Wall Street Breakfast

by: SA Editors
SA Editors
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.


Consumer Borrowing Up Sharply as Debt Moves from Condos to Credit Cards

The Federal Reserve reported Monday that consumer (non-mortgage) borrowing increased $12.3 billion (6.2% annually) to $2.39 trillion in November, its biggest jump in three months, after falling $1.3 billion in October. The rise handily beat economist forecasts of $5.2 billion, and suggests consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economy, gained strength at year-end; retail sales were up 1% in November, their biggest gain since January. Consumer debt as a percent of personal income held at 21.5%, down from an August 2005 peak of 22.5%. Revolving debt like credit cards accounted for $8.6 billion of the gain; economists say consumers are using credit cards more to support their spending after years of relying on home equity as a source of credit. The numbers encourage economists, including Cathy Minehan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, who said in a Jan. 5 speech, "Our best guess at the Boston Fed is that 2007 will bring continued moderate growth, with GDP at or a bit below potential, unemployment likely remaining below 5 percent and core inflation gradually declining."
• Sources: The Fed Press Release, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
• Related commentary: Paul Kasriel On the State of Consumer Debt and Savings, A Tale of Two Economies, An Optimistic Outlook On Consumer Spending, Sound Money Tips' extensive Guide to Credit Cards,
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY), NASDAQ 100 Trust Shares ETF (QQQQ), Diamonds Trust Series 1 ETF (NYSEARCA:DIA), iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IWM), iShares Lehman 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:SHY), iShares Lehman 7-10 Yr Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:IEF), iShares Lehman 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:TLT)

Fed's Kohn: Soft Landing Likely for U.S. Economy

Fed vice chairman Donald Kohn warned yesterday that it is too soon to become sanguine about inflation, notwithstanding an easing of price pressures. At a speech at the Atlanta Rotary Club, Kohn stated the recent drop in core inflation could reflect merely "one-time influences." His remarks indicate that the Fed retains its December outlook, when it labeled inflation its greatest concern and held short-term interest rates at 5.25%. Since December, manufacturing and business investment have weakened and inflation has been unexpectedly low, fueling speculation that in January, the Fed might announce that a rate increase is as likely as a cut. Kohn's comments suggest that such a neutral statement is unlikely. He expects the economy to accelerate this year, though the housing decline could deepen further. Kohn dismissed the concern that the inverted yield curve, which traditionally presages recessions, bodes ill for the economy. Overall, his prognosis is positive: "Conditions appear to be in place for a good year for the U.S. economy, one marked by growth that is moderate and sustainable and by inflation that will be lower than last year's."
• Sources: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Reuters
• Related commentary: The Bigger Picture: Fed Rate Cuts Aren't Everything, The Inverted Yield Curve's Predictive Power, The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball, Market Hiccups As Fed's December Minutes Are Released, Split Decision at The Fed On Next Rate Move?, Inflation Unleashed?, Fed Leaves Short-Term Rates at 5.25%
• Potentially impacted ETFs: S&P 500 Index (SPY), NASDAQ 100 Trust Shares ETF (QQQQ), Diamonds Trust Series 1 ETF (DIA), iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (IWM), iShares Lehman 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (SHY), iShares Lehman 7-10 Yr Treasury Bond ETF (IEF), iShares Lehman 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT), iShares Lehman TIPS Bond Fund (NYSEARCA:TIP)


