Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bond Yields Higher, But So Is Consumer Confidence

Morning News of Note:
  • AAPL: Redesigned iPod nano due this fall Apple Computer has begun assembling plans and aligning suppliers for a redesign of its iPod nano digital music player that will go on sale this fall, AppleInsider has learned. Industry contacts with a solid track record of predicting Apple's future music directions say the company, like last year, is shooting to introduce the player in September. While any comment on the device's external design aesthetics would be premature at this time, early engineering plans from the iPod maker signal a "significant internal redesign," these contacts says. (Full Story) Apple Insider
  • Gas Price Gouging: Bush Aims to Rein In Gas Costs With rising gasoline prices spurring calls for action among worried congressional Republicans, President Bush will respond with a series of measures today aimed at curbing possible market manipulations. In a speech to a renewable-fuels group, Mr. Bush is expected to instruct the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Energy Department to vigorously enforce laws relating to price gouging. (Full Story) WSJ
  • EBAY: SKYPE SINGS FOR DEAL Internet phone giant Skype has reached deals with four major music publishers that will pave the way for it to launch an online music store. The deal, which the companies say is the first of its kind, will allow Skype to license the copyrights from EMI Music Publishing, Warner Chappell, Sony/ATV and MCPS-PRS for downloading and ringtones, as well as for a subscription music service. A formal announcement is expected today. (Full Story) NY Post
  • CMCSA CVC TWX: Heard on the Street... Cable-TV Companies Hold Great Expectations There have been plenty of high-fives in the cable-television industry as major operators prepare to release first-quarter earnings, starting Thursday with Comcast Corp. While the first quarter is typically a good one for operators, this is expected to be one of the best in years in terms of revenue growth and other financial measures for companies such as Comcast, Time Warner Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp. All three are expected to add more subscribers than they have for years, setting the stage for the industry to show an annual gain in customers for the first time since 2002. (Full Story) WSJ
  • Exchange Consolidation: Takeover Talk Spreads To the Italian Exchange The takeover speculation swirling around Europe's stock exchanges has spread to Borsa Italiana SpA, Italy's stock-market operator, as it prepares to sell shares to the public. Earlier this year, initial estimates suggested the company could be valued at €800 million, or almost $1 billion, in an initial public offering later this year. (Full Story) WSJ

Market Comments: The President announced that they will stop adding to the Strategic Reserve for oil, in order to make more available for consumers. But oil is still trading higher, despite the news.

Existing home sales came out better-than-expected, and that has helped push bond yields back near their recent highs (5.04%). Despite rising rates and higher oil and gas prices, the consumer confidence index came in at 109.6 vs. 106.4 consensus. Pretty impressive (or are they just naive?).

The market opened slightly higher, but is now dipping into the red during the first hour of trading. A few oil services companies reported strong earnings this morning, which is helping those stocks. BJS beat estimates by 9 cents and raised guidance.

long BJS, TWX


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