Weekend Headlines: New Cancer Drugs and the Ethanol Boom

Includes: GSK, PFE, WYE
by: Between the Hedges

From Between the Hedges:

Weekend Headlines

- GlaxoSmithKline’s(NYSE:GSK) experimental pill Tykerb helped stall advanced breast cancer in a study of women not helped by Genentech’s(DNA) big-selling therapy, Herceptin.
- New drugs from Pfizer(NYSE:PFE) and Wyeth(WYE), given as an initial treatment for advanced kidney cancer, may help patients live longer, two large international studies show.
- Alan Garcia defeated Ollanta Humala in a presidential run-off vote in Peru, returning to power two decades after he led the Andean country to a debt default and annual inflation of 8,000%, according to an early count of the vote.
- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed Iran’s threats to disrupt energy supplies in a confrontation over its nuclear program, saying the Persian Gulf country is too dependent on revenue from oil.
- Investors from Goldman Sachs to Bill Gates are crowding into the ethanol market as oil prices surge (.pdf), betting that this boom, unlike the last one, won’t be followed by a bust.
- Crude oil is rising to the highest in more than three weeks in NY after Iran said action against its nuclear research program risks disrupting shipments from the Persian Gulf.
- Copper is headed for a record plunge, perhaps as much as 25% in a day, said John Tumazos, the Prudential Equity Group LLP analyst who made Institutional Investor magazine’s quarterly All-America Research Team 40 times. Copper doubled in the past year on betting by speculators, the 50-year-old Tumazos said. The volatility of copper the past 10 weeks is the highest in history, according to Bloomberg.

NY Times:
- An Indiana town of 533 residents is trying to power itself entirely with renewable energy sources such as corn and pig manure.

Washington Post:
- More than 102,000 Massachusetts children will hear advertisements on an audio program during their morning rides to school later this year as part of a package offered by BusRadio.

San Francisco Chronicle:
- Sun Microsystems’(NASDAQ:SUNW) recent elimination of its so-called “poison pill” could indicate the maker of computer servers is preparing for a sale.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung:
- DaimlerChrysler AG will sell Smart mini-cars in the US next year.

- The value of goods traded on EBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) European auction sites will surpass US sales in the “not too distant future,” Meg Whitman, the company’s CEO, told the magazine.

- Indonesia’s government wants taxis operating in the capital of Jakarta to use compressed natural gas in their vehicles by the end of this year.

Kyodo News:
- Yoshiaki Murakami, who leads a $3 billion investment fund in Japan, is expected to be arrested as early as tomorrow over possible insider trading of shares in Nippon Broadcasting System.

Arab News:
- Saudi Arabia and five other Arab nations urged Iran to cooperate with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog and called for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
- At least 10 million people have been affected by the declines this year in Persian Gulf stock markets including Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index has plunged more than 40% since reaching a record on Feb. 25.

Middle East Economic Digest:
- Saudi Aramco plans to build a 25.5 mile causeway in the Persian Gulf to help boost oil output from its Manifa field by 900,000 barrels a day.
- Chevron Corp.(NYSE:CVX), Angola’s largest oil producer, expects to spend $2.2 billion increasing Angolan oil production by 40% over the next two years.

Weekend Recommendations
- Had positive comments on (NASDAQ:MU), (NYSE:WMT), (NYSE:MGA) and (NYSE:NOC).

Night Trading
Asian indices are -.50% to unch. on average.
S&P 500 indicated -.07%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated -.15%.

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10:00 am EST
- ISM Non-Manufacturing for May is estimated to fall to 60.0 versus a reading of 63.0 in April.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian Indices are mostly lower, weighed down by exporting shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly lower and to rise into the afternoon, finishing mixed.