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Minyanville's Business Briefs Exposed: Caterpillar, Google, Wal-Mart...


Business briefs from a uniquely Minyanville perspective...


Relax, it's only money. Here in the 'Ville we like to keep things smart, but we also love to laugh. All work and no know how it goes. With that in mind we give you The "Off-Balance Sheet," a place where Minyans can experience humorous takes on the world of finance, personal stories from our Professors and Minyans and all the other stuff that makes life worth living. So take a break from the flickering ticks and dive in.


Illinois-based Caterpillar (CAT) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings this week and raised guidance for the full year for earnings, sales and revenue. Still, the results were viewed as disappointing by some analysts who just kinda expected the company would really be more of a butterfly by now.

Do they Serve Nacchios in Prison?

Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications (Q), was found guilty on 19 of 42 counts of insider trading yesterday. Nacchio, along with co-defendants Gerald Mozzarellastick, Terrence Buffalowing, and Ricardo Jalapenopopper had no comment at press time.

They're Literally Printing Money!

Xerox Corp. (XRX) said earnings surged 17% in the first quarter. The Connecticut maker of photocopiers said the results were boosted by a surge in net revenue thanks to the company's new high resolution currency scanner and duplicator.

Overly Optimistic on Mobile

At a San Francisco conference this week, Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google (GOOG) said, "The biggest growth areas are going to be in the mobile space." However, his prediction was quickly shot down when someone in the crowd pointed out that since 2000, Mobile, just east of the Mississippi border, has had a population growth of negative 3.9%.

Profits? We Won't Need No Stinkin' Profits!

Continental Airlines (CAL) posted first-quarter profits yesterday-the company's first profit for any March quarter since 2001 and beating analysts' expectations. Larry Kellner, Continental's Chairman and CEO said, "Hey, wait a cotton pickin' second-we're an airline! We're supposed to be one step away from going down the crapper at all times… Somebody really dropped the ball on this one."

H. Lee Scott Jr., Sittin' Pretty

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the world's largest retailer, paid CEO H. Lee Scott Jr., $29.7 million last year after sales grew at the slowest pace in more than 20 years. When asked about Scott's high level of compensation, a spokesperson said, "This is much ado about nothing. $29.7 million is only 150,000 Better Homes & Gardens® Spice Bay 3-Piece Woven Swivel Bistro Sets, offered exclusively at Wal-Mart's everyday low price of $198."

Where Do We Sign?

IndyMac Bancorp Inc. (NDE), a California mortgage specialist, on Friday said it tightened its lending standards to combat a difficult market environment. IndyMac said that in addition to requiring borrowers to fill out a full loan aplication it would also require them to sign a special cross your heart, hope to die and stick a needle in your eye agreement.

So, Where Will LL Cool J Be Going?

Charles Rule, formerly of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, and Jacobson, is joining Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft as head of the firm's antitrust practice. Sources say the runner-up for the Cadwalader position, Ja Rule, is extremely upset and is currently in the studio recording a "dis track" in response.


The New York Times reports that Merck (MRK), Schering-Plough (SGP), and Wyeth (WYE) beat expectations yesterday. Doctors are optimistic that the expectations, which were beaten with an aluminum baseball bat, a tire iron, and a tube sock filled with gravel, will make a full, albeit painful, recovery.
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