Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Morning

US stocks are down slightly about 45minutes into trading. No massive news driving the downside, just a bit of profit taking after recent pushes to 52week highs. Weakest among the DJIA stocks is Home Depot(HD). Despite beating revenue and earnings expectations and boosting forward guidance above consensus, shares are off 3.2%.

Bloomberg takes a look at Warren Buffett's recent purchases, including a stake in Exxon (XOM) and Travelers (TRV).
“Exxon has probably the lowest cost structure in the industry, which I know is attractive to Buffett,” said Philip Weiss, a senior analyst at Argus Research Corp. “No matter where oil prices go, Exxon always fares better.” Stock picks by Buffett, the second-richest American, are watched by mutual funds and individuals looking for clues about his investment strategy. Berkshire’s biggest stockholding is an investment in Coca-Cola Co. worth about $10.7 billion. The firm’s holding in Walmart rose 90 percent in the third quarter and is valued at about $2 billion.

Good LORD. Bought a moderately priced three bedroom home recently? You could have bought the Detroit Silverdome!
Pontiac --Nearly 35 years after taxpayers spent $55.7 million building the Pontiac Silverdome and a year after a $20 million sale fell through, city officials have sold the arena once called the most desirable property in Oakland County.

The price: $583,000.

Demonstrating incredible poor customer service, big banks are losing private wealth clients to smaller competitors.
“They have a managed portfolio to sell and then it’s sell it and forget it,” said Rose, 56, who had an investment account with the New York-based bank that charged 1 percent of assets and was underperforming the market. “It’s too late to get my business back.”

Billionaire Leon Black may be quietly amassing a stake in Foxwoods' casino debt.
The casino -- the country's largest -- has been teetering on the brink of default for months, buffeted by a recession that has curbed gambling spending as well as stiffening competition. Last year, in an effort to deal with shrinking profits, the tribe axed hundreds of Foxwoods employees, and cut benefits for tribal members, including their pay.

Nice work! Microsoft gets aggressive against software piracy.
More than 20 million subscribers use Xbox Live to play against each other, and buy and download games, movies and other content. Users of the modified consoles were able to avoid paying for games on Xbox Live, where they can cost $40 and up. The sweep was waged through Microsoft's all-seeing servers with the help of tracking devices, and was timed to catch the maximum number of culprits as gamers swarmed onto Xbox Live to get the new release "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Ah the NYTimes. While their Op-ed's cheer the efficiency of dictatorial rule, the business section is now lamenting the rigths of shareholders to vote on mergers?
The reason is that, unlike in the United States, British takeover law essentially handcuffs the board of a target company from doing anything to block a deal. No poison pills. No staggered boards. No changing the shareholder vote date. The potential for a C.E.O. or entrenched board to block a deal — or otherwise act in its own self- interest — is virtually nil. In other words, England is as close as any country gets to a true shareholder democracy. Any bid gets put to a vote, and all the board can do is offer an opinion. To many people, this is how the rest of the world should work. “I’m a majority-rules guy,” said Steven N. Kaplan, a finance professor at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. “The U.K. system is better.”

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