Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gasoline going to $10/gallon (U.S.)

In Manhattan, at a Mobil gas station at York Avenue and East 61st Street, premium gas is now $4.03 a gallon. Two days ago, it was $3.96. Why such a high price? "Blame the people at STOPEC (he meant OPEC) and the oil companies," an attendant there told me.

These increases are taking place before the all-important summer driving season, signaling even higher prices ahead.

That's also the outlook of the Automobile Association of America. "As long as the price of crude oil stays above $100 a barrel, drivers will be forced to pay more and more at the gas pump," a AAA spokesman, Troy Green, said.

Oil recently hit an all-time high of nearly $120 a barrel, more than double its early 2007 price of about $50 a barrel. It closed Friday at $118.52.

The forecasts calling for a jump to between $7 and $10 a gallon are based on the view that the price of crude is on its way to $200 in two to three years.

Translating this price into dollars and cents at the gas pump, one of our forecasters, the chairman of Houston-based Dune Energy, Alan Gaines, sees gas rising to $7-$8 a gallon. The other, a commodities tracker at Weiss Research in Jupiter, Fla., Sean Brodrick, projects a range of $8 to $10 a gallon.

While $7-$10 a gallon would be ground-breaking in America, these prices would not be trendsetting internationally. For example, European drivers are already shelling out $9 a gallon (which includes a $2-a-gallon tax).

Canadians are also being hit with rising gas prices. They are paying the American-dollar equivalent of $4.92 a gallon, and they're being told to brace themselves for prices above $5.65 a gallon this summer.

Early last year, with a barrel of oil trading in the low $50s and gasoline nationally selling in a range of $2.30 to $2.50 a gallon, Mr. Gaines — in an impressive display of crystal ball gazing — accurately predicted oil was $100-bound and that gasoline would follow suit by reaching $4 a gallon.

His latest prediction of $200 oil is open to question, since it would undoubtedly create considerable global economic distress. Further, just about every energy expert I talk to cautions me to expect a sizable pullback in oil prices, maybe to between $50 and $70 a barrel, especially if there's a global economic slowdown.

full article here:
Gasoline May Soon Cost a Sawbuck - April 28, 2008 - The New York Sun

Stealth NY Bird Flu

The recent release of H7N2 sequences from a patient infected in New York in late 2003, /New York/107 rgb(51, 0, 51);">/2003(H7N2), raises transparency / surveillance issues. Although the four month delay in detecting the case was explained in early 2004, it remains unclear why it took four more years to release sequences from seven of the eight gene segments, and it is also unclear why the PB2 sequence has not been released.
There has only been one reported bird flu fatality that was not H5N1. It also was H7 (H7N7) and had E627K. Thus H7N2 with human PB2 would likely grow more efficiently in humans, which could cause problems since H7 is already efficient transmitted human to human, but levels are low and disease is usually mild. However, like the NY case, several H7N2 cases in England last year were hospitalized, and media reports described a severe clinical presentation.

The PB2 gene also commonly acquires human polymorphisms via recombination. The H5N1 PB2 from the vaccine resistant isolate in Israel had a number of newly acquired human polymorphisms raisiong the possibility that the PB2 in the H7N2 isoalte was a recombinant.
Moreover, detection of H7 remains a major problem. Although Canada reported widespread low path H5 infections in 2005 and 2006, they failed to detect H7 in any wild birds, even though there have been H7N3 outbreaks in the British Columbia in 2005 and Saskatchewan in 2007. Similarly, England failed to detect H7 in wild birds prior to H7N3 and H7N2 outbreaks there in 2006 and 2007.

Moreover, lab confirmation of H7 in patients in England was problematic. More humans than birds had symptoms, but lab confirmation, including index cases who owned affected farms, tested negative. These cases had symptoms, which was unusual for late spring in England in 2007.

The presence in human and avian genes in the H7N2 isolate indicates that the same host was infected with both viruses. Since one virus was human H3N2 in circulation in New York in 2003, it is likely that the dual infection was in a human host, but since H7 is readily transmitted human to human, the reassortment may have been in a human host that subsequently infected the H7N2 positive patient. The source of the infection was not determined and the case did not have a history of contact with birds.

