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

Description:  Many investors can only look on with envy when Warren Buffett says his shareholders have seen 20% annualized gains over the past 45 years — even the best mutual funds pale by comparison.

Source: Marketwatch.com

Date: 03/05/2010

Link:  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/buffett-and-berkshire-outperform-all-mutual-funds-2010-03-05?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the reasons suggested for Buffett’s success when compared to mutual fund managers.
  • Do you agree with the criticism of stock turnovers as described by Timothy Vick, senior portfolio manager at Sanibel Captiva Trust?

Posted by & filed under Industry Analysis, Management Issues.

Description:  Author and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman dissects problems in financial regulatory reform.

Source: CNNMoney.com – video report
 
Date: 02/25/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/02/24/n_tom_friedman_regulation_reform.cnnmoney/

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the arguments presented by Tom Friedman.
  • Do you agree that there is an imbalance in the financing of “good risk”?
  • How can more financing be directed toward “good risk”?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Industry Analysis.

Description:  Analysts say wireless-device maker has few options; few see buyout as likely.

Source: Marketwatch – video report
 
Date: 02/26/2010

Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/palms-survival-at-stake-if-smartphones-dont-sell-2010-02-26?siteid=nwtwk

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think investors have properly valued Palm in the past or presently?
  • On what basis would you set a stock value for the firm?
  • What valuation would you consider for the firm if you were mandated to position the company for a merger or acquisition?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Management Issues.

Description:  Peddling credit cards isn’t so easy that a caveman can do it. That seems to be the conclusion Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, Fortune 500) chief executive Warren Buffett reluctantly reached last year, when he shut down a money-losing credit card business he had dreamed up for Berkshire’s Geico car-insurance unit.

Source: CNNMoney.com
 
Date: 02/27/2010

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/27/news/companies/berkshire.geico.fortune/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • Does this article suggest that Warren Buffett might have overstepped his role as a financial guru by making a managerial decision for one of the companies that Berkshire Hathaway happened to own?
  • Do you think investors in Berkshire Hathaway have changed their thinking about the management of the firm because of this loss?
  • How would you expect the stock value to react, if they have?

Posted by & filed under Company Analysis, Industry Analysis.

Description: The American International Group said on Friday that it lost about $11 billion last year, surprising analysts and showing the long-term risks inherent in the types of large, complex insurance coverage that the company once pioneered.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: 02/26/2010

Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/business/27insure.html?ref=business

Questions for discussion:

  • What is your view of this business model in terms of risk and sustainability?
  • Do you believe AIG decisions will grow more conservative in time, because of the problems described in the article?

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?