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What, and Who, Can Move the Markets


A Citi analyst spiked a two-day rally; my thoughts didn't move a penny.


Editor's Note: The following was posted in real time on our premium Buzz & Banter (click for a free trial).

Greetings from New York where I'm considering sending Deborah Weinswig a note explaining that I liked Walmart (WMT) first. The very capable Citi (C) analyst spiked a two-day rally in the Bentonville Behemoth with an upgrade yesterday. I didn't move the stock a penny when I expressed my belief in the retail rally a few weeks ago. I also didn't move Nordstom (JWN). I didn't move Abercrombie (ANF) and I didn't move Target (TGT). They moved without me. Yes, my feelings are hurt. Deborah's logic was that Walmart is starting a cost-cutting war, specifically in groceries. My logic was that retail was moving higher, a lot of people were short the names and the American consumer is more durable than Jason from Friday the 13th and Charlie Rangel's political career combined. In retrospect I should use numbers next time.

  • In other retail news, The Limited (LTD) has purchased Tommy Hilfiger (the brand not the guy) for $3 billion in debt. According to someone who, unlike me, doesn't buy her clothes at Target: "Limited now owns Calvin which only works for Gwyneth Paltrow, Izod which is only for WASP-y golfers and Tommy which has lost all momentum." Draw your own conclusions.

  • Dell (DELL) is suing five companies over price fixing for LCD displays. This on the heels of the FTC accusing Intel (INTC) of monopolizing chips (which seems rather obvious). The only thing dropping faster in price than LCD displays is the price per computing power of PCs. Dell and the FTC both have bigger problems; I wouldn't touch the stock of the former or pick a fight with the latter.

  • Last week I promised I'd be surly again soon. Well, I'm surly again. I'm a man of my word.

  • Standard & Poor's, a division of McGraw Hill (MHP), has removed Greek debt from its negative watch list. The call is an empathetic move as ratings agencies are the only thing less credible than a debt instrument issued by the Greek.

  • Tiger is coming back the Masters! I'm guessing his remaining sponsors, among them Nike (NKE), will be pleased with wall-to-wall Tiger coverage at the highest-rated golf event in history.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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