Mark Koba is a senior editor at CNBC.com. Topics for his feature story writing include the business of politics, health care, employment and the economy.
Before working at CNBC.com, he spent 11 years at Bloomberg LP, where among various duties, he was program producer for the award-winning "Bloomberg Small Business" television show.
Koba's background includes a decade of news writing and show producing at CNN, E! Entertainment Television, ABC's "World News Now," "Good Morning America" and CBS' "This Morning."
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Some big news today even before the opening bell. Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli resigned this morning--effective immediately. Vice Chairman Frank Blake will take over the top spot. Nardelli had been CEO for the past six years and had upset many investors with the size of his pay package and the company's performance. Talking about the sudden change on "Squawk Box" was retail analyst David Schick from Stifel Nicolaus & Co. He spoke by phone.
As we've noted before--the U.S. housing market had its up and down in 2006. But when it comes to REITs (real estate investment trusts)--they did incredibly well--up on average of 35% for 2006. As we've been asking the question in other economic areas today--we ask if that kind of return will continue for REITs in 2007? Most say yes. John Wenker is portfolio manager for First American Real Estate and Michael Grupe is Executive VP of Research at NAREIT.
Not everyone is predicting a rosy economic scenario for 2007. There are some who think we could have some hard times this year. One of those is Emanuel Balarie. He's senior market strategist at Wisdom Financial. On "Power Lunch," Balarie says the U.S. housing market is still a concern. In fact, he says that besides housing---recession and inflation are major concerns as well.
The U.S. government spent some $30 billion on the defense in 2006--and that helped make stocks in the sector quite valuable to investors. As we look into 2007, the question about how defense stocks will do this year was a topic on "Morning Call" (we had viewer email submissions). The question may be even more important as the Democrats take control of Congress.
This could get confusing. We just heard from someone who likes small caps for 2007 but what's the view on large caps? Will they still hold investor interest this year or will small caps rule? George Foley is First Vice President, Portfolio Manager at Glenmede Large Cap Value Fund . He appeared on "Squawk on the Street" to give his forecast.
Funeral services for former President Gerald Ford are underway. His coffin is at the U.S. Capitol--shortly to be moved to Washington DC's National Cathedral. From there--it will be flown to Grand Rapids, Michigan for burial. CNBC's Hampton Pearson is reporting live through the day. He said that some 30,000 people have passed by the casket in the last two days.
As we end for today, we can safely report it's been a banner year for stocks--by just about everyone's measuring stick. Bonds didn't so bad either. Blue chips were certainly the big standouts of 2006. The Dow Jones industrial average--the index of 30 of the nation’s biggest companies, hit record levels dozens of times since closing at 12,011.73 on Oct. 19. It's since surged to an intra-day high of 12,529.87. All this despite....
It might be nice to have your medical records available online no matter where you are in the world. In case you get hurt or injured--a doctor in New York could look at your records if you're from say--California. But what if those records reveal medical secrets you'd rather NOT have opened--like psychiatric evaluations? This begs the question: what are the pros and cons of having electronic medical records?
Investors still seem to think Apple is worth something. Shares of the computer giant are holding strong so far today--as the company released information saying it found NO misconduct by CEO Steve Jobs in regards to backdating stock options between 1997 and 2001. But--not all is well with Jobs and Apple according to Christopher Whalen. He's senior vice-president at Institutional Risk Analytics.
The 110th session of the U.S. Congress opens in less that one week--and the Democrats are back in power in both the house and senate. One of their stated goals is making health care more affordable for Americans. But is that good news or bad news for HMOs? And either way--which healthcare stocks should investors look at?