Prominent short-seller Jim Chanos is probably one of the last true “bad news bears” you will find on Wall Street these days, save for Jim Grant and Nouriel Roubini. Almost everywhere you turn, money managers still are bullish on U.S. equities going into 2014 even after the Standard & Poor’s 500’s 27 percent returns year-to-date and the Nasdaq is back to levels not seen since the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999.
United Airlines has restarted merger talks with Continental Airlines as it eyes the top spot as the world’s largest air carrier. The two laid much of the ground work for a deal in 2008 but decided to puruse an alliance instead. A deal could leave US Air jilted despite four months of negotiations with United but, in a further twist to the aerial saga, United has also raised the topic of a deeper three-way cooperation between the airlines.
Peabody Energy has raised its offer for Macarthur Coal by 14 percent to $3.8 billion — trumping a sweetened offer from local rival New Hope Corp. In order for the deal to go through, Macarthur must ditch a vote on a proposed takeover of Gloucester Coal, a smaller local rival. The vote had been delayed to April 19.
What do Bigfoot, a mermaid, an alien from outer space, and clean coal all have in common?
None of them exist, according to several environmental groups.
Organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation have launched a multi-million dollar media onslaught aimed at knocking down claims that power can be generated from coal now in an environmentally safe manner. The so called “reality” campaign features a television commercial with a man touting “clean coal technology” in a barren field and print ads with fictional creatures holding lumps of coal. The message of the ads is “In reality, there’s no such thing as clean coal.”
How to handle America’s abundant coal supply is likely to remain a contentious issue as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming administration tackles climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Coal-fired power plants generate about half of U.S. electricity supplies, and account for about 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — the biggest single industrial source.
Obama has expressed support for the development of technology that would allow coal-burning power plants to trap and store carbon dioxide rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. Such technology is commercially untested and currently economically nonviable.
Coal industry trade groups, such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, say that they are committed to carbon reduction strategies and coal power is necessary to provide Americans with affordable electricity.
Until the carbon capture and storage technology is developed, however, environmentalists behind the Reality Coalition say on their website “coal will remain a major contributor to the climate crisis.”
Barnes & Noble Inc reportedly has read the market and decided to turn the page on an acquisition of rival Borders Group Inc. The largest U.S. specialty bookseller, which had been looking into a bid for Borders, is likely to take a pass because of tight lending markets that would make it difficult to arrange bank financing, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation. Borders, which put itself up for sale in March, has struggled with liquidity issues and has been closing underperforming stores and taking other steps to turn around its business.