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

Description:   The euro is damaged goods, laid low by a debt crisis that has revealed the shortcomings of European economic and monetary union, economists say.

Source: Marketwatch.com

Date: 02/26/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-tarnished-but-rivals-dont-shine-2010-02-26?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • How would you expect hedge fund managers to play the current situation?
  • How should corporate financial planners dealing with exports or imports to Europe approach this situation?
  • Do you think the Euro is doomed?
  • Can a global currency ever exist? Discuss.

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis.

Description:  Sanderson Farms Inc., Hasbro Inc., CF Industries Holdings Inc. and Ralcorp Holdings Inc. have moved up nicely this year.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 02/22/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ayPIAFcd7_hE

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the assessments and recommended investing strategies presented in this article?
  • What other factors should be considered?

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

Description:  The Fed raised the rate it charges banks for emergency loans by a quarter percentage point. WSJ’s Justin Lahart breaks down what it means in an interview with Simon Constable.

Source: Marketwatch – video report
 
Date: 02/18/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/news-hub-fed-raises-discount-rate/62D44209-3F0C-458C-9BF9-6A58762E0ABD

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the reasons given in the report for a gradual increase to rates?
  • What impact  will this particular rate increase have on corporate financial planning and investment strategies?

Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis.

Description:  The dollar has come back against the euro recently but readers of ‘The Buzz’ still see a weak greenback in the future.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 02/17/2010

 Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/02/17/n_bz_dollar_gold_oil_euro.cnnmoney/

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the assessment for the future value of the US dollar against other currencies and commodities.
  • Do you agree with this assessment?
  • What events might trigger significant differences in the predicted value?
  • What advice would you give to a financial planning officer with significant export or import business concerns?
  • What advice would you give to investors?

Posted by & filed under Industry Analysis.

Description: THE Great Recession has intensified a long-running debate: who is better able to look out for your money, a broker or an independent adviser? Now that the shock of last year’s losses has worn off, many investors are reconsidering what their financial professionals did — or failed to do — for them. At the same time, many brokers are trying to refocus themselves as advisers. Fed by the discontented, the debate has taken on a new urgency.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: 02/17/2010

Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/your-money/financial-planners/18TRUST.html?em

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the opinions expressed in this article concerning a switch in behaviors by investors?
  • How would you expect the financial services industry to respond to the issues raised in this article?

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

Description:   Sears Holdings Corp. has agreed to sell its popular Craftsman tool brand through Ace Hardware stores, as the company turns again to outsiders to help grow its sales.

Source: Marketwatch.com

Date: 02/20/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sears-agrees-to-sell-craftsman-tools-at-ace-hardware-2010-02-20

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think this strategy is sound for both firms?
  • What alternative strategies are available to Sears and to Ace?
  • What additional M&A strategies are available to Sears and to Ace?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Management Issues.

Description:  General Motors chairman and chief executive, Ed Whitacre, Jr. will receive a compensation package worth $9 million, the automaker said Friday.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 02/19/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/19/news/companies/GM_salary/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you believe this compensation is appropriate in light of GM’s history and connection to TARP? 
  • Do you believe there can be negative reaction from employees or customers because of the compensation that could affect stock value?

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

Description:  Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher discusses Steve Schwarzman’s op-ed piece and explains why banks are blamed for the financial crisis.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 02/12/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/fortune/2010/02/12/f_sl_blackstone_banks.fortune/

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the statement that “bank lending fuels private equity deals? Explain your answer.
  • Do you believe proposed legislation will harm the economic recovery?
  • Are banks receiving unfair criticism or regulatory treatment?

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

Description:  Fortune editors explain how problems in places like Dubai and Greece are affecting U.S. markets.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 02/10/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/fortune/2010/02/10/f_sl_greece_euro.fortune/

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the impact that global debt levels and deleveraging may have on domestic as well as international investing strategies?
  • What strategy would you advise – particularly with respect to currencies? Explain your thinking.

Posted by & filed under Market Analysis.

Description: High-yield corporate bonds are being priced as if few of these companies are going out of business, evidence that income-seeking investors are increasingly accepting the greater risks attached to low-rated debt.

Source: Marketwatch.com

Date: 02/14/2010

Link:  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/high-yield-bonds-show-investors-the-money-2010-02-12

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the current market conditions for corporate bonds.
  • How should financial managers deal with these conditions? 
  • How would you advise investors? 
  • Do you agree with the statement that “Investors are willing to lower their standards” of how much protection a bond offers in order to improve returns? Explain your thinking.