Posted by & filed under Company Analysis.

Description: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which reported a $3.6 billion first-quarter profit last week, said gains at private flight company NetJets Inc. and railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe bolstered results.

Source: Bloomberg.com
 
Date: 05/08/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aPL.hvjH5srY

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you believe that the financial results for Berkshire are indicative of general economic improvement?
  • Would you be a buyer of shares?
  • Strategically speaking, how can the firm take advantage of the current financial situation and help build shareholder equity?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Governments & Regulators, Management Issues.

Description:  Fortune’s Andy Serwer talks about how the Senate’s proposed financial reforms will affect Berkshire Hathaway’s derivatives holdings.

Source:  CNNMoney.com – video report
 
Date: 04/29/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/fortune/2010/04/29/f_sl_buffett_derivatives_berkshire.fortune/

 Questions for discussion:

  • How much influence do you think Buffett can have in the current debate about derivatives?
  • Would Buffett joining the management of Goldman be a good move? Explain your thinking?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Industry Analysis.

Description: Hewlett-Packard’s bid to gobble up Palm Inc. could shake up alliances in the personal computer industry, as other players in the sector figure out their play in a rapidly-changing smartphone arena, analysts say.

Source:  Marketwatch.com

Date: 04/29/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/h-ps-palm-merger-seen-shaking-up-pc-alliances-2010-04-29?siteid=nwtwk
 
Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the analysis presented?
  • Is this a good deal for stockholders of each firm?
  • From a financial management point of view, what will the consequences be for the newly structured organization?
  • Will there be cash flow concerns? Explain your thinking?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Industry Analysis.

Description:  United Airlines and Continental Airlines are reportedly on track to announce a multibillion-dollar merger deal on Monday that would create the world’s biggest airline.

Source:  Marketwatch.com
 
Date: 04/29/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ual-continental-reportedly-close-in-on-deal-2010-04-29?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • Is this a good deal for stockholders of each firm?
  • From a financial management point of view, what will the consequences be for the newly structured organization?
  • Will there be cash flow concerns? Explain your thinking?

Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis.

Description:  Consumer spending grew at the fastest pace in three years during the first quarter, a sign that the largest part of the economy is gaining speed while becoming less dependent on government stimulus.

Source: Bloomberg.com
 
Date: 05/01/2010

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

Questions for discussion:

  • Given the recent economic improvements, what changes should financial managers consider for the coming year?
  • How should financial managers be expected to interpret the recent results from the Institute for Supply Management?

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

Description: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may have backed itself into a corner by speaking out quickly to counter fraud claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Bloomberg.com
 
Date: 05/01/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=avI7OhdudjWc

Questions for discussion:

  • In terms of public opinion, McCormick said, Goldman Sachs has “already been condemned, the question is the price.” Do you agree with this statement?
  • What advice would you send to Goldman at this time in order to mitigate the damage done to its current and future net worth?

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

Description:  When it comes to laying the blame on Goldman Sachs, Wealth Adviser columnist James Altucher says, “not so fast.” Nevertheless, he tells investors to stay away from buying the stock until the flames cool down.

Source:  Marketwatch.com – video report
 
Date: 04/23/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/did-goldman-do-anything-wrong/E02B7836-3C8D-4719-A7EB-DE47036348DF

Questions for discussion:

  • So, in your opinion, did Goldman do anything wrong?
  • Summarize the arguments presented that mitigate the threat to Goldman management and stock value.
  • How should management be expected to respond to the situation?
  • What would you recommend to investors looking at Goldman and other firms dealing with these financial instruments that are the center of the controversy?

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

Description: A slew of internal e-mails from the leading credit rating agencies show employees at those firms knew of the dangers in subprime mortgages, but gave them the seal of approval anyway.

Source:  CNNMoney.com

Date: 04/24/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/23/news/economy/credit_rating_agencies_hearing/index.htm
 
Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the analysis presented?
  • What actions should be taken by regulators?
  • Should anyone be legally charged?

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

Description:  Apple Inc said Tuesday that profit rose 90% in its fiscal second quarter as it sold almost 9 million iPhones, easily topping analyst estimates in both profit and sales amid a surge in demand in international markets.

Source:  Marketwatch.com
 
Date: 04/20/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-soar-on-strong-iphone-sales-2010-04-20?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • As an investor with a one year view to the future, what stock value do you see for Apple?
  • What level of stock price volatility would you expect to see during this period? Why?
  • What investing strategies would you expect to employ in order to take advantage of the stock’s price behavior?
  • How would you expect the financial managers at Apple to respond to the current and predicted improvement to sales and profits?
  • How will these changes affect cash flows, consideration for mergers and acquisitions and so forth?

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

Description:  During the buildup to the financial crisis, major rating agencies Moody’s Corp. and Standard & Poor’s Inc. were understaffed, didn’t have enough data about the mortgage securities they were rating and were pressured by each other and investment bankers to issue overly rosy ratings, a lawmaker said Friday.

Source: Marketwatch.com
 
Date: 04/23/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/competition-lack-of-data-drove-flawed-ratings-2010-04-23?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the arguments presented by each side of this issue.
  • What is your view of whom, if anyone is to blame for any neglect or improper behavior?
  • What lessons can be learned here in order to help reduce the risk of repeating mistakesthat were made?