It’s Monday May 22, 2006, and it looks like the NYSE Group (NYSE: NYX) has taken the first steps to becoming a truly global market place as they have submitted a $10 billion offer to merge with Euronext. Such a merger would create the first trans-Atlantic stock market, valued at $21 billion. While the Nasdaq (NASDAQ: NDAQ) has increased their stake in the London Stock Exchange to over 25% which may put them in a position to force a merger with the LSE. The world is getting smaller and the financial markets are right in the middle of it.
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Vietnam is making headway as they are seeking to become part of the World Trade Organization. Their first step is the preparation to sign a trade agreement with the United States in June, this would be a first step in them reaching their goal of joining the World Trade Organization.
Even though Germany and China both agree that a diplomatic resolution must be attained in the Iran uranium enrichment situation, Iran is not open to suggestions. They have adamantly stated that they are not only going to continue the enrichment but they intend to increase it on an industrial level. This just makes a tense situation worse.
The U.S. Attorney General Gonzales has commented that he believes that any journalist that publishes classified information could be prosecuted. What ever happened the First Amendment, if the government begins to dictate what can or cannot be reported on then how can journalist actually be credible?, that’s a question that the people should bring to capital hill.
President Bush is pushing for congress to pass the immigration bill, but many think that the plan may do little or nothing to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border. I guess if there is a will there is a way but it should reduce the attempts.
Movers and Shakers
Some major movers in Fridays trading session included Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE) which traded up $4.06 to close at $35.05, Western Digital (NYSE: WDC) which traded up $2.43 to close at $21.70, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) a stock that we have featured on “Wall Street to Main Street” as a stock on the move, it traded up $3.60 to close at $34.95 after a Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) deal was struck, Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) traded up $2.44 to close at $24.58, British Airways (NYSE: BAB) flew upward as it traded up $5.61 to close at $66.16, First Avenue Networks (NASDAQ: FRNS) traded up $2.93 to close at $15.44, Marvell Technology (NASDAQ: MRVL) another stock that we featured on “Wall Street to Main Street” traded up $6.51 to close at $56.22, Focus Media (NASDAQ: FMCN) which we mentioned may be looking to have a presence in the Untied States and one suitor may be Impart Media Group (OTCBB: IMMG) the stock traded up $7.46 to close at $69.18, Supertex (NASDAQ: SUPX) traded up $3.30 to close at $39.91 and Darwin (AMEX: DR) traded up $2.76 to close at $18.76.
Recent Analyst upgrades include Microchip Technology (NASDAQ: MCHP) which was upgraded to a Buy from a Neutral by UBS, Mattel (NYSE: MAT) was upgraded to an Outperform from a Market Perform by Ryan Beck & Co, United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) was upgraded to a Buy from a Hold by Stifel Nicolaus, Cypress Semiconductor (NYSE: CY) was upgraded to a Buy from a Neutral by UBS and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) was upgraded to an Outperform by Piper Jaffray.
Recent Analyst downgrades include Ann Taylor (NYSE: ANN) which was downgraded to an Equal Weight from an Overweight by Lehman Brothers, St Jude Medical (NYSE: STJ) was downgraded to a Hold from a Buy by Deutsche Bank Securities, American tower (NYSE: AIV) was downgraded to an Outperform from a Buy to a Neutral by Merrill Lynch and Midwest Express (AMEX: MEH) was downgraded to a Market Perform from an Outperform by Raymond James.
Analyst Coverage Initiations include Allegheny Energy (NYSE:AYE) which was initiated with a Hold rating by AG Edwards, Alexandria Real Estate (NYSE: ARE) was initiated with an Under Perform rating by RBC Capital, Embarq (NYSE: EQ) was initiated with a Hold rating by AG Edwards and an Equal Weight rating by Merrill Lynch and Formfactor (NASDAQ: FORM) was initiated with a Buy rating and a $47 price target by Citigroup Investment Research.
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is exiting stage left from the competitive South Korean market as they have agreed to sell its 16 stores to South Korea’s largest discount store chain Shinsegae Co. for 825 billion won, or $882 million. Wal-Mart said the decision to withdraw was part of its global growth strategy.
Barron’s ran a feature on Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) over the weekend and stated that Yahoo has a massive audience online at a time when advertisers are shifting to online marketing or increasing their online marketing efforts. They also made mention of the fact that Yahoo has been overshadowed by Googles (NASDAQ: GOOG) success and this has led Yahoo to its 52 week low. There is no doubt that Yahoo is cheap at this point, it is definitely a $45 stock disguised as a $29 or $30 stock, but that may not be realized until they show their current efforts adding to their bottom line.
Last Week Home Depot (NYSE: HD) announced that they were looking to acquire a small bank called EnerBank USA from CMS Energy Corp. (NYSE: CMS). This acquisition would allow Home Depot to issue uncollateralized loans to contractors to keep the revenues flowing. This is something similar to what Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is trying to do but on a different scale, you can expect Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) to follow suit in the near future.
And the beat goes on…., more companies are being investigated in the ever growing stock options probe that we continue to hear about. The latest to join the party is KLA-Tencor Corp (NASDAQ: KLAC), they are citing that back in 2001, that’s right they are going back in time on all of these companies, but back in 2001 the cite that KLA-Tencor issued stock options to their top executives twice during the year both at the stocks low point for the first and second half of the year. They also add that the Chairman of KLA, Ken Levy received 10 stock optin grants from 1994-2001 and all preceded recent rises in the stock price. So I think that Levy has a slight problem now. Another added to the list was Boston Communications Group (NASDAQ: BCGI), as they join the likes of Comverse Tech (NASDAQ: CMVT), UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) and others.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is tying in with Lenovo Group to offer pay as you go computer service to those people living in developing countries. They are beta testing “FlexGo”, which is a pay per hour computer use service. They plan on launching this service in Brazil shortly and in the coming months expanding into Mexico, China, Russia and India. This is an effort on Microsoft’s part to get a strong footing in the up and coming nations that would eventually be users of their products. They are nurturing a market that they will try to dominate in the years to come.
Since satellite radio was introduced, with Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) and XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: XMSR) leading the pack, you needed to be plugged in to your home or car stereo system to use it. But XM has changed all that recently as they introduced the world’s first portable XM Radio/MP3 Player portable device, it’s called “XM2go”, no computer is required You will now be able to take your XM radio with you to the gym, on your jog or on the bus or train ride to work. Pioneer is the technology company behind the unit, and the unit is set to work with Napster (NASDAQ: NAPS) and not the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPod. So companies that should be looked at are flash memory makers, as this is what drives the unit and not a hard drive. I wonder if Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) will be supplying the chips.
This is the Firstof our “Furious Five” companies that we see excelling in their industry in 2006. The company to kick off this weeks “Furious Five” is Gymboree Corp (NASDAQ: GYMB) it trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol GYMB.
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