WSJ By The Numbers - Top 10 for Nov.22

A compendium of revealing stats and the key leading economic indicators and business metrics based on today's Wall Street Journal article and reports:

IBM, Cray Win Pentagon Funds To Develop Next Supercomputers: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said it will award Cray $250 million and IBM $244 million under a new phase of a long-running development program, which hopes to create not only major advances in hardware but also new ways to program massive scientific machines. The Darpa program is aimed at developing machines that operate at two to four "petaflops," or quadrillion operations a second, with prototype systems expected by 2010.

Hospital Building Boom Sparks Worry Cities Will Be Left Behind:
Between 2000 and 2005, the hospital industry spent $100 billion to build new facilities and expand existing ones, almost double the amount spent in the previous five-year period, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2005 alone, the spending hit $24 billion, a record. A further $200 billion will be invested over the next decade, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

White House Cuts GDP Outlook Amid Slump in Housing Market:
In an updated economic forecast, the administration said it expects inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, to increase 3.1% this year, down from its June forecast of 3.6%. The White House lowered its 2006 estimate for consumer-price-index growth to 2.3% from its June forecast of 3%. They now expect the unemployment rate in 2006 to average 4.6%, down from the previous 4.7%. 

In China, Growth at Whose Cost?
From 2001 to 2003, as China's economy expanded nearly 10% a year, average income for the poorest 10% of the country's households fell 2.5%, according to an analysis by the World Bank that has been presented to the Chinese government. Those roughly 130 million Chinese earn $1 a day or less, the World Bank's global benchmark for poverty.

U.S. Seeks Greater Access To India in Farm Trade:
India's federal government has imported 5.5 million metric tons of wheat in 2006 amid a decline in local output and granary stocks.

India, China Forge Ties, But Old Differences Fester:
Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi yesterday. The two leaders mainly sought to fortify common interests. They have set a two-way trade goal of $40 billion by 2010; in 2005, the total was $17 billion. China and India, both with economies expanding at more than 8% a year, offer attractive markets for other trade partners and each other.

IBM, Sun Set Server-Sales Growth Pace:
IBM, the No. 1 supplier with about a third of total server revenue, expanded sales by 6.6% in the quarter, IDC said, while Gartner Inc. put IBM's server growth at 7.4%. Sun, the No. 4 supplier, posted a 24.7% revenue increase, Gartner said, though IDC put Sun's growth at 15.8%. HP retains the No.2 slot while Dell remains at No.4 in global server shipments.

In a Turnabout, Malls Get a Lift From Wal-Mart
In its 44 years, Wal-Mart has expanded to the point that 62.2% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of one of its stores, and 93.6% within 15 miles, according to ACNielsen. The retailer already dominates rural markets, with 45.5% of its stores in rural and semirural markets home to just 29% of the population, ACNielsen data show.

Play Catch-Up:
The stock market rally left many hedge funds in the dust. Through the end of last month, the average long/short equity hedge fund had a 2006 return of 9.2%, according to a hedge-fund index compiled by Credit Suisse and fund-of-funds company Tremont Capital Management. That return compared with total returns of 14.8% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 12.1% for the S&P 500.

Google at $500 - Young Stock Joins A Select Group:
Since its IPO, Google shares have risen 500% to hit the $500 mark yesterday and taking the Google market capitalization to $154 billion. It joins six other U.S. companies with a stock price above $500: Berkshire Hathaway, Seaboard, Washington Post, NVR, White Mountains Insurance Group and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings.

Place Your Bets, Please: Takeover Wheel Spins: 
The average premium paid over market prices for shares of companies subject to an acquisition bid this year is 17%, down from 25% in 2000, according to Thomson Financial. More than 40% of the $1.28 trillion of announced U.S. mergers this year has come from private-equity firms or foreign buyers, up from less than 24% last year, Thomson says. Five of the six largest U.S. acquisitions unveiled so far this year were by leveraged-buyout firms.

Threat of Chinese Water Crisis May Benefit Suppliers' Shares:
China is facing a water crisis. Its level of per capita water resources is 25% of the world average, and in Beijing it is 3.3%. Some 136 Chinese cities face severe water shortages. More than 300 million people, almost a quarter of the population, lack access to clean drinking water, because a majority of the biggest waterways are polluted, according to government statistics.

Travel Budgets at U.S. Firms Expected to Rise:
A survey published this week by the National Business Travel Association found that nearly all respondents expect to spend more on air travel in 2007 than in 2006. Of those, 74% expect higher airfares, 65% said employees will take more trips and 45% said a greater number of employees will be traveling.

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