Friday, August 31, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures up this morning as good things are expected from Bernanke’s speech on monetary policy today.  The rumor is that he’ll announce, again, that the Fed stands ready to address any and all liquidity or economic problems.  Following Bernanke at 10am, GWB speaks at 11am on “a number of initiatives and reforms intended to help homeowners with subprime mortgages keep their homes.”

Further, core PCE was up only 0.1% for July, which was lower than the expected 0.2% gain.  Thus the year-over-year increase in what amounts to the Fed’s favorite inflation measure is only at 1.9%.  

DELL reported good numbers.  Oil spiked up over $74.  10 year note yields 4.56%.

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: FDC deal could close as early as Tuesday according to dR, IFX reaches terms with CFO on termination,

Vito’s Trivia:  Last beverage question – Name the top 5 coffee drinking countries, per capita.  

Yesterday’s Answer:  Wine consumption, per capita – 1) Italy 2) France 3) Switzerland 4) Austria 5) Denmark.  USA is 14th

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures looking lower this morning as the market swings continue to be slightly exaggerated by a lack of overall liquidity.  

This morning’s chatter includes speculation as to whether the Fed will cut at Sept 18th’s meeting.  Also, WSJ reports KKR is negotiating the terms of the $24B loans to finance FDC.  

Bernanke speaks tomorrow on monetary policy at a conference in Wyoming.  Supposedly the text will be released at 10am ET.

LEHM cut numbers on several brokers this morning (MS, MER, GS, BSC).  Freddie Mac reports 45% drop in earnings and posts $320mm loss on new mortgages.  H&R Block announced Q1 losses doubled.

Also there’s apparently a bankruptcy filing by an Aussie hedge fund that is prompting some Yen carry trade unwinding.  

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: WCHV positive on CVS, RTP completes $40B term loan to finance AL acq, HTH started at outperform at MOKE, GCO trading slightly lower premkt on earnings, SHLD trading lower premkt on earnings,

Vito’s Trivia:  How about wine consumption, per capita?  Top 5 countries?

Yesterday’s Answer:  Ireland is the largest consumer of beer, per capita, in the world.  Followed by Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Denmark.  USA ranks 8th

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures are up this morning and showing some life after yesterday’s slow downward slide.  News is light once again.

Yesterday’s slide represents a lack of liquidity more than anything.  It simply makes no sense that the Fed minutes had anything to do with the sell-off:  the Fed cut the discount rate on August 17th.  That is the relevant thinking and attitude.  August 7th’s minutes simply represent what the Fed used to think.  Thus there should have been minimal impact yesterday.  More likely that State Street selling off nearly 5% on asset-backed commercial paper exposure helped take us down.

Expect more choppiness in the mkts as “vacation week” continues.

Oil slightly above $72/barrel and the 10-year note yields 4.52%.  

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: DAI GY trading slightly lower on earnings, more talk of MO spinning off int’l arm

Vito’s Trivia:  Name the top 5 countries ranked by per capita beer consumption.  (Nota bene: data is from 2002)

Yesterday’s Answer:   Andorra (83.52 years) boasts the highest life expectancy at birth, followed by Macau (82.27), Japan (82.02), San Marino (81.8), and Singapore (81.79).  Swaziland suffers the lowest (32.23), most likely due to HIV-related deaths.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures slightly lower this morning in a carry over from yesterday’s action.  Very light news.  FOMC minutes from August  7th  to be released at 2pm.  FOMC minutes probably not relevant at this point since the Fed’s discount rate cut was more recent…  Consumer confidence numbers released at 10am as well.

State Street reportedly faces $22 bln exposure to asset-backed commercial paper conduits; Barclays denies reports suggesting it may have several hundred million dollars of exposure to failed debt; Merrill Lynch downgrades Citigroup, Lehman Bros., & Bear Stearns

Oil rallied to top $72 yesterday but has drifted to $71.60 this morning.  10-year note yields 4.57%. 

Announced Deals:  MHS for PLMD ($53/share or $1.4B).

