October kicked off with a flurry of financial news that sent the markets scurrying back inside for a warm breakfast.

Stern means Sirius
Faster than you can say Ba Ba Booey, satellite radio got a major boost in street credibility when Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) announced that its national airwaves would be the exclusive home for Howard Stern's raucous radio show come 2006. Whether you love Stern or hate Stern, the fact that he dominates the ratings in the four-dozen markets in which his syndicated morning radio show airs will likely cause a significant migration away from free radio in 15 months. Sirius and rival XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) combine for an $11 billion market cap, so it's not as though the pioneers are flying under Wall Street's radar. However, this move is even more important than Sirius landing the NFL or XM scooping up shock jocks Opie and Anthony. This is big. This is rule breaking. And now here's Robin with the rest of the news....

Little Bunny Flu Flu
It's a sickening thought, but flu vaccine specialist Chiron (NASDAQ:CHIR) won't be there for your holiday sniffles after a United Kingdom regulatory body suspended the company's license for its popular influenza vaccine because of contamination. Obviously this couldn't come at a worse time as Chiron was gearing up for the critical winter flu season. While we may all be worried about a flu vaccination shortage, Chiron will have another shortage to worry about. It is now looking to earn between $0.70 and $0.80 a share this year, less than half of its original profit guidance.

Chiron expects to return to business as usual for next year's flu season, so perhaps this past week's stock dive is providing an investing opportunity for value investors writing "Get Well Swoon" cards. Those who can't wait that long may be jumping on rival vaccine makers Aventis SA and MedImmune (NASDAQ:MEDI), hoping that they will fill Chiron's near-term void.

The world's largest retailer is about to get even bigger as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) announced expansion plans that would grow its overseas presence by 35% next year. If you're befuddled as to where Wal-Mart could possibly wedge in another warehouse club or Supercenter, it's a different story beyond our country's borders as international sales account for just a fifth of the company's total sales.

While that may or may not prove to be antidote to help offset the chain's slower domestic growth, at least we can now hope that a globetrotting Paris Hilton will run into a Wal-Mart eventually.

Two for the show
Grilled ribeye steaks and injectable antibiotics may have nothing in common, but that didn't stop casual steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse (NASDAQ:TXRH) and biotechnology upstart Theravance (NASDAQ:THRX) from going public on the same day this past week.

Both stocks also popped a few dollars higher at the open and that bodes well for the iffy IPO market. They're interesting companies -- Theravance has an intriguing product pipeline while Texas Roadhouse is sporting higher operating margins than rival Outback Steakhouse. However, did you catch a peek at those ticker symbols? They're nearly identical. How much do you want to bet that a few investors messed up and wound up buying the wrong stock? Will they get "I wanted a steakhouse and all I got was this fledgling biotech" T-shirts? Will they demand that the Theravance labs litter their floors with peanut shells? Oh, man, talk about ticker shock.

See you next week!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has heard of Wal-Mart, has eaten at a Texas Roadhouse in Gainesville, occasionally listens to Stern, and is feeling under the weather but has never gone in for a flu shot. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.