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.

Posted by & filed under Management Issues.

Description:   Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment management co-head Marc Spilker is leaving the firm after two decades and will be replaced by a predecessor.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 02/13/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aheYV90R253M

Questions for discussion:

  • How do you think this managerial change might affect investment strategies at the firm?
  • How might investors react?

Posted by & filed under Governments & Regulators.

Description: Large financial institutions that engage in speculative activities for profit should be allowed to fail if they get in trouble, White House advisor Paul Volcker said on Sunday.

Source: Reuters.com

Date: 02/014/2010

Link:  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1414676420100214?type=marketsNews

Questions for discussion: 

  • Do you agree with Paul Volcker’s argument? Explain your answer.
  • What would the impact be on risk management at large firms if this sort of thinking were to grow more popular among government and regulatory agencies?

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

Description:  Facing massive national debts, some European nations are planning to cut spending even as unemployment continues to rise.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 02/05/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/fortune/2010/02/05/f_sl_euro_default.fortune/

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the connection between the economic problems in Europe and the Euro?
  • How is the economic and financial crisis in Europe different from the US experience?
  • Can Europe grow its economy sufficiently to solve the financial crisis today?
  • Is a currency devaluation likely?
  • How should financial managers deal with the possibility of a currency devaluation?

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

Description:  Obama and Volcker want to limit big banks. Readers of ‘The Buzz’ think it’s a good idea but are skeptical regulation will pass Congress.

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

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

Questions for discussion:

  • Should Glass-Steagall be returned? Why or why not?
  • How much blame for the crisis is rightly placed at the foot of regulatory agencies like the SEC or individual banks?

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

Description: With their finances on the rocks, states that control the sale of liquor to the public are looking at handing the job to private enterprise, a move that could raise revenue, streamline government, and prove a boon to the spirits industry.

Source: Marketwatch.com

Date: 02/06/2010

Link:  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/liquor-store-privatization-a-boon-for-big-booze-2010-02-06

Questions for discussion:

  • How will this move by state governments affect industry financials?
  • How are investors likely to react?