Rockbay News: TOG CN started at outperform at RAJA, Barron’s highlights BKD insider buying, ALC reiterated buy at JEFF -- $11 target, Trian signs confidentiality agreement with WEN,

Vito’s Trivia:  According to the CIA 2007 Factbook, which country boats the highest life expectancy at birth?  The lowest?  (Life expectancy at birth is defined as the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures.)

Yesterday’s Answer:   Columbia (.62 per 1000 people) has the highest per capita murder rate in the world, followed by South Africa (.5 per 1000), Jamaica (.32 per 1000), Venezuela (.31 per 1000), and Russia (.2 per 1000).  USA ranks 24th at .043 per 1000. 

Monday, August 27, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures looking slightly lower on a relatively slow “vacation-week” Monday.  

HD Supply sale terms lowered.  Spooking the LBO markets a bit.  

Existing home sales data at 10am.  Oil hanging just above $70. 

Announced Deals:  X acq STE CN for C$38.50/share ($1.1B).  Acer for Gateway ($710mm).

Rockbay News: NRG declares preferred tock dividends, NY Times reports Altria may spin-off int’l business, CON GY makes positive comments on synergies with Siemens VDO unit, Turkey’s Competition Board approves sale of Intergum to CBRY LN, BARD neutral on GCO – merger with FINL on schedule, Aussie paper reports incoming BHP CEO does not see AA acq as part of his strategy, Barron’s article on recent loose credit terms that helped lead to current credit crunch, RTP wins antitrust approval for AL deal, HD Supply unit priced for 18% less than original terms, RBS to lower ABN terms according to De Telegraaf, JEFF positive on ALC buyback, UBS positive on CEG restructuring

Vito’s Trivia:  What country has the highest (per capita) murder rate?

Yesterday’s Answer:   Closing movie lines… 1) Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (Casablanca)  2) Go – proclaim liberty throughout all the lands, and to all the inhabitants thereof. (The 10 Commandments)  3) Can you dig it? (Superfly)  4) I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. (Shawshank Redemption)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures up as BofA injects $2B into CFC.  Also, the Bank of Japan left its key rate unchanged at 0.50% and has given a boost to Asian markets.  

FT reports Home Depot’s sale of its wholesale supply division to PE firms is in doubt due to uncertainty over banks willingness to find the deal.  Ford also comments that US economic conditions make its turnaround plan very difficult.   

Several big banks made nominal use of the discount window to set an example for others to make use of the liquidity. 

CFC upgraded at WCHV.  TOL upgraded at JMP.   DB downgraded at GSCO.  

Oil remains below $70.  Ten year note yields 4.67%.

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: UBS upgrades MEE to buy on valuation, EXH initiated hold at CITI, JPMS expects PMI spin-off from MO to be announced Aug 29th at shareholder meeting, JOYG upgraded at UBS, UBS cut estimates and Px target following AKE FP earnings,

Vito’s Trivia:  Name the movie from its closing line… 1) Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  2) Go – proclaim liberty throughout all the lands, and to all the inhabitants thereof.  3) Can you dig it?  4) I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Yesterday’s Answer:   Name the bird…  Carmine Bee-eater  California Condor  Emu

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures are up again as the market continues its recent resilience and stabilization.  Negative news headlines regarding subprime, credit, and hedge fund blowups are slowing down, although the MBA reported a 5.5% decline in mortgage apps for the week ending Aug 17th.

WSJ reports AMTD and EFTC are talking merger.  NMX is still prominent in merger chatter.  TOL trading up slightly premkt on earnings.

10 year note yields 4.65% and Oil is below the psychological $70 level.   

