Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Today's Headlines

- Buy the bond insurers. If you look past the headlines, and the accompanying hysteria, maybe things are about to look up. The stocks of Ambac Financial(ABK) and MBIA Inc.(MBI) are showing up on some securities firms’ lists of buy recommendations.
- The US will avoid a recession next year as a “stable” job market keeps Americans spending, said Bear Stearns(BSC) Chief Investment Strategist Jonathan Golub.
- Michael Klein, the owner of California hedge-fund firm Pacificor LLC, his teenage daughter, Talia, and a pilot died after their private plane crashed near Panama’s tallest mountain, a colleague said.

- Billionaire investor Joseph Lewis raised his stake in Bear Stearns(BSC) for the second time this month as the fifth-largest US securities firm’s stock fell 11% in December.
Davis Selected Advisers disclosed a 5.1% stake in MBIA Inc.(MBI).
- Crude oil is rising $1.63/bbl. in NY on year-end mark-ups by investment funds and speculation that tomorrow may show a US inventory decline.
- Toyota Motor(TM) and Honda Motor(HMC), Japan’s two largest automakers, increased production in November on higher overseas demand.
- Goldman(GS) Buys Building in NYC for $1.15 Billion.
- The US dollar is poised to end a two-year slide against the euro in 2008 as government-backed funds in Asia and the Middle East purchase US assets, currency strategists say.

Wall Street Journal:
- Videogames Expand A Popular New Phase Of Full-Body Playing. If you gave or got videogames as gifts yesterday, you may have noticed something very different about how some of the hottest ones are played these days.
- Merrill Lynch(MER) may sell additional stock following the sale of stakes to Temasek Holdings Pte. and Davis Selected Advisors LP. Merrill didn’t structure the stake sales to conform with any writedown.

NY Times:
- India’s Letter Writers Give Way to Cell Phones.
- NYC’s Amsterdam Avenue Becomes New Shopping Corridor.

- SLM Corp.(SLM), the largest US college-loan company, is trying to sell shares to an investor to cover the cost of investments related to a stock-buyback program.

USA Today:
- Only 7% of US employers plan to trim their full-time permanent staff during the first quarter of 2008, while 29% plan to add employees. 60% plan to maintain current levels of employment, according to an online survey by Harris Interactive.

- Housing Optimism. Why the year in real estate wasn’t all bad news.
- Gift card booty: $60 billion left to spend. Don’t write off the 2007 holiday shopping season just yet. Consumers are set to cash in $60 billion worth of gift cards in the next seven days, experts say.

- RIM developing angled Blackberry keyboard?

International Herald Tribune:
- “China gives top priority to developing renewable energy,” the cabinet’s press office said today in a 44-page report.

- Russia plans to sell to Iran advanced surface-to-air missiles, citing Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar.

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