tv Closing Bell CNBC October 1, 2009 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
welcome back. down on the floor of the new york stock exchange. poor start to the month, poor start to the quarter. here we are october 1st, dow dropping almost 200 points. that's the worse showing here. on a percentage basis we have since august 17th, we had disappointing numbers on the weekly payroll report. the real move down we saw was middle of the day, mr. bernanke made comments, basically in support of a strong dollar policy and in an indirect way as a result the dollar moved up and
we saw a lot of stocks move to the down side here. stocks up when the dollar drops and the other way around. big commodity stocks were notably weaker today. we'll be ringing the closing bell here. larry fink and the blackrock executives are ringing the symbolic closing bell on the tenth anniversary of their company going public. and there is the closing bell. it is 4:00 on wall street. do you know where your money is? welcome to "the closing bell." i'm maria bartiromo coming to you live from the trading floor of block rock in new york city. unprecedented. is now the time to put money to work in this market? we are kicking off our weekly series "exchange" where we tell
you what's going on on those floors in terms of money activity. larry fink is with us addressing all the issues facing the economy and your investment. 4:00 on the street. dow jones industrial average under pressure all day on the heels of weaker than expected economic news. stock tumbling in the final hour of trading, as well. unemployment claims ahead of the employment data coming out tomorrow. stock has now fallen for six of the last seven trading days. comcast reportedly in talks with general electric. we'll have that story in a few moments. cisco making a big expansion after acquiring norway's tanberg for $3 billion. down in triple digits today and in the extended part of the day, the final hour of trading things worsened, finishing down 205
points at the lows of the session, with a decline of about 2% on the dow. s&p 500 weaker by 27 points. it, too, at the lows of the afternoon. financials and technology on the weak spots today. nasdaq giving up about 2.5% there. the nasdaq composite better than 3% on the decline. s&p down 2.5%. nasdaq down better than 3%. dow jones industrial average better than 2% on the down side. with all the action right now on the floor of the nyse, bob, did you see anything specific that worsened things in that final 20 minutes of trading that took this market to the lows at the close? >> nothing in particular. we did see just general weakness in the sectors that have been weak throughout the day. those are material stocks and the big industrial names. very sensitive to the dollar move. let's look at what happened. it was a poor start to the fourth quarter. we had a great third quarter. here is the key point here. we did have disappointment on the weakless jobless claims numbers. the dollar rallying as stocks
dropped. mr. bernanke spoke about the dollar being at risk unless the budget gap controlled. it was unusual he was heavily questioned on the dollar. dollar up, stocks down. we've seen that story before. nonfarm payrolls report for the month will be out tomorrow. take a look at what some of the moves we had today. that strong dollar usually means weakness in commodities. commodity stocks, big names, all of them down 4%, 5%, when you are looking at copper, steel, potash or energy names to the weak side. with financials there was particular weakness. this often happens on days financials are weak. the regional banks usually are the weakest. bank of america, 24 hours after we heard of ken lewis' retirement is among the weak stocks here. one of the few groups on the up side beer stocks that one of the big international brewers may be talk with rivals for some deal.
that was the story to help move many of the beer stocks to the up side. a lot of technical damage here. the key story, we just saw down about 3% on the s&p 500. dow transports, home builders, airline stocks, material stocks, all of them down 7%, 8%, 9% since hitting their highs in september. there are big moves to the downside. >> thanks very much. let's look at some of the other business headlines. federal chairman ben bernanke testified before the house financial services committee on president obama's proposals to reform financial regulation. despite skepticism, bernanke made his case for giving the central bank oversight on two big financial firms. >> i believe the expertise we developed in supervising large diversified banking organizations, together with our broad knowledge of the financial markets in which these organizations operate, makes the federal reserve well suited to serve as a consolidated
supervisors for those financial institutionings that may not be subject to the bank holding act. >> the ism manufacturing index slipped to a reading of 52.6 last month missing wall street expectations. it is the second conservative month manufacturing activity grew after 18 straight months of contraction. the labor department reports initial jobless claims rose by a higher than expected level of 551,000 last week. the number of americans continuing to cloekt unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to just under 6.1 million. we are coming to you today from the block rack trading floor in new york city. the company is celebrating its tenth anniversary since the initial public offering. the stock has done extraordinarily well. certainly relative to the rest of the market. it is up 32% versus an s&p 500 that is flat in a ten-year period. the stock has advanced more than 1600% overall. we are back with larry fink, chairman and ceo of blackrock. in a moment, we will talk with
bob doll, vice chairman and global chief investment officer for equities here at blackrock. larry, you are about to complete the deal with barclays for bgi. why was that acquisition so par? tell me what it gives the firm so you can give me a sense where blackrock goes next. >> if i had, if i was asked and i was asked numerous times what are the few firms i really expected, bgi was always on that list. it was a great organization, great culture, a great history with investors, and it also had the leading platform of etfs called ishares with about 48% market share in the fastest-growing component of the mutual fund area. you put together its strength in equities, its unique position in indexing and lending, it has given us a much broader base to work with our clients worldwide.
