Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thursday Watch

Late-Night Headlines
- John Thain, the former Goldman Sachs Group president who has run the NYSE since 2004, was named CEO of Merrill Lynch, the first outsider to lead the firm in its 93-year history.
- Yen Falls on Speculation Japanese Mutual Funds Buying Overseas Assets.
- Billionaire shareholder activist Carl Icahn increased his stake in Motorola(MOT), becoming the mobile-phone company’s third-largest investor.

- Gold may decline as low as $718 an ounce by February as jewelry demand drops with the close of the festival season in India, the world’s biggest consumer of the precious metal, MF Global Ltd. said. The October-December period is the busiest season in India for jewelry sales, spurred by the wedding season and last week’s Diwali, or the festival of light. Imports by the South Asian nation fell 50% last month from a year earlier after prices surged, according to the Bombay Bullion Assoc. Concern central banks in countries such as Spain and Switzerland could sell bullion may also limit prices. Under the terms of the Central Bank Gold Agreement, European banks agreed to sell 2,500 tons of the metal between 2004 and 2009. MF Global joins UBS AG, Europe’s largest bank by assets, in forecasting lower gold prices.
- Billionaire Edward Lampert’s hedge fund acquired a $485 million stake in Home Depot(HD).
- The White House signaled it will opposes subprime legislation set for a vote in the US House of Representatives, saying the measure would constrict mortgage markets and limit credit to potential homebuyers. “The administration is concerned with these and other provisions that could lead to greater uncertainty and increased litigation, which could cause an undesirable reduction in mortgage credit and a drop in future homeownership,” the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said in the statement.
- China, the world’s biggest steel producer, increased crude-steel output 14% in October from the same month of last year.
- China, the world’s biggest buyer of cotton, cut imports of the fiber 37% in the first ten months of the year, according to preliminary data issued by the Beijing-based customs office.
- China’s industrial production growth slowed in October as the government sought to curb the expansion of factories that are heavy polluters and energy consumers.
- Berkshire Hathaway(BRK/A) boosted its holdings of banks and health insurers and disclosed a stake in CarMax, the biggest US used-car dealer
- Markit Group Ltd. agreed to buy the owners of the iTraxx and CDX credit-default swap indexes, giving it control of the benchmarks for the world’s $45.5 trillion credit-derivatives market.
- Legg Mason’s Bill Miller raised his stakes in Bear Stearns(BSC) and Goldman Sachs(GS) in the third quarter as financial stocks tumbled on losses tied to subprime mortgages.

NY Times:
- Frito-Lay is redesigning a potato-chip factory aiming to reduce the energy it consumers and waste it creates.
- Airlines Vow to Do Better.
- Gasoline prices rose to an average $3.05 a gallon at the pump last week as consumers cut their demand for gas for the fourth straight week, according to data released Wednesday by SpendingPulse.
- What sound of the other shoe dropping? Wal-Mart(WMT) earnings rebut predictions of a consumer pullback.

- Is GM’s Green Tech Better Than Toyota’s? That’s what Chrysler, Daimler, and BMW seem to think. They’re all using GM’s hybrid technology for their new trucks and SUVs.
- Google: Half-trillion dollar company by 2010?
- Sony PlayStation sales soar in US after price cut.
- Lehman Brothers(LEH) co-Chief Administrative Officer Ian Lowitt said Wednesday the company doesn’t expect substantial write-downs of its most illiquid assets.

The Standard:
- Macau is planning to raise from 18 to 21 the minimum age at which a person can legally gamble, chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah told lawmakers yesterday.

Straits Times:
- Singapore banned Microsoft’s(MSFT) “Mass Effect” Xbox 360 video game because it contains a sex scene between a human woman and a female alien, citing the Media Development Authority.

Late Buy/Sell Recommendations

- Reiterated Buy on (BX), target $36.
- Upgraded (VCLK) to Buy, target $30..

Night Trading
Asian Indices are -.75% to unch. on average.
S&P 500 futures -.11%.
NASDAQ 100 futures -.61%.

Morning Preview
US AM Market Call
NASDAQ 100 Pre-Market Indicator/Heat Map
Pre-market Commentary
Pre-market Stock Quote/Chart
Before the Bell CNBC Video(bottom right)
Global Commentary
WSJ Intl Markets Performance
Commodity Movers
Top 25 Stories

Top 20 Business Stories
Today in IBD
In Play
Bond Ticker
Economic Preview/Calendar
Daily Stock Events
Macro Calls
Rasmussen Business/Economy Polling
CNBC Guest Schedule

Earnings of Note
Company/EPS Estimate
- (STP)/.29
- (WSM)/.25
- (TYC)/.56
- (GMCR)/.17
- (NUAN)/.14
- (ZOLL)/.31
- (HB)/.75
- (KLIC)/.33
- (INTU)/-.12
- (VM)/-.21
- (BEAS)/.13
- (CRM)/.03
- (LDK)/.38
- (SBUX)/.21
- (HP)/.87
- (SGR)/.51
- (KSS)/.60
- (A)/.52
- (ADSK)/.47
- (CUB)/.36
- (JCP)/1.00
- (MSCC)/.27

Upcoming Splits
- (APAGF) 4-for-1
- (D) 2-for-1

Economic Releases
8:30 am EST

- The Consumer Price Index for October is estimated to rise .3% versus a .3% gain in September.
- The CPI Ex Food & Energy for October is estimated to rise .2% versus a .2% gain in September.
- The Empire Manufacturing index for November is estimated to fall to 19.0 versus 28.8 in October.
- Initial Jobless Claims for this week are estimated to rise to 320K versus 317K the prior week.
- Continuing Claims are estimated to fall to 2575K versus 2579K prior.

10:30 am EST
- Bloomberg consensus estimates call for a weekly crude oil drawdown of -750,000 barrels versus a -821,000 barrel decline the prior week. Gasoline supplies are expected to fall by -400,000 barrels versus an -819,000 barrel decline the prior week. Distillate inventories are estimated to fall by -250,000 barrels versus a 98K barrel increase the prior week. Finally, Refinery Utilization is estimated to rise by .50% versus a .07% gain the prior week.

12:00 pm EST
- The Philly Fed for November is estimated to fall to 5.0 versus 6.8 in October.

Other Potential Market Movers
- The Fed’s Evans speaking, Fed’s Hoenig speaking, (SCHW) Business Update, (HAS) analyst meeting, (SRDX) analyst meeting, (TLM) analyst meeting, (IWOV) analyst meeting, (IVZ) analyst day, (LYV) analyst day, (TQNT) analyst day, (VPRT) investor day, (ROK) investor day, Stephens Investment Conference, CSFB Healthcare Conference, CSFB Insurance & Asset Management Conference, Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Conference, UBS Global Tech & Services Conference, Bank of America Energy Conference and Merrill Lynch Banking & Financial Services Conference could also impact trading today.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly lower, weighed down by technology and automaker stocks in the region. I expect US equities to open modestly lower and to rally into the afternoon, finishing mixed. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the day.

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