Sunday, June 24, 2007

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines
- Istithmar PJSC, the Dubai-owned investment company that last week agreed to buy Jones Apparel Group’s Barneys New York chain for $825 million, plans to buy 3% of London-based hedge fund manager GLG Partners LP.
- US gasoline at the pump fell 11 cents during the past two weeks to an average $3 a gallon, Trilby Lundberg said, citing her survey of 7,000 filling stations nationwide.

- European government bonds rallied this week after a report showed business confidence in Germany, the region’s largest economy, fell more than expected in June.
- Chinese central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said he can’t rule out further interest rate increases after inflation accelerated.
- Merck’s(MRK) drug Januvia significantly improves diabetes control when given in combination with the older drug metformin, researchers said.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dismissed European press reports that he would sign an agreement with Iran to develop nuclear weapons when he visits the Central Asian country next week.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb’s(BMY) experimental diabetes drug controls blood sugar whether combined with an older medicine or take alone, researchers said.
- Crude oil is falling in NY after a strike in Nigeria was settled, easing concerns about supply disruptions from Africa’s biggest oil producer.
- The unexpected surge in US government tax receipts may pare the budget deficit by 39% to $150 billion this fiscal year, causing a relative scarcity of four-week, three-month and six-month treasury bills.
- France and the US agreed today there is no reason to restore contacts with Syria because of its continued interference in Lebanon and its failure to show signs of wanting to make peace with Israel.
- Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali” for this role in using chemical weapons to murder 180,000 Iraqi Kurds in the Anfal campaign, was sentenced to death by Iraq’s High Tribunal yesterday.
- Is the five-year stock market rally threatened by the highest bond yields since 2002? Some of the world’s biggest investors say no.
- Renault SA and Nissan Motor will push for “clean” vehicles that use the most cost-effective technologies to meet new emission standards, CEO Ghosn said.
- Shares of ethanol producers gained Friday, after the US Senate passed legislation that would quadruple the use of alternative fuels, such as the grain-based additive.
- Nintendo Co. surpassed Sony Corp.(SNE) in market value as its Wii home console outsells the rival PlayStation 3.

Wall Street Journal:
- The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission plans to improve a rule to ensure that records are kept by those holding or controlling a futures or option position in energy markets.
- Banks backing Cerberus Capital Management’s purchase of Chrysler Group and Chrysler Financial will begin a “roadshow” next week to raise funds.
- Clear Channel Communications(CCU) will use Arbitron’s new electronic radio-ratings system as part of a multiyear agreement.
- Haggling 2.0. With more Web retailers willing to bargain, clothing shoppers are leaning to wheel and deal.

NY Times:
- The International Code Council approved recommendations for new high-rise buildings taller than 420 feet that would require a third stairwell and a strengthened elevator for firefighters.
- Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.(NWS/A) and advisers representing Dow Jones(DJ) and its controlling Bancroft family are near an agreement to protect the Wall Street Journal’s editorial independence in the even Murdoch buys the financial news organization.
- The Iranian government has focused on labor leaders, universities, the media and Iranian-Americans in a recent crackdown on dissent inside the country. Young men were paraded through the capital of Tehran’s streets by uniformed police officers for wearing T-shirts that were too tight or sporting haircuts deemed to be too Western.
- Florsheim shoes, a unit of Weyco Group Inc.(WEYS), is profiting from younger consumers who have shown a preference for older brand names in the $25 billion domestic footwear industry.

San Jose Mercury News:
- The Silicon Valley’s wealthiest residents made the most since 2000 in 2005.

Business Week:
- Private Equity Squeezes the Shorts. Short-sellers once profited off troubled companies, but private equity’s expansion is crimping investment opportunities and boosting risks.

Rocky Mountain News:
- Moosehead Breweries, Canada’s third-largest brewer, will build its new US headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.

- North Korea agreed to close down its Yongbyon atomic reactor within three weeks, citing US nuclear negotiator.
- A 35-year-old Oklahoma woman died from a combination of cocaine and a high level of stress, and not from chocks delivered by a Taser(TASR) stun gun, citing the state medical examiner’s office.

Financial Times:
- News Corp.(NWS/A) CEO Rupert Murdoch wants to buy Internet-related companies.
- Sweden hired US investment bank Morgan Stanley(MS) to advise it on the planned $6 billion sale of Absolut vodka maker Vin & Sprit AB.
- A US congressional report to be issued today claims that Amaranth Advisors LLC and energy trader Brian Hunter accumulated such big positions in the US natural gas derivatives markets last year that they caused “abnormally” high gas prices for consumers across the US.

- Pearson Plc should sell the Financial Times for $1.4 billion and avoid competing with a Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, citing analyst Lorna Tilbian and unidentified investors.

- Toyota Motor Corp.(TM) will start selling a new hybrid car that is larger than its Prius model from 2009.
- Hino Motors Ltd. will build a new assembly plant in West Virginia this year as North American sales rise.

Commercial Times:
- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing may report record sales in June and the third quarter because of demand for chips used in mobile phones with more advanced features.

Sing Tao Daily:
- Lee Shau-kee, billionaire chairman of Henderson Land Development Co., said it’s time to sell Hong Kong stocks, because valuations are too high. Lee is the second-richest man in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with a net worth of $17 billion.

Yediot Aharonot:
- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing a package of peace incentives to offer Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when they meet in Egypt tomorrow.

Weekend Recommendations
- Made positive comments on (LUM), (YHOO), (STT) and (CFC).
- Made negative comments on (BX), (CROX) and (CRM).

- Reiterated Buy (GPN), target $50.

Night Trading
Asian indices are -.75% to +.50% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.09%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.18%.

Morning Preview
US AM Market Call
NASDAQ 100 Pre-Market Indicator/Heat Map
Pre-market Commentary
Before the Bell CNBC Video(bottom right)
Global Commentary
Asian Indices
European Indices
Top 20 Business Stories
In Play
Bond Ticker
Conference Calendar
Daily Stock Events
Macro Calls
Rasmussen Business/Economy Polling
CNBC Guest Schedule

Earnings of Note
- (SNX)/.44
- (WAG)/.53

Upcoming Splits
- (YUM) 2-for-1
- (CCF) 2-for-1
- (SPAR) 3-for-2
- (VSEC) 2-for-1
- (FLO) 3-for-2

Economic Releases
10:00 am EST
- Existing Home Sales for May are estimated to fall to 5.97M versus 5.99M in April.

Other Potential Market Movers
- The Wachovia CEO Summit could also impact trading today.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly lower, weighed down by financial and real estate shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly lower and to rally into the afternoon finishing modestly higher. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the week.

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