Brrrr. The ides of Octobers past are blowing down Wall Street. Fall coats are out, office football pools are hitting their stride, Halloween costumes are being plotted -- in short, there's plenty of whistling in the dark at the start of this not-so-charmed month. As always, TSC Weekender is happy to entertain and inform you into a state of total relaxation. This weekend, read Editor Dan Colarusso's cheeky debut Cutting Room, in which he makes fun of just about everyone on TSC's TV show (including himself). Also, don't miss Todd Pruzan's creative take on the domestic dramas afflicting Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone and his deal-sensitive spouse. And, of course, don't be shy -- let us know what you think of the Weekender and our weekend content in general!
Chase Goes Boutiquing
In the recent history of anticlimaxes, the last episode of
Seinfeld still reigns supreme. But this week,
purchase of boutique investment bank
Hambrecht & Quist
certainly qualified as a bit of a letdown.
The deal looks good, but Chase execs admit it won't greatly affect the bank's bottom line. Nor is it the industry-changing merger (say, with
) that many were predicting for Chase. But, for now,
it's, like, the synergies, man
, that Chase is interested in, not fantastic immediate benefits. The big bank is seeking entry into new areas such as -- duh! -- the Internet, tech, biotech, telcos and on and on. Hambrecht will facilitate this goal, namely by giving the bank the capacity to underwrite the sexy high-tech IPOs of the future. Still, analysts are restless: What's the next acquisition for Chase?
As for the vacuum left by Hambrecht in the world of indie investment banks ripe for picking by big financial names -- it looks like
Volpe Brown Whelan
fill the gap quite nicely.
All Shopping, All the Time
If Wall Street were
Fantasy Island and
were an analyst, he would have spent much of this week shouting "Zee shops! Zee shops!"
announced its latest venture,
zShops, causing the stock to long-jump 23% that day. When zShops went live on Thursday, around 500,000 items became available, ranging from an oral formula for increasing sexual performance to a Costa Rican timeshare. Sellers pay about $10 a month for the privilege of hawking stuff through
behemoth and customers get the convenience of entering their payment information just once.
Jim Seymour and
Jim Cramer swooned at the news, while a cynical
Herb Greenberg predicted game-over for Amazon, citing quality control issues and a tired revamping of the Web hosting model.
The Street seemed to come down with a case of Herb's pessimism on Friday, when Amazon closed down 2 11/16, or 3%, at 77 1/4. A prominent piece published that day in
The Wall Street Journal
imminent redesign of its retail Web site may have been a
factor in the move.
Ah, the epic battle of the new economy: the House of e-tailing vs. the House of clicks-and-mortar.
Getting hitched just got pricier. All those prospective brides and grooms itching for a
band of gold are likely keeping a close watch on the
December gold futures contract, which was at $305.50 on Friday, up some 14% from a week ago.
OK, maybe not. But the lonely slobs on Wall Street were certainly following the moves of the yellow metal this week. Last Sunday a group of 15 European banks resolved to impose a five-year moratorium on gold sales above a limit of 2,000 tonnes, and to restrict gold-lending and derivative trades. This decision, on the heels of the
pullback on its own gold sale plans, sent the price of gold flying -- much to the dismay of
squeezed short-sellers. Of course, others opined that fears of inflation were driving the price up; a story by
reported an altogether different
In any case, the move in gold was cannily
predicted (albeit for not
the right reasons) by our own fearless leader
TV show on the
Fox News Channel
. Just call it