Apple's iPhone May Be Imminent

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to introduce the iPhone, a combination iPod-cellphone, at the Macworld Expo conference in San Francisco today. In an unconfirmed deal, Cingular Wireless will provide cellphone service for the device. The deal will give Cingular access to new subscribers and will open Apple's door to the enormous cellphone market. About one billion handsets shipped last year, making the past five years' sales of 70 million iPods paltry by comparison. Apple might also introduce an interactive television device at the conference. Pressure is on Jobs to come up with new hits after the phenomenal success of the iPod, and also to shift attention away from an investigation into an options-backdating scandal. iPods continue to sell well, but at a slower clip: Apple sold 75% more iPods this year than last year, but that figure is down from 409% growth the year before that. If Jobs does not present the iPhone at the conference, the stock might reflect investors' disappointment.
• Sources: Bloomberg, Red Herring, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Forbes
• Related commentary: Analyst: Apple iTV Upgrade and/or Phone Likely at Macworld, Yahoo! Aims for Lead in Mobile Search Space, The iPhone Will Probably Be Released In 2007: Who Is Apple Up Against?, Macworld: A Google/Apple Partnership In The Works?, Apple's Got the World in Its Pocket: The iPhone and Other Paraphernalia, Apple iPhone: Not The Game-Changer Many Expect, Apple Begins Production Of iPhone
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Competitors: Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). ETFs: Internet Architecture HOLDRs (NYSE:IAH), iShares S&P Global Technology (NYSEARCA:IXN)

Sprint Shares Tumble On Spate of Bad News

Sprint Nextel shares tumbled 8% in after hours trading after the company reported it would be forced to lay off 5,000 employees - 7.7% of its total workforce.s There was other bad news as well: revenue for 2006 will likely come in at $41 billion versus consensus estimates of $42 billion. In addition, Sprint reported a loss of 306,000 monthly "post-pay" subscribers in the fourth quarter, despite increasing its overall user base by 742,000 through wholesale and prepaid subscribers. Sprint reported a monthly turnover rate of 2.3%, a result of defections of Nextel customers to other carriers, part of a lingering fallout from the merger of the two companies. Stanford Group analyst Michael Nelson believes "the integration [of the two companies] is taking longer than originally anticipated." The companies merged in August 2005. Another difficulty facing Sprint is in the area of cellular and broadband networks. Sprint has warned that spending to improve its networks, which many on Wall Street feel technologically lag those of competitors, will cut into profits in the near term.
• Sources: Press Release, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, TheStreet.com
• Related commentary: Sprint's the Latest Wireless Food Chain Member To Get Its Signals Crossed, Sprint's Huge Miss: Where Do Things Go From Here?, Sprint's Crawl To The Finish Line, Despite Weak Quarter, SprintNextel Shares Gain Big. Conference call transcripts: Sprint Nextel Q3 2006 Earnings Call Transcript
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). Competitors: Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), BellSouth (BLS). ETFs: Vanguard Telecommunication Services (NYSEARCA:VOX), Wireless HOLDRS (NYSEARCA:WMH)

UMC Reports Lower December Sales, Announces Fab Construction

United Microelectronics reports sales in December fell 7.17% y-o-y to NT$8.37 billion ($260m), but for the calendar year, sales grew 14.68% to NT$104.1 billion ($3.2b). UMC also announced construction is underway on its second Taiwan 300mm fab with max capacity of 50,000 wafers. Reuters quotes a Taiwan-based portfolio manager who comments, "The bottom should be in Q1 and then its sales will start rising from April or May." UnitedMicro-UMC-1yr-chart-01-08-07 Shares of UMC and rival TSMC have traded higher since bottoming last summer in anticipation of a recovery ahead of the Windows Vista launch and on overall demand for consumer electronics. Merrill Lynch however, warned last week of high inventory levels that could keep pressure on foundries into Q2. Regarding UMC's capacity expansion at a price tag of $5b, CEO Jackson Hu comments, "UMC remains strongly committed to continuing its growth and development in Taiwan. The close proximity of the R&D center to the fabs will allow for the seamless integration of advanced process technologies from the R&D phase to manufacturing..."
• Sources: UMC press release and monthly sales release, Reuters, WSJ
• Related commentary: UMC Increasing Capacity Despite Chip Glut, Caris' Downgrades, Merrill: United Microelectronics An 'Unappealing Buyout Candidate', Texas Instruments, Foundries Beginning to Understand its Excess Inventory Issues
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: United Microelectronics (NYSE:UMC). Competitors: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM), Semiconductor Manufacturing International (NYSE:SMI), Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (CHRT). ETFs: iShares MSCI Emerg Mkts Index (NYSEARCA:EEM), iShares MSCI Taiwan Index (NYSEARCA:EWT)