i do believe, as we discussed earlier about liquidity, one important component of liquidity going forward, we are going to see investors spending a little more time, larger allocations in more beta-like products which are index and ishares business. the other thing i find intriguing about the etf business, if you as an individual investor decide you are very constructive on brazil, you can buy an etf whatever it costs you on the floor of the exchange, execute and have a diversified portfolio brazilian stocks. so the etf market is a market that's going to have tremendous growth. it's going to be a larger and larger component of the overall mutual fund platform. it's a business we think is complementary to our strong fundamental retail mutual fund platform. >> for a long time etfs were thought of as retail. now you are seeing institutional players. >> dennis stattman, too, as a
mechanism to get exposure. etfs can provide institutions with exposure. i think i read recently that some of the large endowments invested in etfs as an asset allocation. so we are seeing about 50% of the market today is institutional. 50% retail. the market has really expanded. >> and there's tax efficiency and transparency also going along with that. let me bring in bob doll to talk about where he is investing right now to get a sense. bob, are you with us? >> hi, maria. >> thanks for joining us, bob. it is good to talk to you. begin the fact we did see a 200-point sell-off thai in the market and we've seen such a run-up, are you expecting this to continue? not to make you a short-term investor because i know you are a long-term thinker. to what do you attribute the most recent upset in this market or is this just valuation? >> i think the markets just acted tired. the economic statistics over the
last three or four weeks have not been as uniformly good as they were prior to that. the market's waking up saying, we are in recovery. recession is over, but it's going to be murky out there. i think as a result, the market's pulling back and bob reported what is pulling back the most. the most cyclical higher-beta areas. focus on quality. >> quality is large companies that have exposures all around the world? aren't we seeing weakness in some of the economies around the world? for example, some people say, look, europe is still stuck in the mud. is that true or is that turning? >> i would agree. much of europe is turning, but very slow the same way. when i say quality, i mean strong balance sheets. i like businesses that are somewhat independent of the economy. dennis mentioned telecoms and health care a few minutes ago. i would echo that. these are businesses that have lagged the market as these big
cyclical leveraged companies have come to the fore. therefore, the valuation of these other names is much cheaper. and you don't have to worry so much about the pace of economic growth. >> what gets you nervous, bob? what do you look at that perhaps could be a wrench in the story? >> well, the slow growth, the slow nominal growth means deflation is not dead. the last few months with the markets moving up, it sure seems like reflation is winning. we think they will win, but with bouts of deflation along the way. inability to raise prices, price rollbacks, certain loans that don't get repaid. these things can cause us to go bump in the night, not to mention even geo politics. >> thank you, bob doll, joining us from blackrock. larry, another concern people have is the federal reserve exit strategy. how worried are you about the fed stepping away from some of these stimulus packages that have been effective?