Announced Deals:  Dubai World acq 9.5% stake in MGM Mirage for $5B

Rockbay News:  BEST sees CBRY LN beverage division demerger as worth GBP 6B, LYO investor sues over deal price, TOC initiated with a buy rating at DBAB – positive on RTR acq and upgrades RTR to buy, Dutch provinces look to block RBS bid for ABN Amro, Siemens AG and IFX to form joint-venture for development and production of semi-conductors, WSJ reports insider buying in AV, MIR reit buy at BofA – calls POM block sale an attractive entry point – second block of 6mm shares to follow next week, LEHM lowers ALC px tgt to “reflect the recent change in sentiment for the group and the absence of the real estate premium,”  LDHB MK shareholders approve spin-off and DBAB reiterates Buy

Vito’s Trivia:  Name the bird…   

Yesterday’s Answer:   300 Spartans led by King Leonidas defended a narrow pass and held off Xerxes The Great’s Persian Army at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, killing an estimated 25,000 men. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures looking slightly up this morning, despite continued bank and subprime worries.  Capital One announced yesterday that it would close GreenPoint Mortgage and take an $860mm charge.  German Bank West LB warns of a crisis in Germany’s banking sector.  Speculation of a UK insurer going under.  Despite the “feel,” futures are hanging in and the mkts are showing some resilience.   

China’s central bank raises lending rates.  Staples reported in-line.  BJ’s beat numbers. 

Oil trading with a $70-handle.  Ten-year note yields 4.59%. 

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: VMED CEO departs, DJO receives FDA approval for bone growth products, BEST positive on AA on recent pullback, BEST cuts CBRY LN on demerger assumption rather than sale of bev unit, London Times reports Barclays falling share price may cost it AB Amro bid,  UBS reduces MEH stake, GSCO reinstates FL with neutral rating and cautious outlook, Highland Capital discloses 22% stake in ICOG, Hanover and Universal Compression become EXH, EXH announces $200mm share buyback and completes debt refinancing, Taiwan Mobile (3045 TT) reiterated buy at CITI, NRG and RRI initiated with Buy rating at Calyon, THI downgraded to neutral at GSCO, MMI investments reduces DJO stake to 4.8% from 9.4%,

Vito’s Trivia:  What occurred at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC?

Yesterday’s Answer:   Recently deceased Merv Griffin was the male actor who took part in the first open-mouthed kiss in cinematic history in 1953.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures slightly up this morning on the back of Friday’s strength and Asia’s rebound.  Very little news as the markets continue to digest Friday’s Fed action.  Most agree that it seems to have been a very precise cut that specifically targeted troubled banks and perhaps supports the current markets rather than propels them.  In other words, the Fed’s action was not necessarily bullish, but rather reduces downside risk for the markets.  Further, had the Fed Funds rate been cut, the markets may not have reacted kindly to what could have been interpreted as a panic move.  In the current scenario, however, Bernanke has done something useful in the near-term while also buying time until Sept 18th’s Fed meeting.  He has tipped his hand slightly, and should he cut the Fed Funds rate then, the reaction will surely be more orderly and controlled.   

WSJ reports that CITI’s sale of $1.5B if bonds later today relative to GE’s plastics division will be closely watched to properly gauge the health of the credit markets.  

Lowe’s reported good earnings.  The Nasdaq announced exploration of alternatives to divest its 30% stake in LSE.  CFC begins lay-offs.  NY Times reports TRB deal could be in jeopardy. 

Barron’s reports BSC, CFC, and CIT may seek mergers with healthier banks.  Barron’s also reports stocks picked by CNBC's Jim Cramer have underperformed the Dow by 10% and the S&P 500 by 4% over the past two years, according to an analysis by Barron's, and over the past six months, Cramer's picks have been flat or down in relation to the market.  

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: TOG CN cut to mkt perform at BMO – new entity needs few months to prove itself,  DJO receives accreditation from Accreditation Commission for Health Care, UBS stake in CON GY falls to 1.36% from 3%, CON GY CFO calls VDO acq accretive,  Ruediger Grube names to Chrysler board, FINL hires Bain to integrate GCO, EQT started with Buy rating at DBAB – sees sum of the parts worth more than the “whole,” CNX amends dividend policy – increase in dividend expected Sept 30,

Vito’s Trivia:  Any guesses as to which recently deceased actor, entertainer & producer took part in the first open-mouthed kiss in cinematic history?  (1953)

Yesterday’s Answer:   Cashin said this on Friday morning on CNBC:  “Capitulation is when the fear of losing money finally outweighs the fear of looking stupid.” 