NCR to Spin Off Teradata Database Business

Automated teller-machine manufacturer NCR Corp. will split itself in two, spinning off its Teradata information warehousing business to shareholders. The two companies will trade publicly after the breakup, which should take six to nine months. The company states that the two businesses will function better separately: NCR will be able to focus on reviving growth in the bank-machine and retail checkout markets as well as newer opportunities like boarding pass machines, while Teradata will be able to compete more effectively against software rivals like Oracle. NCR shares rose $1.39 to $43.79 on the news, their biggest gain since November. In 2005, Teradata revenue rose 9% while revenue for the rest of the company fell 2%. Teradata, whose clients include Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch, uses specialized software to manage extremely large quantities of data. Teradata could ultimately become a takeover target for companies like Hewlett-Packard and SAP AG, which are boosting their software holdings as the industry consolidates.
• Sources: Bloomberg (I, II), Wall Street Journal
• Related commentary: NCR Plans Spinoff of Data Warehouse Unit (NYSE:AP), NCR to spin off Teradata software business (Reuters). Conference call transcripts: Q3 2006
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: NCR Corp. (NYSE:NCR). Competitors: Diebold Inc. (NYSE:DBD), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ:ORCL). ETFs: PowerShares Dynamic Software (NYSEARCA:PSJ)


GE Plastics Unit Sale -- Subject to Restrictions

WSJ reports that General Electric Co. is soliciting bids for its plastics business, valued at about $10 billion, which has been hurt by high raw-materials costs (benzene is up 31%) and competition (profits are down 23%). But GE has cautioned interested firms that they face Justice Department restrictions on their ability to team-up with other bidders which forbid them to call other buyout firms to discuss forming a so-General Electric 09 01 2007 Chartcalled club that pools resources to pursue a single deal. Acting for GE, Goldman Sachs has conveyed deal-terms to four private-equity groups and two potential bidders in the industry. Since taking over in 2001, CEO Jeffrey Immelt has sold-off underperforming businesses including reinsurance, industrial diamonds and motors. Last month he said GE would evaluate the case for holding on to the plastics unit, referring to it as "in a difficult spot," and saying he wasn't committed to wait for a turnaround. In a note last month, Citigroup named Dow Chemical Company and BASF Ag as possible buyers. Mike McGarr, a Becker Capital analyst (Becker owns 800,000 shares): "It's nice to see them get away from the low-margin businesses like this... A lot of the hard work at GE is starting to pay off a bit and we are pleased with what Immelt has done steering toward services and infrastructure."
• Sources: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, GE Dec. 12 'Outlook' Call Transcript (.pdf)
• Related commentary: GE 's Sale of One Unit Adds to Speculation it Will Sell Another, Eye on General Electrics' Transportation Business. Conference call transcript: General Electric Q3 2006
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE), Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW), BASF Ag (BF)

BP's Output Falls Again; A 'Brave' Buy with Upside Potential as a 'Recovery Stock'

BP's woes are not over by any means; production was down for a sixth quarter in Q4, and a Bloomberg exclusive says its BTC Caspian pipeline has serious corrosion issues that not only represent safety concerns but also further harm its credibility. Q4 oil and gas output was off 5% y/y to 3.82 million bpd, missing analyst estimates. A Citigroup analyst with a Buy rating on BP: "Growth has been a disappointment across the majority of the sector in 2006, and BP is no exception." BP-1yr-chart-01-08-07 A Cantor Fitzgerald analyst voiced concern over credibility, and said "It might be a very brave call to go and take a position (in the stock)." A UBS analyst who has a Buy rating on BP points out the firm's struggles compared to rivals such as Exxon, and says BP has "significant upside" potential as a "recovery stock" if it has a "sustained period of more sure-footed performance both operationally and managerially." Reuters highlights concerns over Russia, where output at a JV fell sharply due to oil field sales. Two positive notes are lower expected taxes, 25% vs. 33% in '05, and higher y/y profits in Q4 due to higher comparable oil prices.
• Sources: Bloomberg [I, II], BP Q4 Trading Update, Reuters
• Related commentary: BP Under Investigation -- Again, Fuel For Thought: Which Integrated Oil Company Should You Own?, BP's Budget Cuts and Ignored Warnings May Have Played Role in Explosion, BP's Earnings Slow
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: BP Plc (NYSE:BP). Competitors: Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A), Total SA (NYSE:TOT). ETFs: United States Oil Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:USO), Vanguard Energy (NYSEARCA:VDE), BLDRS Europe 100 ADR Index (NASDAQ:ADRU)


