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Five Things You Need to Know: Iran, the Ballad of Feeney Tom, Euro Inflation, Intel, Who is John Galt?


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. Following the Script, Iran Doesn't "Give a Damn."

Today the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will issue its report to the United Nations Security Council on Iran's compliance with the Council's demand that it suspend its nuclear program.

  • Today the IAEA will report to the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear program.
  • Although being billed on newspaper front pages as a dramatic, tension-filled moment, the reality is that the report will most certainly find that Iran has NOT suspended its uranium enrichment activity.
  • AT MV, our team of forensic security analysts know this because every day since the IAEA began the report, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly vowed that Iran will not give up its right to pursue uranium enrichment.
  • So much for drama. What happens next? Iran is playing its part perfectly, the other key actors - the US, China and Russia are vying for Oscar nominations as well. Here is the script.
  • Condoleezza Rice at a media conference following a NATO meeting yesterday said, "In order to be credible the Security Council has to act."
  • Unfortunately, there is a high probability that two of the five permanent UN Security Council members (China and/or Russia) will likely veto any UN sanctions against Iran.
  • Russia has been hedging its position on potential Iran sanctions lately.
  • China, however, insists Iran has a right to nuclear energy for peaceful use.
  • If UN sanctions don't make it beyond the Security Council, the US will then declare diplomacy to have failed, paving the way for a military assault against Iran's nuclear development installations.
  • Beyond that, you're on your own.

2. The Ballad of Feeney, Tom
  • Attend the tale of Feeney, Tom
    His bill was swell and his manner calm.
    He saved the audits of businessmen
    who never thereafter were heard of again.
    He rolled back rules, an accounting balm

    did Feeney, Tom
    the Congressman hero of Wall Street.
    He wrote a stop to Sarbanes-Ox.
    For fancy clients and those with stocks
    and what if some loopholes weren't saved
    the end result is compliance waived.
    By Feeney,
    by Feeney, Tom
    the Congressman hero of Wall Street.

Sweeney Todd? Feeney, Tom?

3. European Inflation

While The Ben Bernanke sees inflation risks in the US as stable and well contained, no such luck for his Eurozone counterpart Jean-Claude Trichet.
  • Eurostat, the European Union statistics office, said prices across the region rose by 2.4 percent on an annual basis in April.
  • That is an acceleration over the 2.2 percent rate reported in March.
  • In addition, M3, a number closely watched by the ECB, increased by 8.6 percent in March against 7.9 percent in February.
  • Wait, what the heck is this M3 thing? Sorry, we're Americans. We know nothing about things which could possibly measure the rate of increase of the supply of money in the economy.
  • Jean-Claude Trichet, ECB president, has previously indicated it is unlikely the ECB will raise interest rates at its May meeting.
  • However, the data has caused the probabilities of a June rate hike to increase.

4. Show Intel

Intel (INTC) Chief Executive Paul Otellini said yesterday that he would cut annual costs by $1 billion and branch into new businesses as part of the company's most comprehensive restructuring effort in 20 years.

  • A combination of lower profit margins, shrinking market share and slower computer sales that are both industry-wide and company-specific have put pressure on INTC.
  • While INTC remains the world's largest chip-maker with an 80% market share, it continues to face pressure from growing rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
  • "AMD's dollar share of the microprocessor market has increased in 11 of the past 13 quarters," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst for Insight 64, a semiconductor consultancy, according to the LA Times.
  • Otellini said the company will complete the cost cuts in 90 days and evaluate all non-performing businesses.
  • Of 51 analysts who cover Intel, 26 have "hold" recommendations, four rate the company a "sell" and 21 a "buy."

5. Who is John Galt? Either Brad or Angelina, apparently.

According to Variety, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are rumored to be big names attached to a possible Hollywood production of Ayn Rand's most ambitious work, Atlas Shrugged.
  • Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, is considered by many to be the author's most powerful work.
  • The rights to the book were purchased in 2003 by the Baldwin Entertainment Group.
  • The book portrays fascism, socialism and communism, or any form of state intervention, as systemically flawed.
  • It runs more than 1,100 pages and is considered a "difficult" project for film.
  • Among the most famous characters in the book is John Galt.
  • Repeatedly, throughout the book the question, "Who is John Galt?", is asked.
  • Brad Pitt is among those Variety suggests has an interest in the character Galt, while Jolie's name is attached to the character, Dagny Taggart.


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