Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stocks Still Jittery Ahead of Fed Meeting

Morning News of Note:
  • Short Selling: Suits Focus on Street's Role In 'Naked Shorting' Wall Street's biggest securities firms face a pair of civil-antitrust lawsuits over the role they play in the practice of "naked short selling," which can drive down the price of certain stocks. The lawsuits, brought by two trading customers, charge that the Wall Street firms' "prime" brokerage operations, which cater to hedge funds and other professional traders, often charge fees for borrowing stocks without actually borrowing them. (Full Story) WSJ
  • SIRF: With a Cellphone as My Guide Think of it as a divining rod for the information age. If you stand on a street corner in Tokyo today you can point a specialized cellphone at a hotel, a restaurant or a historical monument, and with the press of a button the phone will display information from the Internet describing the object you are looking at. (Full Story) NY Times
  • SBUX: Starbucks faces suit over OT A former Starbucks manager has filed a federal lawsuit against the coffee company, alleging supervisors weren't paid overtime and were forced to work through meal breaks. Steve White, who had worked at Starbucks shops in Concord and Walnut Creek, said the company owes him and other managers unpaid wages plus interest and compensation for working "off the clock" and missing meal and rest periods. (Full Story) SF Chronicle
  • AAPL: At Apple, Secrecy Complicates Life But Maintains Buzz Apple Computer Inc. generates buzz for its new products by obsessively enforcing a strict secrecy policy. But the policy can sometimes leave partners, big customers and even employees in the dark. Consider Hewlett-Packard Co.'s recent experience. In early 2004, H-P cut a deal to repackage Apple's iPod digital music player and sell it with the H-P label. (Full Story) WSJ
  • GS: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it received a banking branch license in South Korea, paving a way for the global investment bank to expand into foreign exchange and lending and deposit operations. "We will now be able to provide our corporate and institutional clients in Korea with foreign exchange, interest rate and related products," said J. Michael Evans, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia. The license, which has been approved by the Financial Supervisory Commission, allows Goldman Sachs to provide the diversified banking business through Goldman Sachs International Bank. Goldman Sachs has been providing mainly investment-banking services to Korean corporations and institutions since the 1970s. - WSJ
  • WFC: Wells Fargo-WFC raises dividend, announces 2-for-1 stock split. WFC raised its quarterly divident to 56c from 52c. Both the cash dividend and the stock dividend are payable to stockholders of record at the close of business August 4, 2006. The stock dividend will be distributed August 11, 2006

Market Comments: The market has opened on a positive note, which is what we saw yesterday before that ugly reversal. Let's hope we don't have a repeat performance today.

Tech is the weakest group this morning, as semis are down again and weighing on the overall sector. Banks and brokers are doing well, and then energy complex is mostly positive as well.

My guess is that most people do not expect the market to rally today ahead of the FOMC meeting. Normally, we would be talking about quarter-end window dressing, and pre-holiday (4th of July) seasonality. But the Fed announcement is overshadowing those things for now. Couldn't they have just scheduled their meeting next week? LOL.



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