though we're still skeptical that armaggedon was truly right around the corner, here's an explanation of how it might have been.
Bailout Prevents Great Depression 2.0 (USNews)
While Megan's post is excellent, this guy explaining how sans-the bailout, we'd have spend $30 trillion, sounds a little more off the rails.
Stocks in Europe, Asia Drop; Barclays, Macquarie, Vedanta Fall (Bloomberg)
Not a good night overseas while you were sleeping, though nothing to get too worked up about. Europe slipped a couple of percent (you can't blame 'em, since they were following our lead). Asia fell just .6 percent.

Android is set to take on smartphone market (FT)
Exciting! Kind of! T-Mobile and Google are set to unveil the first Google (Android)-powered smartphone today at an event in New York. It's got a high hurdle to clear, mainly because lazy journalists will compare it to Apple's iPhone, even though it's clearly a different beast, with a different vision. For one thing, while the iPhone is tightly controlled and closed, this new device (expected to be one of many Android-powered devices) is wide open, just like Google usually does it. So far, all we've had are leaked screenshots and rumors. For more rumors about it, check out here
Schumpeter (Wikipedia)
Ok, this isn't technically "news" by any stretch of the imagination. But if you're interested in business cycles, the decline of capitalism (and the inevitability of socialism), and whatever else, you might find yourself on the Wikipedia page of Joseph Schumpeter, where you'll read this paragraph, that you'll swear was something out of a physics textbook: "Schumpeter suggested a model in which the four main cycles, Kondratiev (54 years), Kuznets (18 years), Juglar (9 years) and Kitchin (about 4 years) can be added together to form a composite waveform. (Actually there was considerable professional rivalry between Schumpeter and Kuznets. The wave form suggested here did not include the Kuznets Cycle simply because Schumpeter did not recognize it as a valid cycle. See "Business Cycle" for confirmation.) A Kondratiev wave could consist of three lower degree Kuznets waves. Each Kuznets wave could, itself, be made up of two Juglar waves. Similarly two (or three) Kitchin waves could form a higher degree Juglar wave. If each of these were in phase, more importantly if the downward arc of each was simultaneous so that the nadir of each was coincident it would explain disastrous slumps and consequent depressions. (as far as the segmentation of the Kondratyev Wave, Schumpeter never proposed such a fixed model. He saw these cycles varying in time - although in a tight time frame by coincidence - and for each to serve a specific purpose)"
Man stabbed aboard Greyhound bus in northern Ontario (
More reasons to avoid buses whenever possible. Also probably a good idea to avoid northern Ontario.