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Five Things You Need to Know: Lack of Jobs Report, Russia, Iran Plan Organized Gas Market, $300,000 Bubble.Net, Krispy Kreme to Trim a Couple of Krispy Krums, Most Disappointing Detail of the Day


What you need to know (and what it means)!


Minyanville's daily Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

1. Lack of Jobs Report

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 111,000 in January, the Labor Department reported this morning, well below market expectations for an increase of 150,000.

  • As a result the unemployment rate inched higher to 4.6%.
  • Service-providing industries accounted for most of the job additions in December, though the gain was weaker than expected.
  • Construction tacked on 22,000 jobs, largely due to mild weather.
  • Of course, the headline "miss" doesn't fully convey the real nature of the report, which simply caps off what was a disappointing year for job creation in general.
  • Everything from the change in manufacturing payrolls to average hourly earnings (both month-on-month and year-on-year) to average hours worked missed to the downside.

2. Russia, Iran Plan Organized Gas Market

Russia and Iran are considering the creation of an OPEC-like organization for gas, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.

  • On Wednesday Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly called on a visiting Kremlin official to establish a group of natural-gas producers similar to OPEC.
  • "Iran and Russia can establish the structure for an organization of gas cooperation like OPEC, as half of the world's gas reserves are in Russia and Iran," Khamenei said.
  • During his annual news conference yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said "a gas OPEC is an interesting idea. We will think about it," the Journal said.
  • According to the Journal, while gas accounts for a growing share of global energy use, the nations that produce most of it don't work together to influence markets.
  • Russia and Iran together hold more than 40% of the world's natural-gas reserves.
  • A move to join a new "OPEC for gas" group, or what one might call an Organized Gas Market (ORGASM), would be rather unusual for Russia given that it has never joined OPEC despite being the world's second largest oil exporter.
  • Interestingly, while we in the U.S. are quite dependent on OPEC for much of our oil, we could probably get by without ORGASM, making the whole issue rather anti-climactic.

3. $300,000 Bubble.Net

The Internet domain name "RealEstate.Net" has been officially acquired by a company of the same name for $300,000, according to RISMedia.

  • Real Estate.NET Holdings Pty Ltd., a new company established by the team that operates Rooms.NET and Local.NET, announced that it has officially acquired the domain name
  • The RealEstate.NET brand will be marketed to consumers as the 'go to' Web site to securely contact Realtors online, the company said.
  • "The acquisition of the Real Estate.NET domain name brings greater value to agent membership and allows agents the opportunity to use e-mail addresses," said Mason Fok, Real Estate.NET Holdings CEO, according to RISMedia.
  • The company said it plans to extend its market reach and develop RealEstate.NET into "a worldwide agent solutions network," whatever that means.
  • Two things of interest here:
    1) The rather high price paid for a .net domain given the existence of an established .com of the same name,
    2) The timing of the cash outlay - $300,000 - coincident with the Fed calling a bottom in the housing market?

4. Krispy Kreme to Trim a Couple of Krispy Krums

According to CBS News, Krispy Kreme plans to soon unveil a whole wheat version of its glazed doughnuts.

  • According to CBS, doughnut manufacturers worldwide have been giving extra focus to producing healthier products.
  • After all, New York City recently banned trans fats in all restaurants.
  • Krispy Kreme has yet to eliminate trans fats, but the company is working on a "healthier" doughnut.
  • The company's whole wheat doughnut will have 180 calories, 20 fewer than the traditional version.
  • To put things in perspective, that means you can now eat 10 whole wheat glazed doughnuts for every nine regular glazed doughnuts you would have ordinarily consumed.
  • What next, an organic doughnut? Actually, someone's already making that. It's called a bran muffin.

5. Most Disappointing Detail of the Day

According to a story in the USA Today seven of the eight malls that opened in 2006 or will soon be opened in 2007 are topless malls.

  • According to the story, women outnumber male shoppers at malls nationwide by about 2-to-1, and men spend an average of 10 minutes less per mall visit.
  • According to the USA Today, topless malls satisfy busy shoppers' desire to run in and out, attract more men and encourage shoppers of both sexes to stick around.
  • Look at what it says in the USA Today:
  • As you can imagine, we were severely disappointed to learn that "topless malls" means something different than what we thought it meant.
  • Apparently, a "topless mall" is simply an outdoor mall.
  • Outdoor mall. Big deal.

Photo of a so-called "topless mall," and something we couldn't care less about.

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