Thus, although the H7N2 was isolated from a patient in New York 4 years ago, the poor surveillance in wild birds and humans raises concerns that other reassortants are in circulation in birds or humans.

The PB2 sequence and an explanation for the four year delay in the release of the data would be useful.

Human Avian H7N2 Reassortant Raises Pandemic Concerns

MRSA-infected medics allowed to keep working

Hospital trusts are allowing doctors and nurses to continue treating patients even after testing positive for potentially lethal superbugs including MRSA.

Hundreds of trusts do not take their staff off wards automatically if they are found to be carrying one of the most virulent hospital bugs, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can be spread by human contact.

A survey of trusts carried out by The Independent on Sunday revealed that few routinely screen staff for the infection, or even keep records of the number of employees infected with MRSA. They claimed such a policy was fully in line with government guidelines. The approach is backed by many unions – including one that warned that a hardline policy could damage its members' financial well-being and career prospects.

But the British approach to medical professionals with MRSA contrasts sharply with that in the Netherlands, where hospital staff are regularly screened and sent home if they test positive. The Dutch have one of the lowest MRSA rates in Europe.

Medical experts and patients' pressure groups last night condemned the "relaxed" attitude to the risks posed by doctors and nurses arriving for work on NHS wards every day.

Derek Butler, the chairman of MRSA Action UK, said the Government had to impose tighter rules on staff if it was to "get serious" about tackling an infection that contributes to more than 1,600 deaths every year.

The growing threat


strains of MRSA detected by experts, all showing varying degrees of drug resistance


Death certificates mentioned MRSA in 1993


Death certificates mentioned MRSA in 2006


hospital patients carrying the infection in 2004, as estimated in research carried out for the Conservative Party


of the population carry MRSA, mostly in the nose or on the skin – a total of up to 24 million people


in funding ploughed into a "deep clean" of hospitals, announced by Gordon Brown. The exercise was condemned because many health trusts missed the deadline set for it, and because it didn't tackle the issue of people bringing the bug into hospitals in the first place

MRSA-infected medics allowed to keep working - Health News, Health & Wellbeing - The Independent

Chemotherapy's Damage to the Brain

A commonly used chemotherapy drug causes healthy brain cells to die off long after treatment has ended and may be one of the underlying biological causes of the cognitive side effects ¨C or ¡°chemo brain¡± ¨C that many cancer patients experience. That is the conclusion of a study published today in the Journal of Biology.

A team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Harvard Medical School have linked the widely used chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) to a progressing collapse of populations of stem cells and their progeny in the central nervous system.

¡°This study is the first model of a delayed degeneration syndrome that involves a global disruption of the myelin-forming cells that are essential for normal neuronal function,¡± said Mark Noble, Ph.D., director of the
University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute and senior author of the study. ¡°Because of our growing knowledge of stem cells and their biology, we can now begin to understand and define the molecular mechanisms behind the cognitive difficulties that linger and worsen in a significant number of cancer patients.¡±

Cancer patients have long complained of neurological side effects such as short-term memory loss and, in extreme cases, seizures, vision loss, and even dementia. Until very recently, these cognitive side effects were often dismissed as the byproduct of fatigue, depression, and anxiety related to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now a growing body of evidence has documented the scope of these conditions, collectively referred to as chemo brain. And while it is increasingly acknowledged by the scientific community that many chemotherapy agents may have a negative impact on brain function in a subset of cancer patients, the precise mechanisms that underlie this dysfunction have not been identified.

Virtually all cancer survivors experience short-term memory loss and difficulty concentrating during and shortly after treatment. A study two years ago by researchers with the
James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester showed that upwards of 82 percent of breast cancer patients reported that they suffer from some form of cognitive impairment.

While these effects tend to wear off over time, a subset of patients, particularly those who have been administered high doses of chemotherapy, begin to experience these cognitive side effects months or longer after treatment has ceased and the drugs have long since departed their systems. For example, a recent study estimates that somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of the nation's 2.4 million female breast cancer survivors have lingering cognitive problems years after treatment. Another study showed that 50 percent of women had not recovered their previous level of cognitive function one year after treatment.

Two years ago, Noble and his team showed that three common chemotherapy drugs used to treat a wide range of cancers were more toxic to healthy brain cells than the cancer cells they were intended to treat. While these experiments were among the first to establish a biological basis for the acute onset of chemo brain, they did not explain the lingering impact that many patients experience.

