Wednesday, June 11, 2008

CDC Finally Begins Formal Investigation into Morgellons Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching an investigation into a still-unexplained collection of symptoms known as Morgellons disease.

The condition known as Morgellons disease is characterized primarily by skin lesions that do not heal, as well as unexplained sensations of crawling, biting or stinging on the skin; the presence of foreign materials, such as fibers, on or under the skin; fatigue; joint pain; memory loss; mental confusion and vision changes.

Because doctors do not know what causes the symptoms, some have questioned whether it is a real physical condition. According to the Morgellons Research Foundation, many Morgellons patients are falsely "diagnosed with a common medical label, Delusions of Parasitosis, the basic tenet being this is a psychiatric illness with the presumption of a purely delusional 'parasite infestation.'"

The CDC investigation will involve patients enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Health Plan who saw medical attention for Morgellons-like symptoms within an 18-month time period. It will also involve cooperation from the Armed Forces Pathology Institute, and is expected to last for at least one year.

Patients involved in the study will undergo thorough examinations of both mental and physical health.

When asked if she believes that Morgellons disease is a real medical condition, lead researcher Michele Pearson said, "What I can tell you is real is the suffering that these patients are experiencing. I cannot characterize this as a syndrome, as a disease. I can tell you it's an unexplained illness."

The Morgellons Research Foundation says that it has identified at least 11,000 families around the world that have at least one member who suffers from Morgellons disease. Executive Director Mary Leitao said that the CDC investigation is an important step toward finding out more about the condition, which she believes is "an infectious disease."
CDC Finally Begins Formal Investigation into Morgellons Disease

Trader Talk: Global Inflation Worries - Pre MArket Trading

While the markets are relatively calm this morning, inflation worries are still at the top of everyone's agenda.

In China, a measure of inflation at the factory rose 8.2 percent in May, the highest in nearly four years, thanks to higher raw material costs. Inflation in Asia is a particular concern, because many countries there have very little account surpluses, heavily subsidize their citizens' fuel consumption, and import much of their food and energy. This includes Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

That -- combined with a slowdown in exports -- is what has the Asian governments truly worried.

Inflation comments even seeping into analyst remarks. Today:

--Bernstein reduced the price target on Boeing

Boeing Co

73.65 -0.02 -0.03%

[BA 73.65 -0.02 (-0.03%) ] , saying "The rise in oil prices during the last two months has created the risk that GDP growth will slow, which could shorten the commercial aircraft cycle."

--JPMorgan downgraded Alcoa

Alcoa Inc

41.18 -1.54 -3.6%

[AA 41.18 -1.54 (-3.6%) ] , citing in part higher raw material costs (down 3 percent pre-open);

--Goldman Sachs lowered estimates on some of the big railroads due to higher fuel costs and lower volumes.


1) Ford

Ford Motor Co

6.11 -0.01 -0.16%

[F 6.11 -0.01 (-0.16%) ] has already said they would be putting off their plan to return to profitability. Now, they are assembling a plan to rapidly shift entire truck plants in the U.S. to car production, specifically some of the small cars they are producing in Europe, according to The Detroit News.

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This will be real test of Ford's ability to do a rapid turnaround -- not just to simplify the product line but to introduce more fuel efficient vehicles. Rapid turnaround is not something the auto industry is not known for.

2) One of the few industries that have advanced this month is fertilizers; companies like Agrium

Agrium Inc

100.19 8.03 +8.71%

[AGU 100.19 8.03 (+8.71%) ] and Potash [POT 228.96 8.40 (+3.81%) ] remain near highs. On Wednesday, Agrium upped its earnings estimate for the second quarter due to strength in both its retail and wholesale business; up 8 percent pre-open.

3) Talbots

Talbots Inc

8.78 0.47 +5.66%

[TLB 8.78 0.47 (+5.66%) ] affirmed its 2008 earnings forecast and said it had received a $50 million credit facility from its majority shareholder, Aeon. Up 5 percent pre-open.

Bob Pisani's Trader Talk: Global Inflation Worries - Trader Talk with Bob Pisani -

Opening View: Staples and Corporate Express Finally Strike a Deal

U.S. stock futures are higher heading into the open, indicative of a potentially positive start to the regular session. In overseas trading, the weakening yen helped boost exporters in Japan, while retail and home-building firms were taking a hit in Europe. In focus this morning are merger-and-acquisition news for Staples and Corporate Express, a cash-raising strategy for PetroChina, and the latest mortgage-related stats.

The fourth time's the charm for Staples (SPLS: View sentiment for SPLSsentiment, chart, options) and Dutch firm Corporate Express (CXP: View sentiment for CXPsentiment, chart, options) . After a trio of failed bids, SPLS will purchase CXP for $14.30 per share (the stock closed at $14 on Tuesday), in a deal that values the company at $2.6 billion. In the meantime, CXP announced it would withdraw its bid for Lyreco, paying its French peer a breakup fee of 30 million euros. Ahead of the open, the shares of SPLS are poised to open marginally higher than their Tuesday close of $23.15.

Chinese oil firm PetroChina (PTR: View sentiment for PTRsentiment, chart, options) this morning announced plans to sell $8.7 billion worth of bonds in order to optimize its debt and structure and supplement its working capital, MarketWatch reported. The bonds will reportedly have a maturity of up to 15 years, with PTR utilizing the profit to meet its intermediate- and long-term funding requirements. The plan, already approved by PTR's board, is subject to shareholder approval.

Turning to housing-related news, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications filed in the week ended June 6 jumped 10.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the week prior. Compared to a year earlier, mortgage applications are down 16.5%. Refinancing applications muscled 8.4% higher in the latest week, with filings for mortgages to purchase homes expanding a seasonally adjusted 12.8%.

Opening View: Staples and Corporate Express Finally Strike a Deal

NYSE Arca Morning Update - Pre Market Trading

Stocks trading on NYSE Arca at a price more than 15% away from the previous trade day's consolidated close price. (As of 08:30:00 ET)

Tuesday's Close Current Price Pct Chng Current NYSE Arca Vol



( 27%)


10 Most Active stocks on NYSE Arca as of 08:30:00 ET

Based on Dollar Volume: Based on Share Volume:
Dollar Volume
Share Volume


NYSE Arca Morning Update

Pre-Market Trading Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Advanced

Active Share Volume Declined


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co.
$3.08 $3.27 6.17% 31,050

Alvarion Ltd.
$7.51 $7.84 4.39% 56,844

E*TRADE Financial Corporation
$3.64 $3.72 2.20% 7,680

Evergreen Solar, Inc.
$9.39 $9.55 1.70% 14,100

Level 3 Communications, Inc.
$3.93 $3.99 1.53% 3,200

Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd.
$18.14 $18.35 1.16% 3,722

Superior Essex Inc
$44.10 $44.60 1.13% 81,900

Acergy S.A.
$23.95 $24.22 1.13% 8,175

First Solar, Inc.
$245.15 $247.75 1.06% 4,780

DryShips Inc.
$82.15 $83 1.03% 20,820

As of 6/11/2008 8:23:33 AM

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Declined

Active Share Volume Advanced


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


Synchronoss Technologies, Inc.
$11.03 $10.75 2.54% 3,250

JetBlue Airways Corporation
$3.89 $3.80 2.31% 9,000

Randgold Resources Limited
$39.70 $39.18 1.31% 7,080

Shire Limited
$45.83 $45.30 1.16% 3,900

Qiagen N.V.
$18.91 $18.87 0.21% 3,100

Ryanair Holdings plc
$28.97 $28.93 0.14% 8,474

As of 6/11/2008 8:23:41 AM

Pre-Market Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

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