"Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into genius." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Morning News of Note:
- Oil Bubble: Cheaper Oil May Not Sink Energy Stocks FOR NERVOUS NELLIES WORRIED ABOUT how to invest in energy if the latest oil price bubble bursts, the past may be prologue. In 2001, a recession helped crude prices drop 26%. And while the economy today is still growing at about 3% a year, the sharply higher costs of running a car, heating a home and delivering goods could crimp consumer spending. (Full Story) BARRONS
- VZ: Verizon Introduces Fiber Optic TV Service Verizon Communications began taking orders yesterday for its new television service, which the company hopes will draw business away from cable and satellite providers. As part of a national strategy, about 9,000 Verizon customers in Keller, Tex., 30 miles west of Dallas, will be the first to subscribe to the television service, called FiOS TV. (Full Story) NY Times
- MSFT: Battling Google, Microsoft Changes How It Builds Software Delay in New Windows Version Drove Giant to Develop Simpler, Flexible Product Engineers Get Trip to 'Bug Jail' Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates's office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows. "It's not going to work," Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman. The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly. (Full Story) WSJ
- WFMI: Whole Foods Plans New Store Concept Whole Foods Market Inc. said Thursday that it was set to open its first "lifestyle" store in California in late October, with plans to sell clothing, housewares and hemp curtains — everything, it seems, except food. The new store concept from Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, the leading U.S. natural and organic food retailer, will make its debut on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. (Full Story) LA Times
- IPG: Ad-Industry Secret Comes to Light Interpublic's Restatement Highlights a Pay Practice That Is Common Overseas Interpublic Group is about to shed light on one of Madison Avenue's better-kept secrets. As part of an effort to put its financial house in order, the New York advertising holding company is set to open the books on a little-known but common ad-industry practice overseas that benefits some ad firms at the expense of their clients. In exchange for large orders for ad space or commercial time, ad-agency media buyers placing the orders sometimes receive cash back from the television networks and publications getting that business, according to ad-industry people (Full Story) WSJ
Market Comments: The market opened under a bit of pressure, despite Rita being downgraded to a category 4 and oil trading back down below $66. Maybe there is still a lot of worry about what will transpire over the weekend. The early put/call ratio opened well below 1.0, so that's not helping.
Mortgage stocks are getting whacked on the earnings warning from NEW. Energy stocks are also lower across the board, signaling a potential top in the group. I know that short sellers have been active in this space, betting that Rita won't be as bad as feared and that oil will fall further.