The scientists conducted a similar series of experiments in which they exposed both individual cell populations and mice to doses of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in amounts comparable to those used in cancer patients. 5-FU is among a class of drugs called antimetabolites that block cell division and has been used in cancer treatment for more than 40 years. The drug, which is often administered in a ¡°cocktail¡± with other chemotherapy drugs, is currently used to treat breast, ovarian, stomach, colon, pancreatic and other forms of cancer.

The researchers discovered that months after exposure, specific populations of cells in the central nervous ¨C oligodendrocytes and dividing precursor cells from which they are generated ¨C underwent such extensive damage that, after six months, these cells had all but disappeared in the mice.

Oligodendrocytes play an important role in the central nervous system and are responsible for producing myelin, the fatty substance that, like insulation on electrical wires, coats nerve cells and enables signals between cells to be transmitted rapidly and efficiently. The myelin membranes are constantly being turned over, and without a healthy population of oligodendrocytes, the membranes cannot be renewed and eventually break down, resulting in a disruption of normal impulse transmission between nerve cells.

These findings parallel observations in studies of cancer survivors with cognitive difficulties. MRI scans of these patients¡¯ brains revealed a condition similar to leukoencephalopathy. This demyelination ¨C or the loss of white matter ¨C can be associated with multiple neurological problems.

¡°It is clear that, in some patients, chemotherapy appears to trigger a degenerative condition in the central nervous system,¡± said Noble. ¡°Because these treatments will clearly remain the standard of care for many years to come, it is critical that we understand their precise impact on the central nervous system, and then use this knowledge as the basis for discovering means of preventing such side effects.¡±

Noble points out that not all cancer patients experience these cognitive difficulties and determining why some patients are more vulnerable may be an important step in developing new ways to prevent these side effects. Because of this study, researchers now have a model which, for the first time, allows scientists to begin to examine this condition in a systematic manner.

Other investigators participating in the study include Ruolan Han, Ph.D., Yin M. Yang, M.D., Anne Luebke, Ph.D., Margot Mayer-Proschel, Ph.D., all with URMC, and Joerg Dietrich, M.D., Ph.D., formerly with URMC and now with Harvard Medical School. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Komen Foundation for the Cure, and the Wilmot Cancer Center.

PreMarket - Trader Talk with Bob Pisani - CNBC.com

European bourses are lower today as European banks are continuing to report poor earnings--this morning Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank AG

120.54 UNCH 0%

[DB 120.54 --- UNCH (0%) ] reported its first loss in five years, abandoned its 2008 profit targets and wrote down over $4 b in mortgage-related assets. Allianz [AZ 20.51 --- UNCH (0%) ] also said that their profit targets would be harder to attain.

Spain's biggest bank,



did much better,

but only because Spanish regulations prevent their banks from holding the riskier assets their northern cousins held.

In the U.S., bonds are opening higher, stocks lower, and the modest rally in the dollar continues.


1) Inflation complaints are everywhere:

a) Paper company Temple Inland

loading... %

[ Loading... (%) ] said pricing was not keeping up with inflation. Average prices for recycled fibers was up 21 percent from last year.

b) The inflation Domino's Pizza

Domino's Pizza Inc

12.69 UNCH 0%

[DPZ 12.69 --- UNCH (0%) ] complained about cost inflation and soft domestic sales. They say they are implementing "pricing strategies to attract lower-ticket customer customers, a segment we've left behind in the recent past, as we dramatically increased our prices." Uh, not to be sarcastic, but isn't pizza a lower-ticket item by definition?

2) Many companies complained of slower conditions:

a) Example: Office Depot

Office Depot Inc

11.96 UNCH 0%

[ODP 11.96 --- UNCH (0%) ] . Florida and California notably weak, but even outside those states there was also a deterioration. Still, they beat by a wide margin. North American retail sales were down 7 percent, and the North American Business Solutions Division was down 5 percent, but International was up 6 percent (tired of this "North American weak, International strong story yet? It's happening with all the international companies). Up 7 percent pre-open.

3) Credit cards earnings are simply outstanding.


Visa Inc

75.63 UNCH 0%

[V 75.63 --- UNCH (0%) ] beat, their numbers were strong by any metric you would care to look at. Many analysts raising estimates.

