Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Monday Morning Musings

Morning News of Note:
  • ANF: Towering Over Retail Rivals Abercrombie & Fitch, helped by shifts in its strategy, saw holiday sales jump while other apparel stores dragged. With the holidays behind them, retailers get serious about clearance sales in January — posting signs in their windows that shout 50% off and more. But at the Abercrombie & Fitch store at the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles a few days after New Year's, nothing was on sale. Nothing. The "too-cool-for-school" retailer, as one customer calls it, took a similar approach the day after Thanksgiving, offering sparse discounts on one of the most ferociously competitive shopping days of the year. (Full Story) LA Times
  • TWX: For Icahn, Fielding a Team May Be as Tough as Playing the Game At a lunch for the American Film Institute in Los Angeles on Friday, the tableside chatter was about more than who might snag a Golden Globe Award on Monday. The other gossip concerned who in the room - and in the entertainment business - had received a call about being on Carl C. Icahn's slate of proposed Time Warner directors, according to an executive who attended the event. (Full Story) NY Times
  • AAPL: More Polish Likely for Apple OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, shares of Apple Computer have risen eightfold, pushing the stock to an all-time high and lifting the company's market cap to more than $70 billion. Like Google, Apple has befuddled Wall Street's attempts to predict its financial performance or strategic direction, but instead has continued to delight believers with remarkable performance. Some on the Street have grown nervous. But it's too early to call the top. (Full Story) BARRONS
  • BKS SBUX: Books and Brew Insiders Sell Stock MR. AVERAGE JOE IS READING more books while guzzling down cups of premium coffee. This is good news for insiders at Barnes & Noble and Starbucks, who are taking advantage of strong stock price gains to do a little sipping off the top of the cup. Last week, five Barnes & Noble sold 1.1 million shares for $47.4 million following options exercises, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. (Full Story) BARRONS
  • Mad Money Summary: Jim Cramer said Friday on his show that he sees US Steel (X) as a takeover target. He sees the company as a takeover target as three other companies are about to bid for Dofasco, a Canadian company that is the same size and in the same business as US Steel. Cramer did not that Us Steel is not worth owning if it is not a potential takeover target. Responding to a callers question on which stocks were good carbon fiber plays, he said to be careful when investing in carbon fiber but did recommend Cabot (CBT). Cramer believes it is time for International Securities Exchange (ISE) to catch up as the options market grew about 17%, which is faster than the equity market. Cramer also added the seventh and last member to his "Seven Samurai," Matsushita Electric Industrial (MC) as the company is making itself strong in the flat-screen market. Responding to mail, Cramer said that JDSU (JDSU) is growing faster than CMGI (CMGI) as CMGI has not turned around. Cramer agreed with one viewer’s mail who said that shares of Occidental Petroleum (OXY) was very cheap. Cramer said that he would stay away from shares of Guangshen Railway (GSH) as he was bearish on the Chinese equity market altogether. Cramer commended a viewer on Matria Healthcare (MATR) as there is still upside due to the rise in diabetes. Cramer said that Under Armour (UARM) still has upside and can make you money. (friday)

Market Comments: The market is under selling pressure this morning, following declines in Japan over a raid of a popular internet company. Oil is trading sharply higher over concerns out of both Nigeria and Iran. And bond yields are slightly higher at 4.37%.

Earnings season starts in earnest this week, with INTC and YHOO reporting tonight. WFC and NCC reported this morning, with the former coming in a penny light and the latter beating by 8 cents. Not bad considering the worrisome sentiment for the banking sector.

WMT and TGT both maintained their sales forecasts. And BSX again upped its bid for GDT.



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