Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dow Leads Indexes to New Highs

Morning News of Note:
  • GOOG MSFT YHOO CSCO: Web Firms Are Grilled on Dealings in China Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems came under fire at a House human rights hearing on Wednesday for what a subcommittee chairman called a "sickening collaboration" with the Chinese government that was "decapitating the voice of the dissidents" there. The statements by the chairman, Representative Christopher Smith, Republican of New Jersey, opened a much-anticipated session aimed at getting an accounting of the companies' dealings in China, and to air criticism that they do business there at the peril of human rights. (Full Story) NY Times
  • XOM: Exxon's Reliance On Qatar Field Raises Concerns Exxon Mobil Corp. replaced more fossil fuel than it pumped from the ground in 2005, but for the second consecutive year almost all of the additions came from a single natural-gas field in the Persian Gulf country of Qatar, raising questions about the diversification of the company's reserves. The disclosure from the world's biggest publicly traded oil company marked the latest sign that the energy industry, despite recently announced blockbuster profits, faces a long-term challenge. (Full Story) WSJ
  • DELL: Lowering the Bar The good news today is that everybody expects Dell Inc. to top analysts' estimates when it reports results. The bad news? Everybody expects Dell to top the estimates when it reports results. Back in the 1990s, when Dell was growing like gangbusters, investors took it as a given that it would beat estimates, because the fast-growing computer company's results tended to be better than investors' already-elevated expectations. (Full Story) WSJ
  • AMZN AAPL: Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iPod In recent years, Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has explained his company's deliberately paced approach to the digital-music business by saying he wants to avoid simply imitating the dominant player in the field, Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store. Now Amazon, the world's No. 1 online retailer, is in advanced talks with the four global music companies about a digital-music service with a range of features designed to set it apart. (Full Story) WSJ
  • Mad Money Summary: Jim Cramer discussed Crocs (CROX), a shoe company that went public last week, on his show last night. He believes the stock should be trading at $35, which means seven points of upside from its close last night, because the company sells "a stylish product that's in demand and doesn't have a lot of competition." Cramer also suggested Viisage (VISG), which makes facial-feature identification equipment. He feels the company made two smart moves, acquiring Identix (IDNX), which is "by far the best" maker of fingerprint-identification products and SecurtiMetrix, which makes a product for identifying irises. In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Nabors (NBR), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Schering-Plough (SGP), Alcan (AL), Valueclick (VCLK), Tom Online (TOMO), Autozone (AZO), FTI Consulting (FCN), Optionsxpress (OXPS), Chesapeake Energy (CHK) preferred shares only, Goldcorp (GG), Graco (GGG), Martek (MATK), Grey Wolf (GW) and Sirius (SIRI), and was bearish on Answerthink (ANSR), Southwest Air (LUV), Alberto-Culver (ACV) and Mannatech (MTEX).

Market Comments: The market didn't wait for Bernanke. It rallied in the day leading up to his testimony, and then added to its gains yesterday. I found his comments to be mixed, rather than definitively hawkish or dovish.

Energy stocks are getting a bit of a bounce this morning. There has been a lot of damage to that group, at least from a technical standpoint. I want to let these stocks build some bases, but then I want to revisit the oil services names and infrastructure plays.



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