Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis.

Description: Employment in March grew by the most in three years, representing a turning point for the labor market that will help broaden the U.S. economy as it recovers from the deepest recession in seven decades.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 04/03/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aDCWdea8_JO0

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the reasons given for economic and stock market optimism?
  • Do you agree with these opinions favoring economic improvement?
  • How do you expect the financial markets to perform over the next 12 months?

Posted by & filed under Governments & Regulators.

Description:  America’s states and cities may be going bankrupt, but investors shouldn’t worry. Dow Jones Adviser columnist James Altucher explains.

Source: Marketwatch.com – video report
 
Date: 03/23/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/are-municipal-bonds-the-next-bubble-to-pop/5D0A58DD-9E95-4B20-8A3E-8B67E3F593DA

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the arguments presented in favor of buying municipal bonds.
  • Do you agree with James Altucher’s opinion about the risk to investors?

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

Description:  The U.S. government is setting up a program to sell its 27% stake in Citigroup Inc. and the plan could be announced next month, according to a report Thursday, citing unidentified people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Source: Marketwatch.com
 
Date: 03/25/2010

 Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/treasury-reportedly-sets-plan-to-sell-citi-shares-2010-03-25?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • Would you be a buyer of Citigroup? Explain your thinking.
  • Is the government’s strategy good for the stock?
  • Are there greater implications for the industry due to this development?

Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis.

Description: The fastest pace of economic growth in six years during the final three months of 2009 fueled a surge in corporate profits that may set the stage for job gains and a broadening of the U.S. recovery.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 03/26/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aorqXG5sfGeY

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the reasons given for economic and stock market optimism?
  • Do you agree with these opinions favoring economic improvement?
  • How do you expect the financial markets to perform in the next 12 months?

Posted by & filed under Governments & Regulators.

Description: A recent report by Securities and Exchange Commission’s inspector general shows that the investigation of Bernard L. Madoff was not the only one to go badly awry. While the impact of the S.E.C.’s missteps were not nearly as significant as in the Madoff case, the report shows that the agency’s enforcement division allowed itself to be manipulated by a company it should have been investigating more thoroughly while allowing former staff members to influence its decisions on how to proceed.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: 03/24/2010

Link: http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/how-not-to-run-an-s-e-c-investigation/?ref=business

Questions for discussion:

  • How do you view the arguments presented by Peter Henning in his report?
  • Do you feel the S.E.C. should have behaved differently at any point?

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

Description: You probably cost your boss a lot more than you think you do.

Source:  CNNMoney.com

Date: 03/26/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/26/smallbusiness/employee_costs/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • In general, do you think these taxes (costs) are fair to employers and employees?
  • Why would any exemptions for employment taxes be considered an unfair competitive subsidy by other businesses who must continue to pay?
  • Is there a better way to pay for entitlement programs delivered by governments and still help stimulate hiring?

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

Description:  Long-duration investing is about finding well-established companies to buy and hold for the next 10 years, according to fund manager Bill Smead, who favors pharmaceutical, housing and equity-fund plays. Matt Andrejczak reports.

Source: Marketwatch.com – video report
 
Date: 03/16/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/value-investing-for-the-next-decade/49B13123-0A86-4B78-ACD1-85EF967190FC

Questions for discussion:

  • Why do you believe investors are holding stocks for shorter time periods, in comparison to the past?
  • Do you believe this behavior will likely continue?
  • Do you agree with the industry and company valuations presented by Bill Smead?

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

Description:  A year and a half after Lehman Brothers’ collapse, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is calling for a federal investigation into the “Lehman situation” and other companies that may have fudged their balance sheets, contributing to the financial crisis.

Source: CNNMoney.com
 
Date: 03/20/2010

 Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/19/news/economy/lehman_brothers_chris_dodd/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you believe an investigation would be a good thing? Explain your thinking.

Posted by & filed under Financial analysis.

Description: I rarely buy a stock whose debt is greater than stockholders’ equity, or corporate net worth per share. In effect, that means I won’t give a second look to about one third of U.S. stocks.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 03/15/2010

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aReZz0vi1B5U

Questions for discussion:

  • In general, do you agree with this analysis and strategy for investing in stocks?
  • Could there be exceptions to the rule?
  • Why do you suppose the stocks that fail the Dorfman rule are still so valued by the investors?

Posted by & filed under Governments & Regulators.

Description: Almost two years ago to the day, a team of officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York quietly moved into the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. They were provided desks, phones, computers — and access to all of Lehman’s books and records. At any given moment, there were as many as a dozen government officials buzzing around Lehman’s offices.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: 03/15/2010

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/business/16sorkin.html

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the “Repo 105 strategy” used by management.
  • Do you consider any behaviors unethical or illegal?
  • Do you hold the SEC responsible for any wrong doing?
  • Do you believe regulations should be changed to prevent the use of “Repo 105 strategy”?