Friday, August 17, 2007

Morning Note...

Big news of the morning is the Fed announcement of 50bps Discount Window Rate cut.  It also said it stands ready to act “as needed.”  Lowering this particular rate does not have the effect on other rates that the Fed Funds rate would.  However, it DOES add much needed liquidity to the banking system.  This could be critical for those banks looking to manage mortgage exposure and those collared with the debt from PE deals.  The Fed’s action also helps bolster investor confidence.  Further, remember a Fed Funds rate cut still remains possible – the wording of the release hinted as much.

Futures up sharply off the lows of down nearly 100bps on last night’s Asian sell-off.  S&P futures currently up 2%.

Oil just over $72/barrel.  10 year note yields 4.72%.  

Announced Deals:  TPG to acq MEH for $450mm

Rockbay News: IP forms joint venture with Ilim Group in Russian forest area, CVS cleared by AG and SEC in options-granting investigation, UCO/HC shareholders approve merger – symbol change to EXH, Atlantic Investment reported 5.2% stake in JOYG, ARB signs a services deal with CDL, RBS raises stake in ABN Amro to 4%, FBR reiterates outperform for HCR, MHG NO upgraded at MSDW

Vito’s Trivia:  Art Cashin said this on CNBC this morning:  “…it’s when the fear of losing money finally outweighs the fear of looking stupid.”  What was he talking about?

Yesterday’s Answer:   California, by a wide margin, boasts the most fast food restaurants, followed by Texas, New York, and Florida.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures sharply lower this morning as overseas markets, particularly Asia, are much lower.  Japan -2%, HK -3.3%, Shanghai -2.2%, South Korea -7%, India -4.3%.  Somewhat circular, however, as many of these mkts were off due to our Wednesday performance…  Australian home loan group RHG AU (Ram Homes) also failed to roll over AU$5B in loans…  Plenty of chatter on the Carry trade again – reference the JPY, the NZD, and the TRYJPY for example.

So does the Fed cut?  The issue is, while the financial mkts are suffering, the economy itself seems to be hanging in.  Employment, production, and consumer spending are all up.  Citi is apparently calling for a rate cut today, but what the Fed does is anybody’s guess.

Housing data negative, however.  July housing starts dropped 6% to the lowest level since January 1997.  

Oil off $1.50 and is below $72/barrel.  10-year note yields 4.67%. 

Buckle up for another bumpy ride today.  Negative sentiment and emotion are dominant, and we could be in for an ugly day.   Also, it bears noting that the S&P is off more than 10% from its peak.  Officially sounds like a correction to me.  How much more downside from here??

Announced Deals:  FITB acq FCTR fot $1.09B ($31/share)

Rockbay News: WSJ article on AL remaining independent, DJO deal clears anti-trust, QI started outperform at CSFB, DBAB cautiously positive on CAO 2006 10Q filing, EU to rule on RBS bid for ABN Amro by Sept 19, MSDW positive on DAI GY pullback – thinks company would be buyers here, CITI cautious on CBRY LN – thinks demerger most likely with PE “paralyzed,” WSJ reports KFT seeking buyer for Post cereal biz

Vito’s Trivia:  What state boasts the most fast food restaurants?  

Yesterday’s Answer:   “Stat” is used in the ER because it means immediately.  And presumably has less syllables that saying “ASAP.”  From the latin “statim” for immediately.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures looking lower on the back of AMAT’s earnings warning and general market nervousness.  Which hedge fund blow-up will be announced today?

July core CPI was up 0.2%, which was inline with expectations and has held relatively steady with a 2.2% gain year-over-year.  Thus inflation trends are pretty steady but whether or not this gives the Fed room to lower rates is anybody’s guess.

Oil up over $73/barrel.  10 year note yields 4.70%.  

