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By Jason Stipp | 08-19-2010 03:12 PM

Big Themes, No Big Surprises

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser won't stop the presses for M&A news, retail sales, unemployment, bond popularity, or Blockbuster's blues.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar and welcome to The Friday Five. Here on The Friday Five, we always like to bring you the latest and the greatest, and this week there are big themes, but frankly none of them were very big surprises.

Here with me to offer the details is Morningstar markets editor, Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: Glad to be here, Jason.

Stipp: So what do you have for The Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well, this week, we'll see that M&A is picking up again; that retail top lines were weak, but profitability still looked pretty good; that jobless claims keep getting worse; we'll look at fund flows; and finally Blockbuster circling the drain.

Stipp: So there were some M&A news this week, some of it was somewhat newsworthy, because of what was happening, what did you see on that front.

Glaser: There are a lot of M&A deals announced this week. We saw that Intel was going to buy McAfee, but I think the big news was obviously BHP's very aggressive bid to take over PotashCorp, which is a fertilizer manufacturer. Now what's not as interesting as these individual deals, but the fact that M&A in general is coming together, but really it's not that big of a surprise, because we have lots of corporations that are sitting on a lot of cash right now. There aren't a ton of opportunities to invest in businesses given the demand picture, and valuations are still relatively low. They are maybe not as low as they were 18 months ago, but still pretty reasonable. It seems like a pretty good opportunity for M&A, but only time will tell if these deals are going to work out; if they pay too much, they probably won't.

Stipp: Another big potentially non-newsmaker this week was retail sales. There wasn't a huge surprise there. What did you see in the numbers?

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