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Leigh Baldwin & Co.

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Diamonds and Dogs

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Friday, January 9th, 2009
Listen to the giant sucking sound. Starting off the New Year where we left off on the job front, employment data was released today that was less than stellar. Unemployment jumped to 7.2%, the highest level since 1993. And that is the number that the government is letting us see. The loss of jobs last year (2.6 million) is the most since 1945 as we drew WWII to a close.

Diamonds
In a case of in with the good and out with the bad, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are talking about merging their brokerage businesses. MS was up 76 cents as the rumors swirled that they would have the largest stake in the deal. MS closed the session at $19.58, a far cry from yearly highs but at least they aren't requiring a government bail-out as of now.

Dogs
Harley Davidson (HOG) fell almost 9% today as their chief financial guru has decided to pursue other things. At $16 per share, HOG has been choppered in half this year as spending on discretionary items has fallen. With a yield of 7.6%, value investors may keep this priced around here, but Wall Street has to be asking, "why is the money guy biking out of town?"

Thursday, January 8th, 2009
Adolf Merckle, the German Billionaire considered to be the Warren Buffett of that country, committed suicide last Monday night. Blaming the financial meltdown of his family business, the 74 year old jumped in front of a train. With all the businesses that the former 94th richest man held, let's hope the train was not one of his own.

Diamonds
GameStop (GME) rallied $2.97 to close the session at $25.58. The used and new video game retailer reported an increase of 10% in sales over the holiday season as compared to the previous year. GME is down from its highs but the operator of 52,00 stores under the names of GameStop and EB Games should be able to weather the current economic storm.

Dogs
Wal-Mart (WMT), one of only two Dow stocks positive last year, had the clock strike midnight today as they reported lower sales, blamed in part by bad snow storms. Bad snow storms, what about less spending by a tapped out consumer? In any event, WMT fell over $4, helping the DOW show losses for the day, on top of Wednesday's 300 point loss.

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Diamonds

Here's a New Year's resolution! NutriSystem (NTRI), the leading provider of weight management products and services announced today that it has partnered with Costco, a leader in wholesale retail. Through this collaboration, consumers will be able to purchase the NutriSystemŽ program in all 384 continental U.S. Costco stores. NTRI shares gained 9.44 percent to $16.12 today. The stock has traded between $10.01 and $30.62 during the past 52 weeks. Eat great, feel full, AND lose weight!


Dogs

One of the day's big losers for a Utica, N.Y.based company! Shares of ConMed (CNMD) plummeted $7.05, or 29.4%, to $16.94. The medical-technology firm cut its fourth-quarter and 2009 outlook on lower-than-expected sales volume for equipment as hospital customers delayed and cut orders. The medical device maker said today that its 4th-quarter 2008 earnings would be approximately 9.0% less than it had anticipated. For 2009, the company forecasted adjusted earnings of $1.15-$1.25 per share compared to analyst EPS estimates of $1.78.



Diamonds and Dogs market commentary is a journal of daily observations on anything that happens to be of interest to our author. Obviously, our primary focus is the stock market and world economic events, but for this page we have no defined topics. We want this page to be dedicated to the interests, concerns, and possibly to the financial gain of our clients and friends. All comments contained herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The firm does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information or make any warranties regarding results from it's usage.