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News:  Far EasTone (4904 TT) denies merger with New Century InfoComm, NBF positive on TOG CN, DBAB rates LDHB MK Buy on weakness, CITI positive on TXU at these levels, TCI slightly raises stake in RTR LN, CSFB maintains Taiwan Mobile (3045 TT) outperform, CBRY LN spokeswoman says no decision on US beverage unit yet – the Times reports “demerger” most likely as sale of unit has garnered no PE interest, CEN downgraded to neutral on Pershing endorsement of deal at UBS, FDC debt to be held by banks according to Crain’s, FINL/GCO announce early termination of waiting period,

Vito’s Trivia:  Why do ER personnel use the word “Stat?”  What does it mean?

Yesterday’s Answer:   “His presentation was quite abecedarian.  There was a fair amount of oscitation in the room.”  Abecedarian -- 1a: of or relating to the alphabet. b: alphabetically arranged. 2: rudimentary.  Oscitation -- v. yawning or gaping from drowsiness. [from Latin oscitare "to open (like a mouth.)"]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures up this morning on some positive economic news… Total PPI rose 0.6% in July but core PPI rose just 0.1%, which represents the smallest gain in 3 months.  Also, the US trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed to $58.1B in June.  

Most importantly, this morning, no news is good news in the sense that there is no talk of hedge fund blow-ups or subprime issues…  Rather, focus is back on earnings, at least for the moment.

WMT trading lower premkt on earnings, HD trading slightly higher premkt on earnings.  FIG trading lower premkt on earnings.  RFMD upgraded at Citi.  Q upgraded at LEHM.  STJ initiated with buy at THNK.  HOTT announces $40mm buyback. 

MEH seeing competing bid from TPG/Northwest.  Pequot has 8.8% stake and is not convinced TPG deal better than Airtran’s.

TMA is the lastest mortgage casualty – downgrades across the street.   

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: DAI initiated with outperform at CSFB, Mobile Satellite Ventures meets FCC standard for next-gen satellite, UFS removed from conviction list due to lack of near-tern catalyst but maintain buy at GSCO, TXU to split into 3 businesses if KKR/TPG takeout falters – begins roadshow to build support, CSFB cautious on CBRY LN – expects update on beverage biz soon, RBS increases stake in AABA NA to 3.25% to show commitment in takeover offer, GSCO raises estimates for HRZ following tender, UFS downgraded from strong buy at RAJA following earnings, German paper reports STM may be interested in IFX, DFS initiated with equal weight at MSDW, Motient changes name to TerreStar.

Vito’s Trivia:  Word trivia… define the bold words.  “His presentation was quite abecedarian.  There was a fair amount of oscitation in the room.”

Yesterday’s Answer:   The Bank of New York was the first company listed on the NYSE in 1792.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures sharply higher this morning… The ECB added more liquidity to the European markets ($65B), the Bank of Japan followed suit ($5B) and it appears the Fed stands ever-ready to do the same in the US if needed.

July retail sales were up 0.3%, which was in-line with expectations and is a rebound from June’s 0.7% decline.  While somewhat sluggish, retail sales don’t seem to reflect any consumer spending pullback, but rather seasonal behavior.

Continued chatter about quant funds and their recent issues.  Many argue this is an anomaly that is Wall Street and black-box specific and is not a reflection of a broader financial crisis related to the credit markets.

Oil has rallied to above $72/barrel.  10 year note yields 4.83%.  BX trading up $2 on earnings.  Global Alpha conf call at 9am.  One of GSCO’s hedge funds received $3B bail-out…

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: UFS earnings, LGF reports disappointing results, SHLD earnings

Vito’s Trivia:  What was the first listed company on the NYSE?  What year?

Yesterday’s Answer:   The oldest stock exchanges worldwide are the Antwerp Bourse (1460), Lyons Bourse (1506), Toulouse Bourse (1549), Hamburg Bourse (1558) and the London Royal Exchange (1571).   The first publicly traded securities in the US were US Gov’t bonds issued in 1790 to refinance Revolutionary War debt.  

