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Best Columns: Food trail, Google
Who gains from high food prices? says The Economist in an editorial. Not food producers or retailers, and rarely investors. Google
 

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ooking for money in a food boom

Who gains from high food prices? says The Economist in an editorial. Not food producers or retailers, who may or may not be able to pass on higher costs. In fact there “just aren’t many companies” that directly benefit, which means there are few places for investors to step in. A rare case was the public offering of Intrepid Potash, which makes fertilizer—its shares jumped 58 percent on the first day of trading. Couldn’t that mean grains are just “another bubble about to burst”? Probably not. Demand is outstripping supply, suggesting that “high food prices will be around for a while.” That’s good news if you run “a modestly profitable tractor or silo company.”

Google’s shrinking real estate

While Microsoft and Yahoo! sort out their merger possibilities, Google has its own worries, says Ben Kunz in BusinessWeek.com. It’s biggest threat is “your cell phone.” As more people use their cell phones’ “tiny glass screens” to surf the Internet, Google and other online ad brokers will have less space to show fewer ads. On the standard PC screen, Google can fit about 10 paid ads per inquiry; on the mobile screen, they’ll fit about two. That’s why Google got into the cell phone software market, with Android: “Web screens will soon be two inches wide, and Google wants a say in what fits on that tiny screen.”
 

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