Under The Radar News - Wednesday

by: SA Eli Hoffmann
  • Anyone need $10B? The three largest Japanese investment banks have pooled about $10B in cash, and say they're open to talks with any struggling Wall Street bank looking for a cash infusion.
  • Canada's banks could split with BoC. In a move that could destabilize Canada's monetary policy, certain banks are considering freezing their prime interest rates despite an expected rate cut by the Bank of Canada. Bankers say matching the BoC's expected 0.25% cut may add to their woes in the midst of a credit-market crunch.
  • How U.S. banks lure deposits. U.S. banks such as Wachovia (NASDAQ:WB), Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are scrambling for deposits by offering attractive deposit rates, even as the Fed continues to cut interest rates.
  • Search vs. social networking. A new report says Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and rival search engines may lose advertising revenue to social-networking sites such as Facebook, as businesses shift their marketing focus to profit from the social networking boom. Social networks pushed 7.7% of all internet traffic to other websites, making them the second-most important source of traffic behind search engines.
  • Reaching out for China Life(line). Several U.S. financial firms have inquired whether China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) would like to invest in them. CHL wants to spread its wings Westward, but says it will be prudent in its ventures.
  • iPhone won't hit iPhone goals. Based on yesterday's report that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sold 4M iPhones in its first 200 days, the company seems all but guaranteed to miss its original target of 10M in its first year. [Editor: Kudos to commentors User 140676 and Reagan who correctly note that Apple's stated goal was 10M iPhones by the end of 2008. Reagan says that they are presently on track to sell over 12M.]
  • PG milking Folgers. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) has been hired by Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) to spin off its Folgers coffee brand. Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) remains advisor to PG on a broader strategic review that includes Pringles, Duracell and Folgers. Folgers may draw interest from Sara Lee (SLE).
  • American Express's India hurdles. American Express (NYSE:AXP) wants to sell its India banking unit to Standard Chartered, and run its credit card operation in India through a non-banking finance unit, but India's Reserve Bank opposes the idea. AXP may consider selling its India credit card business to Standard Chartered.
  • DRAM: Bottoms up? After falling as low as $0.91, prices of branded DDR2 512Mb memory is close to re-attaining the 'not-so-magic' price of $1.
  • New Celeron. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will deliver a 2GHz dual core Celeron processor some time in the next few months. It will be priced at $53. If AMD's (NASDAQ:AMD) only niche is the low end market, will Phenoms soon come in cereal boxes?
  • Lost driver? Due to driver issues, AMD (AMD) will only launch its next-generation IGP chipset, RS780, in China later this month. Other countries will get a look once the drivers are ready.
  • Weyerhauser looses bidders. Weyerhaeuser’s (NYSE:W) sale of its containerboard business may have lost two key bidders, Packaging Corporation of America (NYSE:PKG) and Georgia-Pacific. Potential bidders include Smurfit-Stone (NYSE:SSCC), Temple-Inland (NYSE:TIN) and International Paper (NYSE:IP).
  • $1B infrastructure fund. General Electric (NYSE:GE), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development want regulatory approval to start a $1B infrastructure fund.
  • Big Brother in the workplace? Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is developing software that will remotely monitor a worker’s productivity and competence. The system links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure.
  • More housing weakness to come. A survey released today shows that the likelihood of home price declines increased in 39 of 50 metropolitan areas, and fell in none.
  • Car loans - next fiasco? The next dilemma for the stumbling financial sector could be rapidly rising default rates on auto loans. Lenders that appear to have let standards slip include AmeriCredit (ACF) and Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG).
  • BHP stalls in SA. BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) has reached an impasse with the South African government over the conversion of the company's exploration leases to new-order mining rights.
  • Infosys subsidiary to land big deals. Infosys BPO (NASDAQ:INFY) said it expects to sign four outsourcing deals over the next 3-6 months, worth $50M-$150M. The company said it recently signed several small deals worth $5M-$7M each.
  • Yahoo exodus continues. Vince Broady is the latest exec. to leave Yahoo (YHOO). Broady's projects included Brand Universe (creator of website for entertainment brands including Star Wars). Dozens of executives have left Yahoo over the past year.

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