Gap Shares Surge on Sale Speculation

Gap shares surged 11% yesterday -- the largest one-day gain in five years -- before closing up over 7% when CNBC reported that the troubled retailer has retained the services of Goldman Sachs. Gap's shares have lost half their value since 2000 as sales have declined at both Gap Chart 8 1 07the company's namesake stores and Old Navy, which Gap owns. CEO Paul Pressler has been under constant pressure, and the hiring of Goldman suggests that his days at the company might be numbered. Gap's "strategic alternatives" could include sale of the company, an LBO, or the spin-off of one its brands, possibly Banana Republic. A sale of Gap could be one of the biggest buyouts in retail history: Its current market value is $16.4 billion, and a buyer would likely have to pay more than $18 billion. Credit-default swaps based on $10 million of Gap bonds leaped 27%, implying a perception of a deterioration in Gap's credit quality resulting from speculation that the company might opt for an LBO.
• Sources: New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, MSN Money, MarketWatch
• Related commentary: Gap To Put Old Navy In Play?, Gap Reports Bleak Holiday Numbers, Retail Sector Closes the Year on (Mostly) Down Note, Gap Sales Slide for 9th Straight Quarter, Gap's Employee Productivity Lags its Peers. Conference call transcripts: Q3 2006
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: The Gap, Inc. (NYSE:GPS). Competitors: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEOS), J. Crew Group, Inc. (JCG), AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (NYSE:ANN), Limited Brands Inc. (LTD), Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN), Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT), Kohl's Corp. (NYSE:KSS). ETFs: SPDR Retail (NYSEARCA:XRT)


U.S Automakers Request Federal Subsidies for Battery R&D

WSJ reports that GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler have submitted a white paper requesting $500 million in federal subsidies to fund high-powered battery development for hybrid and pure electric vehicles. U.S. automakers are currently behind their Japanese counterparts in this area. F DCX GM chart Without government support, this lag could cause further economic difficulties for the already beleaguered American car makers. Japanese battery suppliers have been loathe to offer technical help in developing lightweight lithium ion batteries, which are currently the most cost efficient type for mass production. The request is being reviewed by the President's technical advisor and the Department of Energy. The companies dismiss the idea that the industry alone should fund this development, as fuel-efficiency is crucial to national issues such as reduction of greenhouse gases and independence from foreign oil.
• Sources: WSJ, Bloomberg
• Related commentary: GM Resurrects Electric Car with the Volt, Wagoner: GM Won't Go Down Without a Fight, Will GM Be Killed By The Electric Car?, GM, Ford And Clean Car Hype Conference call transcripts: General Motors Q3 2006 Earnings, Ford Q3 2006 Earnings , DaimlerChrysler Q3 2006 Earnings
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: DaimlerChrysler AG (DCX) Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F), General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM) Competitors: Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM), Honda Motor Corp. (NYSE:HMC) ETFs: iShares MSCI Germany Index (NYSEARCA:EWG)


Nasdaq and LSE Embroiled in Shouting Match

If you don't succeed at first, scream, scream again. That at least appears to be Nasdaq Inc.'s approach to goading London Stock Exchange [LSE] shareholders into accepting a hostile bid to take over the exchange.ndaq In a response yesterday to London's defense Nasdaq's Inc.'s standing offer as "wholly inadequate" and not reflective of the LSE's true value, Nasdaq warned LSE shareholders they stood to lose significant share value if a majority didn't accept its terms soon. Nasdaq argued in a letter to shareholders that its current offer of 1,243 pents a share is a "full and fair price" for the LSE and that the exchange's current management is "unprepared for those challenges" that lie ahead. LSE shares closed at 1,284 pents yesterday - 3% above Nasdaq Inc.'s current offer. The LSE has remained firm in its rejection of Nasdaq Inc.'s offer on the grounds it can either attract another bidder willing to pay more, or convince Nasdaq Inc. to increase its current offer.
• Sources: TheStreet.com, Forbes, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
• Related commentary: LSE To Shareholders: Reject The Nasdaq Bid, We'll Raise Our Dividend, Nasdaq's LSE Bid's Fate Likely in the Hands of 'Market Sentiment', Nasdaq Launches Hostile Bid for London Stock Exchange, A Unified, Global Stock Exchange May Be Approaching.
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ). Competitors: Competitors: NYSE Group (NYSE:NYX)


