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Many Happier Returns

2007, Christmastime:

The season may seem, well, sub-prime.

It's hard to keep up calm composures

Totting up last week's foreclosures,

Nor do sunken CDOs

Inspire hearty ho-ho-hos.

Add to those a plunging buck:

How long will it be out of luck?

But for a nanosec, what say

We stow the doom and gloom away

And summon better times, not worse,

With this, a modest yuletide verse,

A yuletide verse that for a change'll

Not be penned by Roger Angell:

Many happier returns

To Merrill (MER), Citi (C), and Bear Stearns (BSC).

To Ford (F), a hybrid SUV

That gets 100 mpg.

To Apple (AAPL), after iPhone/iPod,

One more smash to form a tripod.

For 3M (MMM), at least a mockup

Of some goo that sends your stock up.

Amazon (AMZN): We pray the wind'll

Fill your sails as you launch Kindle,

And let's hope those inkjets might

Make Eastman Kodak (EK)'s picture bright.

May the 787

Rocket Boeing (BA)'s stock to heaven,

And, in going still more global,

Please get greener, ExxonMobil (XOM).

Motorola (MOT), time has flown;

May you get past the 3G phone,

And may the cash flow stay as free

At IBM (IBM) and P&G (PG).

Biofood, please be Viagra,

Lifting profits at ConAgra (CAG).

Post-misguided market hype,

May eBay (EBAY) soon bounce back from Skype.

May Walt Disney (DIS)'s wish be granted,

That its grosses stay Enchanted.

Anyway, of this we're certain:

Nothing will harm Halliburton (HAL).

On a human scale, a thankee

To Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke;

Keeping rates so calibrated

Isn't easy, as you've stated.

Let a rum and Coke be sent

To new Coke (KO) honcho Muhtar Kent,

While Howard Schultz, we hope that Starbucks (SBUX)

Still pulls in the coffee-bar bucks.

Richard Branson, further glory

Spreading Virgin territory

(Hope you're not in for a shock

Should you acquire Northern Rock).

Google (GOOG)'s looking pretty fit;

We hope it stays so, Eric Schmidt,

But if you find you have to rough it,

Rough it à la Warren Buffett.

Let more Hockneys be bestowed

On Eli Broad (it rhymes with "road"),

While for Jeff Zucker, this we'd like,

A swift end to the writers' strike.

Martha Stewart, season's greeting;

How's that linzer torte you're eating?

Share a piece with Jerry Yang,

Who's talking shop with Dennis Hwang,

But don't give one to Roger Ailes,

You'll tip the fair-and-balanced scales.

Here's a hope not too much work'll

Spoil the season for Ron Burkle,

Nor will hours on the phone

Keep Christmastime from John Malone.

Lastly, heartfully expressed:

Rupert Murdoch, take a rest.

For us working stiffs, well, peace,

And no more U.S. debt increase,

A White House race that's not just ads

Or faux debates or hanging chads.

For readers, Web or otherwise,

A font that doesn't strain your eyes,

And no more news of Britney Spears

For 10, no, make that 50, years.

For well-behaving girls and boys,

A sleigh of not-from-China toys.

May hooked-on-Facebook teens find smiles

In umptymillion Facebook files.

Us fortysomethings hope we gaze

On ever-swelling IRAs,

And may well-heeled retirees

Survive those 401(k) fees.

Have a happy, celebrate,

And see you in 2008.

E-Shoppers of the World Unite—Around the Weak Greenback

Hoping to buy that hard-to-find toy or electronic gizmo on eBay (EBAY) this holiday season? You'll have to outbid a flood of foreigners. While many shoppers from overseas are flocking to U.S. shopping meccas to exploit the weak dollar, some are playing the greenback online.

At eBay's (EBAY) U.S. auction site, sales by Americans to buyers in Australia, for instance, jumped 80% in October from a year earlier. Sales to Canadians jumped 45%. In Britain, meanwhile, where the pound has hit a 26-year peak against the dollar, visits by individuals to U.S.-based online stores rose 92% from June to October, according to British research firm PriceRunner.

While some U.S. e-commerce sites and eBay sellers won't ship outside the country—it requires a mountain of paperwork—foreign buyers have found a way around that problem. They use private forwarding services, which receive goods at a U.S. address and send them on. Eric Baird, president of one such outfit, Access USA, says his volume has doubled from a year ago, with packages originating at such sellers as eBay, (AMZN), and (DSCM).

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