>> the federal reserve have many tools to reduce their exposure through, and talking about reverse repo. that raised the short-term rates. so i'm a little more worried about how easy it will be for the federal reserve to remove some of these assets on their balance sheets. i think the economy, as i said earlier, is going to be slower. i think it's going to be a tough job for the federal reserve. they are certainly able to do it, but i think it will be tougher, especially in light of the weakened dollar. if the dollar continues to weaken, it's going to have more pressure. >> if you had to make a bet where the dollar is in a year, is it lower? >> i'm bullish about the dollar versus sterling versus the euro, but i think in the short run
there are short run pressures to probably keep the dollar fairly low. i think as dennis and bob said, europe has its own problems, too. u.k. has its own problems. getting back to my statement about liquidity, if you are worried about liquidity, there is no other place to be other than the u.s. dollar. i don't see a freefall for the dollar. i see there are going to be periods of time where people are going to run into the dollar and periods of time people will be diminishing their role of the dollar. i think it will be in a trading range. i'm not worried about a collapse. >> we'll talk more about your business. you started blackrock in a one-room office on park avenue, i know. we are going to go back to that day and also tell our audience where you see the firm going forward. cnbc reporting ge is in talks of comcast about a spin-off of nbc universal. >> thanks. that's right. as we first were reporting, ge
and comcast are in talks about a deal that would transfer control of nbc universal to comcast by merging with the content assets of comcast and a good deal of cash. the deal under consideration would allow comcast to take 51% economic control of nbc universal, which people close to negotiations tell me is currently being valued at roughly $30 billion. that could change as the two sides continue to negotiate. the perspective deal is complex. it is far from a certainty. under the scenario being contemplated, ge would spin nbc universal with a significant amount of debt into a new company. comcast would merge content value that as much as $6 billion along with cash so that it would take a 51% ownership stake. ge would control 49%. as part of the spin-off, it would be able to contribute as much as $12 billion in debt to the spun-off entity, according
to people who are close to these negotiations. bankers on both sides of this deal tell me nothing is imminent and given the high degree of difficulty making this work, they are far from certain a deal will get done. still, the willingness of ge to consider shedding nbc universal is of great significance. nbc universal is not considered a core asset of the company, say people familiar with management's thinking at ge. should this deal take place, ge will be left to focus on reducing the size of ge capital and growing its industrial businesses. despite the sell-off today in comcast stock price, under the scenario being contemplated, comcast would not issue equity or endanger its investment grade credit rating. it's not clear it would have to be borrowing to contribute the cash. vivendi will tell ge it plans to exit the stake. ge would buy the vivendi stake for perhaps as much as $6 billion and put the borrowing on
that purchase on nbc's balance sheet and add further debt to nbc universal and spin it off, assuming the company is valued at $30 billion as being contemplated and subtracting that $12 billion in debt, comcast would need to contribute $9 billion to get at that 51% stake. keep in mind these numbers may change, negotiations continue. over time, comcast is expected to increase its ownership stake in the new company and could fund those purchases through the cash flow it receives from the company itself. comcast ceo brian roberts has long coveted control of content assets. with shareholders not always behind him in that effort. ge and comcast officials declined all comments. we'll keep a close eye on comcast shares tomorrow. down 7% today. they need those to calm down if these negotiations are going to continue to a fruitful outcome. >> if it's 20% vivendi owns, why not just sell 20%?
comcast wants control, 51%? >> that's right. if comcast were to have stepped up saying we want to buy the vivendi stake, there is nothing that comes along with that. it's a passive, noncontrol stake, with no real path to control the company. the fact it is probably coming to the market though did spark these conversations which now advanced a bit. perhaps far more than we thought a short time ago of 24 hours. nonetheless, the 20% wouldn't have been anything. this is a seminole moment for comcast and ge. >> for sure. thanks. coming up, sue wagoner joins us with a glimpse into the company's m&a strategy. it's been ten years since the ipo of this company. here is a shot of larry fink making his first-ever trade of blackrock stock. the hops for the michelob brewing company. there are hundreds of growers here
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welcome back. market down 203 points of the dow jones industrial average. cisco putting some of its big cash pile to work, announcing it is acquiring norwegian video conferencing company tandberg for $3 billion. take a look at cisco shares tonight, overall technology was under pressure. the nasdaq composite down about better than 64 points lower. cisco down 1.74%. constellation brands made $100 million in the second quarter after losing $123 million a year ago due to cost cutting and growth in the company's spirits business. constellation brands, let's look at that chart. up nearly 7%. kb home was down graded to neutral. the analyst is cutting the target price to $17 down from
$19, saying he is concerned that the cut-off of the first time home buyer tax credit will lead to a dropdown. wall street kicks off the fourth quarter on a down note. charley matheson joining me on thoughts of the trade. we saw the market sell-off accelerate. earlier we did have some upset over the economic data of the day. right in the last 15 minutes or so things really sort of worsened down 200. >> i wonder whether traders began to focus, turn their eyes to tomorrow, which is the big unemployment report out of the labor department at 8:30 a.m. as you mentioned, the news this morning that jobless claims ran higher than most people had anticipated and were up from the prior week really began to take hold. we also found out late in the day, an influential economist at goldman sachs increased his
prediction of how many jobs would be payroll jobs, would be lost when that number comes out tomorrow. i want to harken back, if i might, to what bob doll mentioned a few moments ago. he said that the economic numbers we have started to see in recent days, most especially today, but for the past, have not been the utter sort of green light snare joe we have been seeing there for a while. maybe this is the hiccup in the market that is reflecting some of those ambivalent econo numbers. >> right. were you surprised over the last several months to see this market run away while tyler is mentioning and so many of us noted the economic data was not keeping pace with what's going on with stocks? >> i think we did see increases improvement in the economic data.
