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Commodities Are King, the Weather’s For Sale
Oil, gold, and other commodities go up in step with recession fears. Landmark Communications is putting itself, and The Weather Channel, up for sale. And Netflix and LG Electronics team up.
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EWS AT A GLANCE

Oil and gold flirt with record highs

Gold hit a new high of $863.11 an ounce early today, not adjusted for inflation, and oil futures hovered near the record $100-a-barrel mark set during trading yesterday, as investors turned to commodities as a hedge against inflation. Palm oil also hit a new high, soybean traded at a 34-year high, and wheat and corn shot up. (Bloomberg) “This is a bullish extravaganza,” said Phil Flynn at futures brokerage Alaron Trading. (MarketWatch) Analysts said the high price of oil, in particular, could tip the U.S. into recession, although some doubted that oil would stay as high as $100. (BusinessWeek.com)

The Weather Channel to go up for sale

Family-owned media company Landmark Communications is looking to sell its assets, which include nine daily newspapers and The Weather Channel, according to Landmark’s flagship paper, The Virginian-Pilot. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) The Weather Channel, one of the last independent cable channels, could sell for more than $5 billion, with NBC, News Corp., and Comcast all interested in the channel and its Web site, weather-dot-com. The Web site is the 18th most frequented, topping Facebook and CNN. (The New York Times, free registration required)

Netflix shoots for instant gratification

Mail-based DVD renter Netflix and LG Electronics are teaming up to provide Netflix customers with ways to view movies on their TV through an Internet connection. The partnership is an extension of Netflix’s year-old online movie-viewing service, which has been hampered by its reliance on PCs. (BusinessWeek.com) Netflix also plans to team up with other electronic companies and stream movies to other devices. (The New York Times, free registration required) Rival movie-download service CinemaNow is also looking to expand though a partnership with software firm Macrovision. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Laptop as fashion accessory

In an acknowledgment that style is becoming more important in selling computers, Microsoft is holding a “fashion show” next week to demonstrate that Windows-based laptops can be just as stylish as Apple’s wares. Research shows that consumers will pony up an extra $204 for a well-designed, high-end laptop, and companies like Lenovo, HP, Sony, and even Dell are becoming increasingly fashion-conscious in response. “We’re entering the age of style because we have multiple PCs in our households,” explains Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder. “You no longer have one white box that serves every function for every person in the household.” (BusinessWeek.com)

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