Last Call: The Mediterranean Mess

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Market Musings With Earnings Impresario Juan Aruego

Most major indexes were down for the third straight day today. The S&P 500 posted its first three-day decline of the 2013. The one major exception was the Dow Jones Industrial Average which eked out a small gain thanks to tepid afternoon buying.

Once again Cyprus developments were a key driver of trading, creating short-lived spikes as traders tried to divine their importance. Housing starts jumping to a 4-year high weren't enough to counteract worries about the mess in the Mediterranean.

The Vix jumped another 8 percent, bringing its two-day gain to 27 percent, but it's still near catatonic levels.

Gold, on the other hand, gained just a buck.

Quick Hits

The Word on the Street Tonight

Freddie Mac Sues Big Banks: WSJ: "Freddie Mac sued more than a dozen big global banks, alleging they caused the government-controlled mortgage investor "substantial losses" by suppressing an interest-rate benchmark from 2007 to 2010. The lawsuit names as defendants U.S. banks including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, global lenders including Credit Suisse and UBS, and the British Bankers' Association, the group that oversees the daily setting of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. The suit claims the defendants colluded to suppress the rate of U.S. dollar Libor, which caused Freddie losses on interest-rate swaps it used to hedge the risks it took on in its mortgage-finance business. The lawsuit is the first U.S. government-backed private litigation against big banks that sit on the panels that set Libor, which is used to help set the rates on trillions of dollars of loans and financial contracts world-wide. Bank of America, JPMorgan, UBS, Credit Suisse, and the bankers' association declined to comment."

Yahoo in Talks to Buy Stake in Video Site Dailymotion: Reuters: "Yahoo is in talks to acquire a controlling stake in Dailymotion, one of the world's most popular online video websites, in what would be Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's largest deal since taking the reins in July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Yahoo could purchase as much as 75 percent of Dailymotion, which is owned by French telecommunications firm France Telecom-Orange, according to the newspaper report, which cited anonymous sources. Dailymotion could be valued at roughly $300 million, according to the report, which noted that the deal isn't imminent and could still fall apart. Yahoo, Dailymotion and France-Telecom Orange declined to comment."

Adobe Earnings Drop, but Top Forecasts/CNBC With Reuters: "Adobe Systems reported first-quarter earnings that fell sharply from a year ago, but beat forecasts as revenue held above $1 billion. Earnings excluding items fell to 35 cents a share from 57 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue decreased to $1.01 billion from $1.04 billion a year ago. Still, both revenue and earnings beat. Analysts had expected earnings excluding items of 31 cents a share on $986 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. Adobe showed strengths in both of its growth objectives-creative cloud subscriptions and digital marketing."

Changing Teams: Adobe Tech Chief Headed to Apple/CNBC: "Kevin Lynch, who led technology engineering at Adobe Systems, has joined Apple as VP of Technology. Adobe announced Lynch's departure in an 8-K filing along with its earnings report. Apple confirmed the move. Adobe said the move is effective March 22 and that it will not be naming a new CTO. "Responsibility for technology development lies with our business-unit heads under the leadership of Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen," Adobe said in a statement."

More DVR Owners in US Never Watch the TV They Record: Variety: "A new study by Motorola Mobility claims that 41 percent of the content recorded on DVRs in the United States is never watched and deleted. Worldwide, that stat is lower, at around 36 percent. Still that's a significant number as networks increasingly want time-shifted viewing through DVRs, video on demand, and web-streaming platforms to be counted as part of Nielsen's Live-plus-7 ratings measurement—or viewing captured within seven days of a program's premiere telecast—when they broker deals with advertisers. At the start of the fall TV season, 46 percent of U.S. homes had a DVR, up 30 percent over the previous year. And that's helped increase the amount of TV consumption, which is up 90 percent around the globe this year to 19 hours, according to Motorola Mobility's fourth annual Media Engagement Barometer."

Actress's Suit Against IMDb for Publishing Her Actual Age Can Go to Trial: NYT: "Junie Hoang, the actress who sued Amazon and its Internet Movie Database unit for posting her age, can take her complaint—or at least some of it—to a jury. Judge Marsha J. Pechman, of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, ruled on Monday that Hoang, whose legal name is Huong Hoang, could proceed to trial with a breach of contract claim and a request for damages related to her career. But Judge Pechman excluded Amazon as a defendant, leaving only its IMDb unit in the suit; barred any claim by Hoang for emotional distress; and granted summary judgment denying a claim that the database had violated the Consumer Protection Act by publishing Hoang's age without her consent. "Anyone who values their privacy and has ever given credit card information to an online company like IMDb or should be concerned about the outcome," Hoang said Tuesday in a statement. A call to Amazon's media relations department drew no immediate response."