with that and all the stimulus packages, the idea you can earn more than zero, you are not losing money, we are seeing a record amount of clients looking to put more money to work. a lot of money is being put to work right now. that has generated this huge interest in the equity market. i believe the market is probably a little ahead of itself. i think what has happened though, economists were wrong in march about how they were predicting worse conditions and are now seeing improvements. expectations are running faster than the economic conditions. >> can i ask larry a question? i don't know the answer.
is any magic to the fact, larry, that this sizable decline we had today is tied in some way or another to the fact we are now in a fresh quarter, the fourth quarter and there is something magical, not literally magical, about the fact that it is october 1? >> i think you are absolutely right. we are in a new quarter. i think some of us are saying we went a little too far in the third quarter and now it is a fresh quarter. we had disappointing economic news, fears about tomorrow's employment information. so the market is reassessing itself. so i think this is just a natural result of a little more anxiety in the marketplace and a little more anxiety is probably necessary. there was just a little too much enthusiasm as we closed out the third quarter. >> particularly as we enter this
quarter and i've got the holiday season coming up and what are the expectations for retail going into the holidays? you are not necessarily seeing people decide i want to spend all this money. they've been hoarding their cash. >> it's very clear when we looked at retailers and their sales, retailer sales were not as robust as our hopes were. now we are going into the fourth quarter. now it's time to really test our theories that the market is improving, that the consumer is unlocking some of their savings, so we enter the fourth quarter with a little more fear. this fear is good. it's necessary. i would the not be surprised to see a little more fear in the coming weeks. on the other hand, i think we are going to end the year probably modestly higher. >> and not to mention modestly higher. we are already so high on a number of the indexes. look at valuation. why don't you put that also into this soup here? when you look at the s&p 500, up
almost 60%. nasdaq up almost 60% just from the lows. >> we've got the ps rising. we have to see the es rising. if the es do start to catch up here, you find those valuations can be justified. the proof is in the pudding and we'll start to see beginning week after next some of the earnings that come out and we'll see how american companies are doing. remember that fourth quarter a year ago was probably the trough of the recession, if my guess is right, and some of the comparables will show improvement both in sequential quarters and compared to a year ago. we have to see the es come along to justify these ps. >> you're right, tyler. thanks so much. tyler mentioned something interesting and important. one year ago we were looking at the worldcoming to an end and the financial system possibly on the verge of collapse. when did you worry the most? what was it for you?
give me your sense of what went on a year ago. were we that close? >> i think the worst moment when the reserve fund broke the dollar and the commercial paper market totally froze up. firms like ge were concerned about rolling their commercial paper. we had a locking of short-term funding for american corporations. that could have been the most damaging component of this collapse. the federal reserve was very quick in restabilizing it through their purchase programs, but if that did not happen as rapidly, we would have had a p much greater and severe correction in the market. >> you had a fantastic ten years. was it "fortune" magazine who called you the king of wall street? >> i don't remember. >> sure you don't. where did the growth come at blackrock the next ten years. let's take five. where is the growth coming from?
>> we are positioned quite well for growth. i believe a great amount of growth is going to be coming from overseas. we are talking about china, brazil, the indian markets that are going to have faster growth than our market. that means greater savings, that means greater, a faster growth in their middle class area of these countries. savings will be larger. so we expect opportunities overseas to be very robust over the next five years. we believe retirement in the united states is going to have to be addressed very importantly. most americans do not have enough money saved in retirement. >> what about the financial services industry as a sector? are we talking about a smaller industry with less leverage or are we talking about too big to
fail still existing? most people say you still have too big to fail. >> we need large institutions. i think we should not run away from large institutions. large institutions can provide cheaper products, better products to our investors. we are going to have banks are going to operate with lower leverage though, but i think as a combination of stronger capital with large institutions. that's what we need. >> you think we need financial reform? >> we definitely need financial reform. >> thank you for having me today. we appreciate it and thank you for joining us on the program. larry fink, chairman and ceo of blackrock, celebrating ten years as an ipo. a real stes story. marvin odum telling us where he thinks oil prices are headed and he thinks president obama's cap-and-trade will hurt the energy industry.
