Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis.

Description: The dollar rose against major currencies on Friday after stronger-than-expected economic data reinforced the view the United States was recovering from recession faster than other developed countries.

Source: Reuters.com

Date: 01/29/2010

Link:  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BF27F20100129

Questions for discussion: 

  • How will the dollar’s activity affect financial management of firms that import and export?
  • Where do you believe the dollar is headed over the next few months? Explain your thinking.

Posted by & filed under Financial Planning.

Description: In the glory days of the digital photo frame business, when his products were still a novelty and shoppers were flush with cash, getting a bank loan to manufacture them was a cinch, Michael Levy says.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: 01/30/2010

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/business/smallbusiness/31order.html?ref=business

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the problems facing small businesses since the financial crisis hit?
  • What alternatives are small business owners employing as a result of the credit freeze?
  • What are the possible consequences of these changes?
  • Do you believe they are permanent or will borrowing practices return to what they were before eventually?

Posted by & filed under Governments & Regulators, Industry Analysis.

Description:  FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair is concerned with the lack of real change in big banks’ operations and compensation.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 01/22/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/01/22/n_fdic_bair_bank_bonuses.cnnmoney/

Questions for discussion:

  • Summary the ideas put forward by Sheila Bair.
  • Do you support her position? Explain your thinking.
  • How do you think the investment industry will respond?
  • Do you think her ideas about clawbacks and other adjustments to executive compensation will succeed? Explain your answser.

Posted by & filed under Governments & Regulators, Industry Analysis.

Description: In his toughest response yet to the financial crisis, Obama proposed Thursday that strict limits be imposed on the size and trading activities of the nation’s biggest banks. The proposal aims to deter commercial banks from becoming so large that they put the broader economy at risk and distort normal competitive forces. The president endorsed some recommendations by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, but didn’t go as far as Volcker’s urgings to break up the banks. Read more about Obama’s bank proposal

Source: Marketwatch.com

Date: 01/21/2010

Link:  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-to-propose-new-limit-on-big-commercial-banks-2010-01-21?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the key points made in the report.
  • What are the implications of a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall for the banks, the stock markets, and for investors?
  • Do you support President Obama’s approach to bank regulation? Explain your thinking.

Posted by & filed under Growth & Valuation, Market Analysis.

Description:  The biggest sell-off in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since March is rewarding options traders who bet on a surge in volatility with gains of 75 percent.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 01/23/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aZOPq7yDKhng

Questions for discussion:

  • What sort of risk is involved with these instruments?
  • Who would be interested in them?
  • Do you agree with the comment that “People are betting on higher levels of volatility in the short term.” Explain your answer.

Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis, Governments & Regulators.

Description: Stocks could see choppy trading next week with the latest batch of earnings and uncertainty over Ben Bernanke’s Senate confirmation for another term as Federal Reserve chairman.

Source: Reuters.com

Date: 01/23/2010

Link:  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60M09920100123

Questions for discussion: 

  • Follow up this article with a summary of corporate earnings reported this week?
  • How did markets react?
  • Why is Ben Bernanke’s confirmation such an important factor for investors and reflected in the performance of markets?
  • What do you believe is the likely scenario for markets if he is confirmed and if he is not confirmed?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Management Issues.

Description:  The elite Wall Street firm is criticized for doling out $21 billion in bonuses this year and having sold toxic assets.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 01/13/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/01/13/n_goldman_public_attention.cnnmoney/

Questions for discussion:

  • What are your impressions of the report with respect to the presentation of the culture of the firm and the industry in general?
  • Do you feel employee compensation is exaggerated at the firm or in line with performance?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Financial analysis, Growth & Valuation.

Description: JPMorgan Chase showed it was close to making a full recovery from last year’s crisis after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly profits of $3.3 billion Friday.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 01/15/2010

Link:  http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/15/news/companies/JPMorgan_Chase_earnings/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the key points made in the report.
  • What does the recovery by JPMorgan suggest about the financial future other financial institutions and stock markets?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Growth & Valuation, Industry Analysis.

Description:  Billionaire investor William Ackman bought a $950 million stake in Kraft Foods Inc. and urged its Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld to limit the amount of stock she uses to bid for Cadbury Plc.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 01/16/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aSMnsSKPDuMk

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think Ackman’s decision is a smart move?
  • Do you agree that Rosenfeld should limit the use of Kraft stock in its effort to take-over Cadbury?
  • Do you think the current offer for Cadbury will be successful? Explain your thinking.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Description: First-round bids for the debt-ridden MGM studio were due Friday afternoon, but most of the bids are expected to trickle in through the weekend, sources familiar with the matter said.

Source: Reuters.com

Date: 01/15/2010

Link:  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1517371220100116

Questions for discussion: 

  • Which of the possible bidders would enjoy the greatest degree of synergy with MGM?
  • Given the information provided in the article, what would you say bidders should be most concerned with, financially speaking?