Here's an important point: management said there was no deceleration in transaction or payment volume growth, even though consumer spending is clearly slowing. What does that mean? It's an indication that credit cards as a payment method are clearly winning out over cash and checks. More people are using them, so volume is still growing even though overall consumer spending is slowing. Get that?

Visa is trading down fractionally. Why? Some are whining that the second half operating margin guidance is a bit weak. The real reason it is down is that fast money is taking some profits after a two-week tear that saw the stock go from $65 to $75.


MasterCard Inc

242.5 UNCH 0%

[MA 242.5 --- UNCH (0%) ] was even better. They beat earnings estimates by 30 percent; it's up 10 percent pre-open. Strong growth overseas.

4) Corning

Corning Inc

25.68 UNCH 0%

[GLW 25.68 --- UNCH (0%) ] beat, the CEO said demand for LCD TV sales was still up compared to a year ago and saw no evidence of an inventory buildup. Guidance above estimates. Up 4 percent.

Inflation Complaints Rise, But Credit Card Earnings Boom - Trader Talk with Bob Pisani - CNBC.com

NYSE Arca Morning Update

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)

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



( 20%)





( 19%)


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 Gaps

Gapping up:

ACTU +9.6%, FLS +9.1%, ACTS +8.4%, APOG +6.8%, RDS.A +5.8%, TXRH +5.5%, TSON +4.0%, MCHP +3.8%, GTLS +3.8%, TSO +2.8%, ABT +2.7%, GPRO +2.2%, ETN +1.3%...

Gapping down:

DGII -11.9%, LDSH -11.1%, UCTT -10.8%, TRID -10.4%, MDR -9.7%, CHINA -7.2%, AATI -6.7%, TITN -6.4%, SFN -6.2%, V -5.9%, MRK -5.3%, DHT -4.9%, THC -4.6%, FHN -3.5%, ININ -3.0%, ATHR -2.8%, FTI -2.5%, HIG -2.5%, PRE -2.3%, ABB -2.3%, POT -1.6%, DB -1.4%, NOK -1.2%.

NASDAQ Pre-Market Trading Most Active Stocks

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Advanced

Active Share Volume Declined


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


BEA Systems, Inc.
$19.01 $19.34 1.74% 862,469

Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
$24.57 $24.85 1.14% 42,809

UAP Holding Corp.
$38.90 $39.01 0.30% 3,000

As of 4/29/2008 8:04:23 AM

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Declined

Active Share Volume Advanced


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


Intevac, Inc.
$16.48 $13.35 18.99% 3,980

LCA-Vision Inc.
$12.55 $11.53 8.13% 3,680

ASML Holding N.V.
$28.57 $28.32 0.88% 7,000

Apple Inc.
$172.24 $171.70 0.31% 23,161

Cisco Systems, Inc.
$25.35 $25.28 0.28% 34,970

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1
$47.24 $47.13 0.23% 196,674

As of 4/29/2008 8:05:06 AM

Pre-Market Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

Pre Market analyst calls

  • Affiliated Computer Services (NYSE: ACS) Raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
  • American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) Raised to Buy from Neutral at Banc Of America.
  • Calpine (NYSE: CPN) cut to Hold at Jefferies & Co.
  • Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) Raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
  • Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) Started as Overweight at Thomas Weisel.
  • Ford (NYSE: F) Raised to Hold from Sell at Citigroup.
  • Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT) cut to Outperform from top Pick at RBC Capital Markets.
  • Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) Cut to Market Perform at Morgan Keegan.
  • Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC) cut to Hold at Deutsche Bank.
  • Wachovia (NYSE: WB) Raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

24/7 Wall St.

Pre-Market: World Markets

FTSE 100+10.20+0.17%6,100.60
CAC 40-11.26-0.22%5,001.49
HANG SENG+247.86+0.97%25,914.15
NIKKEI 225+30.90+0.22%13,894.37

U.S. Dollar vs Euro-0.0092-0.59%1.5560

U.S. Dollar vs Yen-0.2600-0.25%0.0096

U.S. Dollar vs UK £-0.02-0.87%1.97
Open Closed

Pre-Market: Stock Trading Before the Markets Open from CNNMoney

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