"Economy is half the battle of life; it is not so hard to earn money as to spend it well." - Charles H. Spurgeon
Morning News of Note:
- Hydbrids: Free Parking for Hybrids Drivers of hybrid cars are being offered a range of lucrative benefits -- from tax breaks to free parking -- in return for buying one of the fuel-efficient vehicles. The most recent additions are in two major bills currently awaiting President Bush's signature. A bill designed to boost energy production also replaces a federal tax deduction for buying a hybrid with a more generous tax credit that theoretically could total as much at $3,400. A separate highway-construction bill gives states the right to open high-occupancy-vehicle lanes to hybrids even if there's only one person in the car. (Full Story) WSJ
- NOK: Nokia's Design Chief Stakes Reputation On an $800 Phone In the late 1990s, Frank Nuovo was responsible for designing the phones that helped make Nokia Corp. the world's biggest cellphone company by sales. But in the past few years, with Mr. Nuovo as its chief of design, the company has slipped badly, missing some key style trends. Now, Mr. Nuovo, 44 years old, is getting another chance, and to succeed he must counter one of the biggest threats to Nokia's dominance: a resurgent Motorola Inc., whose sleek Razr V3 is a massive hit. Motorola sold more than five million Razr units world-wide since it came on the market last fall -- a huge number for a $500 handset. (Full Story) WSJ
- SIRI: STERN INKS PAY-TV DEAL, COULD CAUSE SIRIUS PAIN Howard Stern formally announced a deal with In Demand yesterday to put portions of his new satellite radio show on pay-per-view TV without bleeps and naughty-bit-hiding pixelation - unlike the carefully-scrubbed version that aired on the E! cable channel. That could be trouble for Sirius Satellite Radio if many of Stern's young male fans pass on paying $13 a month (plus the satellite radio) to hear naked strippers play "butt bongo" when they can see them for just $10 a month on their plain old TV. (Full Story) NY Post
- YHOO: Yahoo Introduces Search Service for Music Hankering for a little yodeling? Yahoo has introduced a test version of a new search service that it claims can comb through 50 million music, voice and other audio files. Yahoo is hardly the first search engine to offer audio search. Lycos, Singingfish from AOL and even AltaVista, which Yahoo bought, offer search engines that can seek out audio files. (Full Story) NY Times
- ELY: Callaway Golf Receives a Second Buyout Offer A second bidder has teed up an offer for Callaway Golf Co., increasing the chances that the world's largest club manufacturer will be taken private, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Bain Capital Inc., a Boston-based investment firm, and MacGregor Golf, one of the oldest names in golf equipment, put a joint, all-cash offer on the table a week ago that values Callaway, best known for its Big Bertha line of clubs, at as much as $1.24 billion, sources said. (Full Story) LA Times
Market Comments: The market is opening down this morning, after disappointing retails sales reports. Same-store sales figures were released this morning, and are being perceived as somewhat negative. Several companies missed consensus figures, and most of the stocks are trading lower (CHS, URBN, ANF, TGT, etc.). Cable stocks are trading higher this am, as are most energy-related names.
It remains to be seen if the recent resiliency will return late in the day.