Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Few Weekend Thoughts

Back in early December when it appeared that it was going to stay unusually warm, this blog warned that the weather would throw many economic indicators out of kilter. The Sunday NY Times has an interesting write up on how the warmth has enabled us to borrow from future prosperity. Read Here. The paper makes a good point.

Redherring has been talking about private equity and who they might buy. Dell, Yahoo, EMC? Read Here.

Crude Oil - As you might expect the leaders of Venezuela and Iran are calling for more OPEC production cuts to stop the slide in crude oil (read about it here). In this report, Chavez claims his country alone will cut production by 500k bpd starting in Feb link. And so far this weekend, no word of a decision for OPEC to hold an emergency meeting.

John Maulden has a great column on whether oil should be at $70 or $40 and wraps it all up: Click Here. As my chart from Friday night shows, there is room for a further dead cat bounce, but much beyond $55 is hard to argue over the course of the next few days. Be wary of 'bear traps'. There are a lot of inexperienced folks who think it's complete and utter bear chaos one week, and then back to bull merriment the following week. Real bear markets take some time to transition back to bulls. I was reading one blogger's boast somewhere of his or her purchase of July crude calls. When all is said and done, they could actually work out, but it's what happens to them on the way to summer; they could be folded, spindled and crushed through winter and early spring before recovering and whether that blogger has the psychological ability to weather that type of pain will be interesting to see. Maulden, by the way, makes some brilliant comments about what happened in the wheat market last fall (similar things have been going on in the nickel market) and no doubt some have been crushed in the energy futures market.

Columnist John Crudele of the NY Post also discuses Uganda the possibility that it may have reserves of at least 4 billion barrels (CLick Here).

In the week ahead, here's a short list of companies due to report earnings, as earnings season kicks into high gear: AMTD, CBH, FRX, FCX, INTC, LLTC, MI, USB, WFC, AAPL, CIT, FHN, JPM, KMI, LEN, MEL, NTRS, PH, LUV, SNV, WM, COF, CAL, HOG, ICOS, IGT, MER, NVS, SLM, SOV, XLNX, C, JCI, KEY, MOT, RF, SLB. WOW!

Apple, came under some presssure on Friday over the latest federal probe story, which on the surface seem to focus on various underlings and not Steve Jobs himself. On a different front, it's already starting to look as if Cisco only has a weak leg to stand on in its suit over the iPhone name: (read here). It would not come as a complete surprise if the companies settled this one out of court.

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