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Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday


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


Five things you need to know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street.

1. Goopsle!

Google (GOOG), which since becoming a publicly-traded company has steadfastly refused to provide guidance to Wall Street analysts, said in a regulatory filing that last week it inadvertently posted internal financial projections on its Investor Relations Web site.

  • Company said it expects revenue to grow from $6 billion in 2005 to $9.5 billion this year.
  • Profit margins in its AdSense business may be "squeezed in 2006 and beyond."
  • The company also inadvertently disclosed that costs in 2006 of stock-based compensation granted prior to 2006 total $342 million.
  • The notes were part of an internal strategy session and were accidentally included in a slide accompanying its analyst day Webcast.
  • Earlier, bloggers found hidden notes in online postings that suggested Google was preparing to offer an online storage service, called GDrive, that would give users an alternative to storing data on personal computer hard drives.

2. So, now you can buy stock in the stock exchange on the stock exchange? Won't that create some kind of weird time warp?*

The New York Stock Exchange closed its $10 billion acquisition of Archipelago Holdings Inc. on Tuesday, a move that turned the 214-year-old not-for-profit exchange into a publicly traded company.

  • The new NYSE Group Inc. will begin trading today under the ticker NYX.
  • This deal is not a traditional initial public offering, or IPO, as Archipelago was already trading as a public company. There is no IPO, in other words.
  • Instead, watch for the shares to start trading today around the $64.25 level that Archipelago closed at Tuesday when it stopped trading for good under the AX symbol.
  • Chief executive John Thain has said the NYSE hopes to expand into derivatives trading.
  • Eventually, the exchange hopes to allow its floor traders access to the Arca electronic trading platform, which would give them the ability to trade Nasdaq-listed stocks as well as equity options.
  • Until now, trading has been exclusively in the hands of specialists.
  • In Europe, electronic trading is the norm and open-outcry floors are viewed as an anachronism.
  • Since its debut in August 2004, AX is up 459%. CBOT is up 125%.

* No.

3. Bernanke Watch

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is speaking at an event organized by the Independent Community Bankers of America Association in Las Vegas at about Noon today.

  • Although Bernanke is not expected to discuss policy, there is a Q&A session planned after his remarks which may hit the wires.

4. Four more years! Four more years!

Congress on Tuesday renewed controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the 2001 law passed weeks after the September 11 attacks.

  • With the 280-138 House vote, which followed the Senate's 89- 10 approval on March 2, the legislation needs only Bush's signature to become law.
  • Congress needed to address the measure before a second extension of the current law expired March 10.
  • The legislation that extends the statute makes all but three of its provisions permanent. Provisions allowing roving wiretaps, eavesdropping on ``lone-wolf'' terrorists and FBI demands for business records will expire in four years unless they are renewed again by Congress.
  • Meanwhile, two federal judges in Florida have upheld the authority of individual courts to use the Patriot Act to order searches anywhere in the country for e-mails and computer data in all types of criminal investigations, overruling a magistrate who found that Congress limited such expanded jurisdiction to cases involving terrorism.
  • In an interesting sidebar, the bill also takes aim at the production of methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug that cannot be manufactured without a key ingredient of everyday cold and allergy medicines. The bill would impose new limits next month for how much relief a person can buy over the counter.
  • "The Patriot Act threatens the civil liberties of every citizen of this nation, and is a full frontal assault on the Bill of Rights and our Constitution," said Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) in a statement.
  • "Intense congressional and public scrutiny has not produced a single substantiated claim that the Patriot Act has been misused to violate Americans' civil liberties," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

5. Cheney Less Popular than OJ, Joseph Stalin, Slightly More Popular Than Paris Hilton, Avian Flu

A CBS News poll found that only 18 percent of the public has a favorable view of Vice President Dick Cheney.

  • After OJ Simpson's arrest and trial for murdering his estranged wife and her companion, three in 10, or 29 percent, of all Americans had a favorable view of Simpson in an October 1995 Gallup poll.
  • In 2003, fully 20 percent of Russians polled said Joseph Stalin, blamed for millions of deaths in the former Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s, was a "wise and humane" leader.
  • In Vice President Spiro Agnew's final days in office, forty-five percent approved of the job that Agnew was doing as President Richard Nixon's veep in a Gallup Poll conducted in August 1973.
  • Last June, a Gallup poll found that only 15 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Paris Hilton.
  • Silver lining: Cheney reportedly maintains a 100% approval rating from people he has shot in the face!

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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