Friday, August 10, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures sharply lower this morning despite the Fed’s injection of some liquidity into the markets.  While having minimal affect at this point, it remains a symbolic gesture that the Fed is alert and willing to step in when and as needed.

Yesterday’s weakness – and subsequent carry-over into today – stemmed from Countrywide Financial announcing that disruptions in the credit markets would more adversely affect earnings than originally thought and the ECB’s addition of liquidity to the markets, which served to indicate the problem in Europe may be larger than initially thought.  

While bargain hunters are beginning to sniff around at these levels, it still feels like there’s more downside correction to come.  

Oil around $70/barrel and the 10-year yields 4.74%.

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: ATLS files to delay 10Q from Jun 30 to Aug 14, S&P raises DAI GY rating to BBB+, MELI IPO priced at 18, DJO downgraded at PIPR on pending takeout, AABA NA down on speculation of everything from Barclays withdrawing to financing concerns, TWP initiates CVS with OW, CITI upgrades UFS to hold from sell on 5-wk 28% drop, Spanish paper reports CVC ready to walk away from Altadis,

Vito’s Trivia:  1) Name two of the five oldest stock exchanges worldwide.  2) What were the first publicly traded securities in the US?

Yesterday’s Answer:   1) "I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years." --Warren Buffett  2) "If a little money does not go out, great money will not come in." --Confucius

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Morning Note...

Very volatile close yesterday.  The market sold off on rumors of a Goldman Sachs conference call (Global Alpha?) yet quickly rallied when Goldman denied the rumor.  The sell-off did, however, indicate that there is still plenty of fear regarding the credit markets…which leads us to this morning…

Futures down sharply as BNP has suspended redemptions from 3 funds due to the inability to accurately price its credit securities.  Goldman rumors continue to circulate.  Subprime and credit fears remain in place.   

Looks to be another volatile day…

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: TCI raises RTR stake to 1.87%, TGT July sales +10.8% but trading down slightly premkt, BKH earnings, VMW IPO range raised to $27-29 at LEHM, QI raised to Buy on recent peer underperformance at GSCO due to short interest, LEHM positive on SCI buyback but sees no catalyst until Q4, JPMC raises estimates on HRZ to reflect recent refinancing, LEHM cautious on BKD after disappointing quarter and lowers tgt to $52, CVS to settle stock-options backdating litigation, MLCO positive on URS on good earnings report, ACS exclusivity agreement with Cerberus to be reinstated today, FBRC upgrades AA on recent sell-off – sees $40 valuation as stand alone or high $40s takeout, AKE FP reports Q2 – trading down with the rest of Europe, SUG earnings – trading in line premkt,

Vito’s Trivia:  Identify the speaker – 1) "I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years." 2) "If a little money does not go out, great money will not come in."

Yesterday’s Answer:   August 8th marked the 9th anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Morning Note...

Nice market rally yesterday on speculation today’s Fed policy statement will include some type of “rescue of the debt markets” verbage.  Whether or not that actually happens is anybody’s guess.  The Fed may simply see the past week or so’s action as nothing more than a shakeout in the credit markets and a necessary market correction.  The Fed tends to value high-level macro analysis, and with 4.6% unemployment, increasing consumer spending, and increased industrial production, they may see no need to address current market action at all.  

Futures flat to slightly lower this morning… expect a slow day leading into the 2:15pm Fed statement.  

Oil back down below $72.  10 year note yields 4.73%.