odum, president of the shell oil company. thank you very much for joining us. can you give us a sense of the supply/demand fundamentals for oil around the world? >> if you look at supply and demand, oil is oversupplied. we are in this down market the first time actually this decade, we've seen a decrease in oil demand. some people would estimate oil demand could be down as much as 2 million barrel as day in 2009. that's on the back of an increase of about 1 million a day increase in demand since the year 2000. it's a different picture right now. >> is that what's driving the market or is a weak dollar driving the oil market? >> there is a combination of both, of course. i think the real thing driving the market is not getting too stuck in what's happening today and looking forward and saying, where is this total picture going? what is the supply/demand look out into the future as the economy starts to rebound, will there be enough? >> how do you operate your business with these unknowns. you've got to hedge your bets. >> the primary thing we try to do is operate through these
cycles. this is the history of the oil and gas business are going through these kind of economic cycles. we think beyond that, the projects we put in place now are typically multibillion dollar projects. they may have a life as long as 20, 30, 40 years. we look beyond any particular cycle. >> where are the most important projects right now? you've got to be operating at hostile places. they literally are all over the world. we have a significant amount of investment that goes into the north american market, for example. there's an enormous potential in this market, as well. >> is that right? >> that's one of the key questions the u.s. needs to answer for itself, will we develop those resources we have in this country? when i look at the oil and gas resources off the coast of alaska, for example, potentially more in the gulf of mexico, the natural gas boone we are going through in the onshore part of the u.s., lots of opportunities in this part of the world.
>> we went to some of those facilities and did a one-hour special called "black gold" and looked at the areas of alaska. it was fascinating to see so much potential. here we are with $70 a barrel oil causing conversations about oil alternatives. what is the most viable alternative to oil as it relates to transportation? >> is there a number. in our view, my view, biofuels will probably get to a scale where it impacts the total energy mix the quickest. we work in biofuels and solar, wind. wind is probably the next biggest in terms of its time to real impact on the system. the main thing to keep in mind is the real transition time associated with shifting the energy mix, not just in this country, but in the world. >> does the conversation change when oil is back down to $70 versus $150? does it take on less urgency?
>> it changes and i think it's actually something we need to keep a close eye on. some of this may very well be addressed for government policy. the thing you have to worry about, as the economy will rebound, which it certainly will, we know at the same time the world is growing. we look forward to the middle of this century and say we could have 9 billion people in the world, all of which are consuming energy. in a down cycle like this where you have maybe a 20% drop-off in oil and gas investments, and as much as a 40% drop-off in investments and renewable energy, the big question to keep in mind is are we going to have the supplies we need in the decades into the future? >> as far as demand, do you worry when you see things like china and russia getting together doing deals? these are the big customers that the american oil companies need. >> we work with all of these countries and work closely developing their resources and bringing supplies to them. as an international company we
work seamlessly with those groups. sitting in the u.s., i think it's something the u.s. ought to pay attention to. do we develop resources in this country? >> real quick, but why has oil gone in the opposite direction as gas? >> it is a simple supply/demand picture. we've been through a transformation of natural gas in the u.s. where we found enormous new supplies. those supplies are being confirmed with the economy dropping off, the demand dropped off. we are in what i call a temporary oversupply situation in natural gas. >> marvin great to have you on the program again. thanks for spending the time. marvin odum here. up next, we are talking to blackrock's coo. we'll talk about the status of the acquisition of barclays investors. stay with us. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 i want everything right where i can find it.
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investors. a week ago european regulators gave the green light to the deal and the woman overseeing the deal is joining me now, sue wagner and founding member of blackrock. just last month she was named one of the 50 most powerful women by "forbes" and "cranes new york business." i saw you at the more tune most powerful woman summit of "fortune" magazine. nice to have you on the program. >> thank you, maria. >> you are overseeing the integration of these two firms. how is it going and tell me what you've been dealing with closely. >> first of all, i think it's going really well. i think the teams are working great together. the challenge of an integration at this stage before we close is mostly about everybody learning more about each other, being good listeners, beginning to think about how we come together to best serve our combined clients. and ensure we provide sort of a smooth transition, a seamless transition for those clients as
we bring together disparrate views. >> people say the most important thing when do you a deal is culture. you've got the culture of barclays and blackrock. how do those cultures different and how do you get them in sync? >> i think that is a long process. it happens over the course of two years. i think the cultures have a lot of similarities. we are both deeply committed to focusing on our clients, to delivering the best investment products possible to our clients. using disciplined investment processes. we are both very committed to risk management. i think there are differences we approached the markets differently in the past, and so i think there are some difference necessary our cultures that relate to that approach that have grown out of those approaches. bgi using more of a scientific or model-driven approach.
