Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday Morning Musings

Morning News of Note:
  • Oil: Heard on the Street... Oil Sector's Next Big Test: 2006 Strong Profits Again Expected, But Challenges Await Industry; Dodging Capitol Hill's Bullet How long will the gusher last? Most oil companies are likely to shatter records when they post fourth-quarter earnings over the next several days. But the market already is looking beyond those results to the challenges the industry will face trying to maintain its boom. (Full Story) WSJ
  • SBUX: Starbucks to Sell Music Downloads for Portable Players The move is a further step by the coffeehouse chain into an industry beset with problems Starbucks Corp., seeking to expand its entertainment business at a time of music industry "chaos," plans to move beyond compact disc sales and CD burning to allow customers to transfer songs onto MP3 portable music players. "A lot of our customers are asking for device fill-up, and going forward we'll do that," Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, said Saturday in an interview at the Midem music-industry conference in Cannes, France. (Full Story) LA Times
  • ATHR BRCM MRVL: Wi-Fi Gets Set to Fly THE ENGINEERS OF THE IEEE endured the rigors of Hawaii last week so they could design you a next generation Wi-Fi. Fighting their way down the beach of Waikoloa, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers established a standard for Wi-Fi wireless networking that will run five times faster than the network you've got now. Mine only pokes along at 54 million bits of data per second. The newly proposed format -- called 802.11n -- will cruise at 300 million bits per second and reach 600 in a sprint. (Full Story) BARRONS
  • GRMN: Digitimes reports Garmin International on January 20 announced that Ford Lio Ho in Taiwan is expanding its program offering a StreetPilot c320 with every Ford vehicle purchased before the Chinese Lunar New Year. The program began in November 2005 with just one model, and has been extended through the end of the Chinese Lunar New Year to include a number of different Ford vehicles, including the Focus, Activa, Tierra, RS Mondeo, Metrostar, and Escape series. Garmin International is a member of the Garmin group of companies, which designs and manufactures navigation, communication and information devices -- most of which are enabled by GPS technology.
  • US Economy: Fed Gov Poole said forecasts for one or two more rate increases are sensible; US economy in balanced position and inflation stable; said anecdotes show economy is good but not gangbusters; sees no precipitous decline in housing // Fed Gov Geithner says US current acct deficit unsustainable, said closing gap could slow growth and riol markets; said substantial cuts in US fiscal deficity needed; sees some risk of slower gorwth in US and globally

Market Comments: The market has found some support after the open, but it is still early. Biotechs are weak this am, while brokers are strong. Everything else is pretty mixed.

Oil is trading down to just below $68, and bond yields are up to 4.38%.

Ford just announced that it will no longer give any guidance, quarterly or annual, to analysts. The company is announcing some major restructuring plans today. I hope they help, as Ford is badly in need of something to help them compete.


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