Express Scripts, Snubbed by Caremark Rebuff, Launches Proxy War

Snubbed by Caremark's brazen refusal to consider its takeover bid thereby derailing rival CVS's bid, Express Scripts has launched a proxy war, saying it would nominate four directors to Caremark's 11-member board. Caremark responded that the vote would require approval at its annual meeting, normally held in May. Express Scripts' $26 billion bid is 13% higher than CVS's, but Caremark said in a statement yesterday that the offer created Express Scripts 09 01 2007 Chart CVS 09 01 2007 Chart Caremark 09 01 2007 Chartsignificant antitrust risks. Express Scripts called the risks a "red herring" that Caremark was using to distract shareholders. Express Scripts has already begun the Federal Trade Commission review process, and is trying to speed things up by sending its lawyers to begin arguing its case. Healthcare analyst Kemp Dolliver says most people think it will get FTC approval, although it may take time. In a press release yesterday, Express Scripts and Caremark each said it could achieve $500 million in savings by cutting costs. Shares of Caremark were up $0.29 to $56.64 yesterday, well above the CVS cash-and-stock offer which was worth $52.35 at yesterday’s CVS price. Sheryl Skolnick, a health care analyst with CRT Capital said investors seem to be saying a higher bid's worth waiting for, despite antitrust uncertainties. But A.G. Edwards & Sons analyst Andrew L. Speller said, "I would be very surprised if Express Scripts and Caremark ever get together."
• Sources: Press Releases: Express Scripts (I, II, III), CVS, Caremark, New York Times
• Related commentary: CVS to Acquire Caremark Rx for $21 Billion, Express Scripts Undercuts CVS in Brazen Bid For Rival Caremark Rx, Caremark Favors CVS Offer Over Express Scripts , Shares Say Traders Expect More, How the CVS-Caremark Merger Might Work (Or Not), Is CVS the Prescription Fix for Caremark?
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX), CVS Corp. (NYSE:CVS), Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX). Competitors: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS), Wellpoint, Inc. (WLP). ETFs: Retail HOLDRs (NYSEARCA:RTH), SPDR Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals (NYSEARCA:PJP), iShares Dow Jones US Pharmaceuticals (NYSEARCA:IHE), SPDR Pharmaceuticals ETF (NYSEARCA:XPH)

United Surgical Partners Agrees to $1.8 Billion Buyout Deal

United Surgical Partners has agreed to be purchased by UNCN Acquisition Corp., a unit of the private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, USPI chartwhich helped establish the firm eight years ago, for $1.8 billion dollars or $31.05/share, a 13.4% premium over its Jan. 5th closing price. The deal would include $371 million in debt obligations. The news boosted USPI's share price as much as 13% yesterday. United Surgical operates or partially owns 141 private surgical centers in the U.S. The company's shares dropped 12% last year due to growing competition within the industry. Analysts expect the deal to go through, given the valuation and previous relationship between the two firms. United Surgical's stock closed at $3.19, or 12%, to $30.58 yesterday.
• Sources: Marketwatch.com, Reuters, Bloomberg
• Related commentary: More analysis of Healthcare Stocks.
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: United Surgical (OTCPK:USPI) Competitors: American Surgical (NASDAQ:AMSG), HealthSouth Corp (NYSE:HLS), Triad Hospitals (NYSE:TRI)