LUM (mortgage) downgraded across the street.  TMA (mortgage) downgraded.  FIG initiated outperform at Keefe.  HMY (gold) multiple downgraded.   BBY CEO bought $500k of stock at 52-wk-low.  NY Post reports NMX selling NYC HQ ahead of sale of the company,

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: BEST reiterates Peer Perform rating for CVS, JPMC remains positive n NRG after meeting mgmnt, WSJ notes world banks have lined up to fund Imperial buyout of Altadis – positive on debt mkts, AA upped to Buy at DAVN – valuation call, ANR earnings – trading down premkt on light volume, TXU earnings, Third Point reduces MEE stake by 4%, VMED announces extension of sale process due to debt mkt instability, DCX to become DAI Thursday, UCO & UCLP earnings, ATN earnings,

Overseas:
3045 TT            38.3      +.1       +.26%               1736599
823.HK              16.40    +.08      +.49%               24.15MM
9513 JP             4030     +40       +1.00%             1240000
555.HK              1.01      -.01      -.98%               24.77MM
855.HK              4.18      -.52      -11.06%            30.03MM
ALT SM            48.45    +.09      +.19%               3322445
CA FP                51.6      +.57      +1.12%           2392017
CAC FP              57.44    +.64      +1.13%           220052
CBRY LN            570.5    +4.5      +.8 %               8501975
CON GY             96.71    -1.98     -2.01%            1512227
COU-U CN          9.57      --          --         
CP711 TB          11.3      -.1        -.88%               2174700
DAXEX GY          71.31    +.31      +.44%               1448676
DCX GY             64.26    +.07      +.11%               5084341
LDHB MK            9.15      +.05      +.55%               1662300
MNDI LN            459.75  -.75      -.16%               1841308
REZT SS            49.4      +1.8      +3.78%           369531
SCC CN             29.85    --          --         
SX4P                 473.65  -.35      -.07%  
TOG CN             4.20      --          --         
UKX                  6242.60 +53.50  +.86%             755102
VK FP                195.95  --          --                   366204
XEG CN             86.78    --          --         

Vito’s Trivia:  On this date in Africa in 1998?

Yesterday’s Answer:   August 6th marked the 62nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures up this morning on light news flow and stability in the European markets.  No M&A to report, no economic releases, nor earnings of note.  Tomorrow’s Fed policy statement will be closely studied for any signs of possible Fed action given the state of the credit markets.  Lining up as a day of trading on pure emotion and feel, given the lack of news…

Oil just under $75/barrel.  Ten year note yields 4.69%.  VIX closed at 25.16 Friday as choppiness and volatility concerns remain.

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: FBRC positive on ASTSF earnings – raises estimates, NRG rated a buy on weakness at DBAB, former Home Depot CEO Nardelli tabbed to run Chrysler, London Times reports Liberty Global will decide this week on whether or not to enter VMED bidding, HC announces pricing of tender offer for senior notes, FDC commences cash tender offer for $2.2B of debt securities, NY Post reports rift between Martha Stewart and ESL over Kmart sales of her products – she may jump to Macy’s, CA FP raised at JPMC, Altadis raises French cig prices by 6%, IFX plans to reduce its stake in QI to below 50% by 2009 shareholder meeting,

Vito’s Trivia:  On this date in 1945?  

Yesterday’s Answer:   According to various sources, apparently the bullfrog is the only animal that never sleeps…

Friday, August 3, 2007

Morning Note...

Quiet morning thus far.  Futures down slightly.  

July payroll data relatively neutral.  Oil over $77.  10 year note yields 4.75%.

PG beat estimates by 1c and is trading up pre-mkt. AAPL memory chips may be affected by Samsung power outage, AHM to cut staff from 7,000 to 750.  GSCO upgrades banks

Announced Deals: 

Rockbay News: Australian paper reports BHP could still take over RTP, Chrysler/Cerberus deal expected to close today, NRG upgraded at RBC, UBS cuts CBRY LN target to 625p, GSCO ups MNDI LN to Buy on recent sell-off, CEP to acq Newfield Oil & Gas Properties, HRZ upped to Buy at UBSW, Atlas Holdings earnings, CDL upgraded at BofA, EYE upgraded at Citi, TYC upped at JPMC, BBI CEO bot 680,000 shares Monday, HUN block priced at $24.35, Noonday Asset Management reports 5.2% stake in AQNT

Vito’s Trivia:  Name the only animal that never sleeps.

Yesterday’s Answer:   These are three of the most dangerous sharks…
1) Great White  2) Bull Shark  3) Oceanic White Tip

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Morning Note...