overall, think we are going to bring these companies together in a way that features in some respects the best of both organizations and ability to bring different views together to try to create more robust solutions for clients going forward. >> nice you've got this global portfolio to look at. what do clients want today? tell me what you hear from clients in an environment where the market has traded up as much as it has and they've got a lot of asset classes today to choose from. >> right. i think that away from the short term interests, our focus bringing two companies together is how are we going to achieve better solutions over the long-term for our clients? i think what we hear from clients is they are looking for different approaches to asset allocations. there are so many different things for them to choose from. we see them mixing more index or etf products with actively-managed products to enhance returns. we see them looking for more advice. we see that advice embedded in a
whole variety of different kinds of products, balance or asset allocation products, life cycle products, fiduciary outsoring and liability investing for pension plans. there is a wide range of solutions. we also know people are thinking about what are the ideas for the future that can help them meet their needs? there are hard problems on the horizon. larry mentioned before about the needs of retirees. i'm not sure any of us has found the right solutions for that. >> have those priorities changed begin the year we all just witnessed? >> i think they've only increased. >> worries increased? >> absolutely. the cliched line of the 401(k) has become the 201k. i think people are more atuned to the risks of investing and i think they are atuned to how they are going to satisfy their needs going forward.
retirement, for health care, across a whole variety of concerns. >> are you still looking for a december closing? >> we are. we are still on track for a december close. as you mentioned a minute ago you ju, eu gave their approval. we are in the process of a mutual fund proxy and don't see anything to take us off track. >> sue, thank you for being on the program. >> thank you, maria. >> i know you are getting ready to move into a much bigger trading floor. about the size of the floor behind us. >> we are. >> we'll be watching that. >> thank you very much. >> how much of a cash for clunkers hangover automakers are dealing with now.
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go national. go like a pro. welcome back now. a look at today's business headlines. the national association of realtors reports pending home sales rose by a higher than expected 6.4% in the month of august, the highest level since march of '07 and 12% above last year's levels. pending home sales increased for seven months in a row. the commerce department reports consumer spending was up 1.3% in
august, the largest increase in nearly eight years due to the cash for clunkers program. personal spending inched up just 0.2%. automakers getting hit hard by the cash for clunkers hangover. gm sales plummeted 47%. chrysler sales down more than 44%. toyota sales down 16%. ford experiencing an 8.9% decline in sales. >> several big technology companies mounds of cash right now. cisco decides to put some of the money to work buying up a norwegian firm. find out what other technology names may be ready for some wheeling and dealing, look at it, look at cash levels when we come right back on "closing bell."
cisco's deal shows clearly cash is still very much king. cisco shares, they're right near just a little below their 52-week high, yet the company does the transaction with tanberg for a chunk of the $35 billion it has on its balance sheet and cisco isn't alone when it comes to hoarding cash. the amount of cash out there is just staggering, 247, wall street says something like $335 billion now spread over just the top 20 names in tech. take a look at where that cash sittings. microsoft $36 billion. hewlett-packard $25 billion. google and intel, each with $19 billion. ibm with $12.5 billion and that's just a sample. all of these companies are rather robust m & a strategies most doing deals and apparently floor, more. not to mention the big deals that have already occurred. dell and perot systems. microsoft dismissed rumors of a
potential play for electronic arts but still talk of a possible tie-up between palm and nokia and routine speculation, always, surrounding google and sales force.com and what about hp's potential to the teleconference today. suggests polycom might number play now. much more about this on the blog of course. tech check.cnbc diagram. maria, back to you. >> thank you very much. melissa lee is standing by there with a preview of what is coming up at top of the hours, "fast money." >> the markets pulled off nicely, first day of the quarter we'll bring in a technical analyst to tell us where the stocks are headed next and also 24 hours after charlie gasparino broke the big news of ken lewis stepping down after the big year, we'll have charlie back. we'll bring in a top-ranked analyst in the media space tell us,trade this news. maria, all of that and more at