What's Important in the Financial World (12/20/2012)


Gun and Ammo Sales

Gun and ammo sales have surged, so say several surveys. This is happening at the same time as politicians start to offer gun control legislation and many Americans press for assault rifles to be taken out of circulation. Apparently, some Americans still believe that to fight guns, they need more guns of their own. No matter what the reason, the total number of firearms held by U.S. citizens has soared since the Newtown massacre. According to Bloomberg:

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said yesterday that it would continue to sell guns, including rifles like the one used at Newtown, where 26 people, most of them children, were killed on Dec. 14. By contrast, Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. suspended sales of similar guns at its more than 500 stores.

Searches of five kinds of semi-automatic rifles on Wal-Mart's website showed them to be out of stock at stores in five states, including Pennsylvania, Kansas and Alabama. Wal-Mart doesn't sell guns online, instead asking customers to input a zip code to see if their local store carries a specific weapon.

Google Asset Sale

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) dumped the part of Motorola Mobility it did not want when it bought the company. Motorola's cable set-top business may still make money, but the older boxes have been pushed out of living rooms by Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) TV and a series of other new age TV electronics. According to Bloomberg:

Google Inc. agreed to sell its Motorola Home business to Arris Group Inc. for $2.35 billion, finding a buyer for a division that sells television set-top boxes while it focuses on expanding in smartphones.

Arris, a cable-equipment maker, will pay about $2.05 billion in cash and about $300 million in newly issued shares that will give Google a stake of about 15.7 percent, the companies said yesterday in a statement. Enlarge image Google Sells Motorola Home to Arris for $2.35 Billion

Google acquired its Motorola Home Business division through the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. in May.

Google, which acquired the division through the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. in May, received multiple offers on Dec. 7, a person with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

RIM and Nokia Rallies

Wall St.'s uncanny new love of battered handset companies Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) continues. The stocks in each firm are up more than 40% in the past month. The improvements do not make sense. Each continues to lose ground to leaders Apple and Samsung. Optimists might argue that the stock prices were so low that they had nowhere to go but up. RIM has a tiny chance to improve its fortunes with a new BlackBerry 10 line. But there is no evidence that the product will have any features that would make it more attractive than the better selling smartphones. The same is true of new Lumia phones from Nokia, which run the new Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows mobile OS. Windows continues to have a very small portion of the global OS market, which is controlled by Google's Android. The other possible cause for the increase in the share prices of the two companies is that they have become attractive takeover targets. The problem with that reasoning is that, if they are targets, why wouldn't buyers have made offers when the stocks were at their lows.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, DKS, GOOG, MSFT, NFLX, NOK, RIMM, WMT