Futures up on the back of yesterday afternoon’s late surge into the close.  Mostly good earnings reports this morning are also helping.  DIS & VIA/B had good numbers.  NOK earnings positive – trading up $2.  SBUX trading up on positive earnings.  AAPL, SUNW, HPQ, DELL initiated with Buy at BofA.  DJ upgraded to Equal Weight at LEHM.  MAT to recall a bunch of toys with too much lead paint.  

10 year note yields 4.78%.  Oil off this week’s highs and trading just above $76.  

We seem to be bouncing a bit, or at least stabilizing somewhat, yet volatility remains high and downside risk to credit issues remains in place.  Been an interesting couple of weeks, to say the least.  Don’t think the whipsaw-ing is over yet…

Announced Deals:  DELL acq ASAP Software ($340mm)

Rockbay News: TCI announces 1.76% stake in Reuters, CP711 raised to neutral at GSCO, TA initiated with a buy at ROCH, CVS earnings – trading up premkt, NRG earnings, Blackstone may pull out of VMED auction, CON GY does not rule out selling parts of VDO, WMB earnings – trading up premkt, JEFF lowers ALC target but maintains buy rating, WSJ on CBRY LN possible spin-off of beverage biz versus sale, DBAB files 5.4% stake in Altadis, DJO earnings, RRI earnings – trading down premkt, RTP earnings – trading up, CSFB upgrades MNDI LN to neutral, UBS upgrades VK FP to buy,  COCO initiated outperform at PIPR, REM Holdings reports 23.9% stake in URI, WSJ article about lenders tightening standards, MSDW raises CA FP target

Vito’s Trivia:  Name the sharks.  1)   2)   3)

Yesterday’s Answer:   The biggest shark is the whale shark (Rhincodon or Rhiniodon typus), which can be up to 50 feet (15 m) long. It is a filter feeder and sieves enormous amounts of plankton to eat through its gills as it swims. It is also the biggest fish. The second biggest fish and shark is the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) which is about 40 feet (12.3 m) long and is another filter feeder.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Morning Note...

This week’s “rally” was relatively short-lived as yesterday’s late afternoon sell-off took us right back to last Friday’s closing level.  Yesterday’s sell-off was attributed in part to American Home Mortgages saying it could no longer fund mortgages.  Overnight, seems that Europe and Asia “caught up” with our weakness late yesterday.  Appears Europe has leveled off for the moment, however.  

Futures are down again this morning as the WSJ reports that BSC is seeing huge losses in a third fund (trading down $3 premkt…). 

BX initiated with mkt outperform to buy ratings all over the street… AAPL upgraded at CITI… FIG initiated with buy at DBAB… TWX trading in-line on earnings… RNWK trading in-line on earnings…  Cigna and KFT also had positive earnings.

DOW looking to make counter-bid for ICI LN, which already has received a GBP7.8B bid from AKZOY.

ISM survey of national manufacturing conditions comes at 10am today.  Oil up at $78/barrel.  10 year note yields 4.75%.

Announced Deals:  DJ & NWS announce signing of merger agreement

Rockbay News: CITI midly positive on AL earnings, RRI upgraded with $32 tgt at MSDW, CON GY CFO sees no financing risk in Siemens VDO purchase, Chrysler financing package closes with higher than normal discount to debt investors, CA FP denies bidding for Turkey’s Migros, Dolan Media IPO closes noon today, FT reports CBRY LN will spin off US bev business if no suitors found, MNDI LN earnings, CON GY earnings, Imperial to borrow EU14B to finance Altadis purchase, PPS CEO denies buyout rumors, RAJA positive on PPS, MLCO cautious on TXU considering largest shareholder to vote no – discounts theory of banks paying break-up fee, JEFF positive on ALC earnings

Vito’s Discovery Channel “Shark Week” Trivia:  What is the largest shark?  2nd largest?

Yesterday’s Answer:   Florida averages the highest number of annual shark attacks worldwide.