At least five bidders are expected to throw their hats in the ring by Friday when second round offers are due for the iconic carmaker put up for sale by U.S. automaker Ford. Land Rover is also included in the assets on the block.
If you’re wondering why ousted Merrill CEO Stan O’Neal was apparently obsessed with comparing his firm’s performance to that of Goldman Sachs, look no further than 941 Park Avenue.
That’s right, O’Neal and Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein live in the same building at Park and 81st.
U.S. crude oil prices gushed to a record over $94.50 a barrel Wednesday after a government report showed a surprisingly big decline in stockpile levels last week. And more declines in inventories could be on the way.
TomTom, Europe’s top digital navigator can hardly be surprised that U.S. competitor Garmin has swooped in with a 2.3 billion-euro ($3.3 billion) offer for Dutch digital map provider Tele Atlas, and based on investor reaction Garmin should brace for more. TomTom offered to buy Tele Atlas for 1.8 billion euros in July. Then Finnish cellphone maker Nokia offered $8.1 billion for U.S.-based Navteq, Tele Atlas’s only global competitor, signaling the consolidation was underway. Bloomberg reports the bidding war is moving into high gear, quoting Jesper Kruger, who helps manage about $64 billion at ATP in Copenhagen as saying TomTom could increase their offer by at least 20 percent. The FT says Garmin has invited the Tele Atlas board to a meeting within the next week to seek support, but has said it will pursue the offer even if it is not backed by the board.
With gold closing in on $800 an ounce and crude on $100 a barrel, it’s natural to assume a close connection. Gold is supposed to hold its value better than other assets when inflation is rising, so many investors consider it an inflation hedge. A glance at a weekly graph plotting New York gold futures over crude oil futures shows that while joined at the hip during last bout of commodity buying, going back they have frequently parted ways. The correlation coefficient, a statisical measure of how closely any two variables (like gold and oil) trade together, was 0.58 averaged over October, on a scale of -1.0 to 1.0. Stretched over five years, its more like 0.21, showing gold and oil are nearly independent (zero being not correlated.) Moreover, even as the gold market gets excited about breaking the 1980 records at $850 in spot and $875 for COMEX futures, in inflation-adjusted terms gold’s value is not near a record. Crude at $100 is basically its highest price ever in absolute and real terms. But gold’s inflation adjusted record was put at $2,079 an ounce by consultants GFMS Ltd. Deutsche Bank said in a report last week that gold needs to rise another 74 percent to reach an all-time high in real terms. So it looks cheap compared to oil. Why is gold lagging? It’s a good question. Part of the answer can be found in a relatively non-scary inflation picture, that defies the record rally in energy prices and many other commodities. Also, gold is not “consumed” the way other commodities are, being more of a monetary asset (and an adornment.) So demand for raw materials to feed China’s economy is less of a factor.
Goldman Sachs, which shook up commodity markets two years ago with its prescient ‘superspike’ theory that oil prices will top $100 a barrel, thinks it may be time for a short bout of profit-taking.