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Ticker Shock: Apple, Buffett Look Out for Number One


Wednesday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.


Scanning my monitors before the open, it certainly looks like we'll get off to a good start. The Dow and S&P futures are up. Plus the FTSE and the DAX are flashing green.
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Has anyone gotten a good look at the cast of characters (Republican and Democrat) that are tinkering with your financial fate? Level with me: If all those guys were behind the counter at your local laundry, would you drop your shirts off there? I'd rather hand wash mine in the sink.

Buffett Bellies Up to the Bar…
Word broke after the close last night that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) is investing $5 billion in Goldman Sachs (GS). It sure looks like the stock is going to rocket up at the open (its up $6 and change in pre-market) and it seems that investors are all jazz hands about the news. But my feeling is - so what? $5 billion is a lot of dough to me or you - but for Berkshire, isn't that the equivalent of a couple of grand? Plus, look at the deal: Warren is taking care of Warren. After all, it's preferred stock with a 10% dividend.

So is it a sign of some confidence? Sure. But the first time Paulson shows his mug on TV today, I think the luster of this news will begin to fade.

Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Phone?
Yeah, yeah, the Android phone with Google (GOOG) software. Every techie and wannabe is talking about whether the G1 or the iPhone (AAPL) is better. Even Fortune whipped up a quick piece on the specs of both, which was kind of neat to see.

However, long story short: I don't think that this is going to change the overall equation all that much. The iPhone will continue to do well - but Steve Jobs will probably be touting some other gadget in that one black outfit he owns 20 minutes from now.

In other words, Apple will probably end up doing just fine, thank you very much. (I'm not a bull on the shares in the short term, however.)

Last night, Intuit (INTU) re-affirmed guidance for the first quarter and the year. At first blush, ranges appear to be inline with what the Street is looking for, which I guess is good news. But I'm not overly impressed; the release itself seemed to add very little color. Frankly, I wanted to see more by way of words. A quick look at the insider data reveals they haven't been bellying up the to bar.

Buyback, My Eye
Looks like Wells Fargo (WFC) could get a goose after the open, thanks to an announcement that it's tagging another 25 million shares onto its buyback program. My take: If I were long, I'd probably use the news to bail. Don't get me wrong, I think the shares will do fine over the long haul. But in the near-term, I think you should take what you can get.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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