FDA Approves New Version of MedImmune Flu Vaccine

MedImmune Inc. has secured FDA approval for a new version of its flu vaccine, FluMist, that requires refrigeration rather than freezing. The new formula, which will be available for the 2007-08 flu season, has been approved for use by healthy people between the ages of five and 49. Because it will be easier to store and distribute from schools, doctors' offices, pharmacies and grocery stores, MedImmune anticipates sales of the vaccine will improve substantially. FluMist was introduced in 2003, but failed to catch on because of the difficulty in handling frozen material. The company forecasts FluMist sales of about 3 million doses this season, but expects that figure to double once the refrigerated version is on the market. An inoculation will cost $16-20. The success of the new formulation will depend largely on MedImmune's success at obtaining FDA approval to give the product to babies and the elderly, a process for which it has filed an application.
• Sources: Reuters, MarketWatch, Bloomberg
• Related commentary: Matrix Asset Advisors Urges Sale of MedImmune, Vanda's Success Pays For MedImmune Investors. Conference call transcripts: Q3 2006
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: MedImmune Inc. (MEDI). Competitors: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:VRX). ETFs: First Trust AMEX Biotechnology Index (NYSEARCA:FBT), Biotech HOLDRs (NYSEARCA:BBH)


Chávez's Latest Ideological Shtick Sends Venezuelan-Related Equities Lower

In a move with shades of Cuba's Castro, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, being sworn in for a second six-year term today, will nationalize at least two industries, telecom and electricity.chavez The news, which broke during afternoon trading in New York yesterday, sent shares of companies with interests in Venezuela sharply lower. Worst affected were Electricidad de Caracas, owned by AES Corp., and C.A. Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, known as CANTV, the country's largest publicly traded company. AES shares fell more than a percent during composite trading yesterday followed by another 4+% fall after hours, while CANTV tumbled more than 14% before trading was halted at 3 PM. Verizon owns a nearly 30% stake in CANTV. According to political commentator Erik Ekvall in Caracas, "Let's call a spade a spade. This is communism. He's clearly saying the state should own the means of production." Two other industries likely to be affected are Energy and Gold miners. Chávez also suggested he would further expand the state's role in the oil industry, while taking a harder line with major oil firms operating in the country including BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Total SA and Statoil ASA. In terms of Gold miners, the Toronto Star reported yesterday that shares of Crystallex International Corp. fell 10% - a direct result Chávez's plans and the uncertainty that now placed the company's ability to secure its Las Cristinas mining permit.
• Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Toronto Star
• Related commentary: Crystallex Plunges on Fears Chavez Will Socialize Venezuelan Mining Industry, Crystallex International Corp: Take Your Money and Run, Venezuela...Chavez...Oil and the Impact on Commodity Prices
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: AES Corp. (NYSE:AES), CANTV (VNT), Crystallex (KRY), BP PLC (BP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Total SA (TOT), Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO)


U.S. Markets: Fed Rate Cuts Aren't Everything
Long Idea: Arbitrage Opportunity in Emerging Markets ETFs?
Short Idea: eBay's Q4 Listings Well Below Estimates - Jaffray
Internet: Why Google Will Kill Node Computing
Telecom: Sprint's Crawl To The Finish Line
Hardware: AMD Positioning Itself For Home Server Market
Consumer Electronics: Microsoft Zune Incompatible With The Company's Music Downloads Standard
Media: Blockbuster vs. Netflix: Playing the Online DVD Rental Market
Healthcare: Abbott Fighting Challenges to Antibiotic
Retail: Can Goldman Sachs Help With a Gap Turnaround?
Transport: LKQ Corp. Turns Trash Into Cash
Gold: Valuing The Galore Creek Mining Project
Energy: The End of El Nino? Watch For a Spike in Natural Gas Stocks
Financial: Closing Out My Mastercard Position: I'd Rather Be Early Than Worried
Asia: Nomura's Individual Investor Survey for January
ETFs: Agile Investing Takes Advantage of Commodities Selloff
Small-Caps: Are ETFs Inflating Small-Cap Stock Prices?
IPO Analysis: An In-Depth Look at Melco PBL Entertainment's IPO
Sound Money Tips: How to Set Up a Home Theater System For Less
Jim Cramer: Latest stock picks

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