24 October, 2007

Market Musings Oct 24, S&P Changes add NYX, and Facebook news

The Markets came back strong to the close on Wednesday after being down fairly significantly mid-day. News of the struggling Housing sector and brokerage house Merrill Lynch (MER) writing down over $8Billion due to the Credit Crunch rattled investors and traders. A not so earth shattering outlook from high flier Amazon (AMZN) didn't help Technology stocks either.

The economic news on Existing Home Sales hurt stocks at the start as sales fell 8% year over year, which was worse than most economists had expected. Lots of talk about this "not yet being the bottom" led to further fears and thus more selling. Stocks seemed to bottom out however mid-day and recovered to be only flat or slightly lower. Technology was hurt by Amazon's perception of next quarter margins, which had investors heading for the profit taking fence.

NYSE Euronext (NYX) was up again today, hitting a recent high of $92, before settling at $90/share at the close, on news that it is about to be inserted into the S&P 500 and S&P 100 indices. This news was confirmed earlier in the week but today marked the last trading day before the company was to be officially recognized. Shares of NYX have rallied almost 9% since the announcement. The sheer number of money managers and funds that now have to own the company will likely continue to drive the shares higher going into its earnings report in early November. The stock is still off of its $112/share 52-week high but with a strong report and continued buying demand it may be sooner rather than later that the stock breaks into that territory.

Facebook, everybody's new favourite uber-growth social network, made more headlines today with a couple major announcements by big technology companies. Research In Motion (RIMM) announced a new application for its popular BlackBerry devices that ties in with Facebook, further promoting Rim's plans to nip at the heels of the consumer market segment. Microsoft (MSFT) threw its name into the social network hat as it agreed to purchase a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $240Million. The transaction gives Microsoft better leverage against its main Internet advertising competitors; Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO), and values Facebook at a lofty $15Billion.

Disclosure: Author is long NYX, GOOG

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