Five Things We're Watching: March 2, 2011
The Oracle speaks, sky-rocketing oil prices, a new toy from Apple and more testimony from Helicopter Ben. Here's some of what we’re watching – and therefore you should as well.
1. Buffett Unplugged
We’re talking Warren, not Jimmy Buffett. Regardless, this guy is our rock star and when he is in the building, we listen. Well, he’s not really in the building but Becky Quick is in Omaha with the Oracle for a special “Ask Warren” edition of Squawk Box. The boss of Berkshire Hathaway's explicit mention of a loaded “elephant gun” and “itchy” trigger finger has deal junkies and Buffett watchers speculating about a range of targets We’re hoping he drops a few more hints about deals, succession and a whole lot more. Keep those questions coming.
2. Bernanke's Back
The Fed chairman is no Charlie Sheen but we’re going to hear from him again tomorrow, when he returns to Congress for day two of his semi-annual testimony. His talking points haven’t changed overnight but the House is a rowdier bunch than the Senate so expect a rowdier reception. In particular, there will be a push by some for the Fed to abandon its dual mandate to keep both inflation and unemployment low so it can solely focus on the former.
3. Oil and Jobs
It’s all about these two. That $100 price tag may not be temporary after all. At this point, concerns in the market extend well beyond Libya to other major oil-producing states. Already jittery traders are glued to Arabic web sites in between waiting for the ADP private-sector payroll report, which is supposed to point to an increase of 170,000 jobs in February. Economists watch it as a barometer of the jobs report but its track record has been spotty of late. Or as Steve Liesman put it so eloquently: “It’s Lucy pulling out the football.”
4. Meet the Ipad
At 1:00pm ET, the lights will dim inside San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center and Apple COO Tim Cook will unveil the second-generation iPad. Just as much attention will be paid to the absence of Steve Jobs as to the new device, although many analysts anticipate a pop in Apple shares on the product news. And nobody would be stunned if the event comes with a "oh, and one more thing…" Rumors are swirling that a Jobs appearance isn't out of the question.
5. The Not-So-Super Bowl
We cover serious business issues at CNBC like management, labor – and football. As the NFL owners and players association face off once more ahead of the Thursday night expiration of the league's collective bargaining agreement, this is turning out to be an object (or abject) lesson in labor-management relations. But, seriously, if this impacts fantasy football season, it will be no laughing matter. Our sportsbiz reporter, Darren Rovell, is on the case.
Finally, everyone knows smoking kills. But in 2011, companies like Philip Morris International, Lorillard , Reynolds American and Altria are making record profits, and 1 BILLION people use tobacco each day worldwide. How can this be happening? Watch "Cigarette Wars" at 9 pm tomorrow to find out.