Archive for September 2007

Can’t get enough of proxy access coverage? Check out Steve Bainbrige’s take here and the Business Law Prof blog’s insights here.

Write-Offs: 09.28.07

$$$ How to Get Rich In Dollars [LoSC]
$$$I’m a VP for an international investment banking firm who only does 2 things – work and work out. I appreciate a woman who can take some initiative and imagination in the bedroom. Plus, you’ll be amazed at how turned on you get describing it. I just did this for the 1st time a few weeks ago, and things worked out fantastic. The email I received was out of this world, and our subsequent meeting was equally impressive.” [craiglist]
$$$ Paul Kedrosky [WallStrip]

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Closing Bell 09.29.07

Brought to you by Financial Times
To the tune of lowered income, increased spending and plummeting value of the dollar, major indexes down on the day. The DJIA down -17.31 to 13895.63. The S&P 500 lost -4.63 to close at 1526.75and the Nasdaq fell -8.09to 2701.50. Random Index spinner: Hang Seng Index: up 77.32 to close at 27,142.47.
Personal consumption expenditures declined 0.1% compared to last month. Excluding food and energy the PCE rose 1.8%. Construction spending increased by 0.2% defying expectations of a -0.3% slip.
On the NYSE Friday, 1,337 stocks up and 1,984 down, totaling 883.5 million shares traded.
The euro was at $1.4261 from $1.4147 against the dollar – closing at another high. The dollar was at 114.78 yen from 115.65 yesterday. Crude closing at $81.63 and after reaching a 27 intraday high, gold closed $750.50.
For more market action FT Alphaville

  • 28 Sep 2007 at 3:21 PM
  • genocide

Washing Our Hands Of The Situation

Warren Buffett has once again—for the fourth time—reduced Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in PetroChina, to 7.99 percent from 8.21 percent. Though he claims it’s just about money, Buffett’s actions are indicative of a desire to distance himself from a company which human rights activists have a problem with because of its investments in the Sudan, a region that is currently going through a restructuring of its population. Just as nauseatingly, the sale also hints at Buffett’s intent to raise cash in order to buy up a bunch of Bear Stearns (though that has less to do with a dwindling interest in genocide than it does the early stages of dementia). The man cannot be helped. We are done.
Earlier: Why Doesn’t Warren Buffett Want To Fund Genocide Anymore?
Somebody Save Warren Buffett From Himself, Bear Stearns
Buffett Further Cuts PetroChina Stake [AP]

The Dangerous Myth of Shareholder Democracy

ShareholderDemocracyIsAScam.gifThe myth of shareholder democracy holds a powerful sway over public opinion. The comments we’ve received on our two articles on the proxy access rules now up for comment at the Securities and Exchange Commission demonstrate that people continue to be bedeviled by the misguided analogy with democratic political regimes.
One of the mental levers the mythologists of shareholder democracy use to make their case is a kind of demonology of corporate managers. Although corporate insiders, especially chief executives, have demonstrably lost power in recent years to shareholders and independent directors while the risks of running a public company have increased, the continued climb of executive pay seems to have convinced many that executives are somehow fleecing shareholders. The evidence for this is underwhelming, however. While bad characters exist in executive suites and board rooms, they hardly justify enacting wide-ranging corporate governance reforms. Bad CEOs make bad law.
It’s important to remember that our system of corporate governance has generated enormous wealth for shareholders and workers over the years, bringing us unprecedented prosperity. We should exercise caution when seeking major reforms, especially when the costs of those reforms will be difficult to measure and the reforms will be next to impossible to reverse. By creating a uniform, national rule for proxy access, the proposed reforms would shut off jurisdictional competition and experimentation between the states. Worse, the proxy access reform is clearly viewed by many of its proponents as a first step in what they view as a revolution in corporate governance. There will be more to come. The proxy access reforms are precedent not a final resting place.
Some of the most thoughtful criticism of our first essay came from Beth Young, who I believe is the author of the Shareholder Proposal Handbook and a senior research associate at the Corporate Library.
We rough up Young’s objections to our articles after the jump.

Read more »

  • 28 Sep 2007 at 1:58 PM
  • Greenspan

Alan Greenspan Has No Sympathy For Rich Pricks (His Words)

greenspan.jpgFormer Fed Chairman-cum-author/Deutsche Bank consultant Alan Greenspan said in interview with BBC Radio that he and other regulators were fully—blithely actually—aware of the risks imposed by the complex financial derivatives that helped to fuel the recent market turmoil that’s messed with your shit. So why wasn’t any action taken prior to last week? Because you knew the risks involved, and if you didn’t, you’re dumber than Greenspan had previously thought.
“I must admit that I do not have considerable concern about the net worth of [wealthy individuals investing in hedge funds] going from $40 million to $5 million, which in many cases is what has happened,” he said. In fact, he saw the whole thing as the perfect opportunity to teach you a lesson, not unlike the time he illustrated the dangers of binge drinking to a bunch of middle school students by standing idly by while they downed shot after shot of tequila, saying only to a concerned-looking aide, “this is the only way they’ll learn. Nothing like the memory of a good stomach-pumping to make ‘em think twice about that next drink.”
Oh, and there’s maybe going to be a recession. Maybe.
Greenspan: Recession chance less than 50-50 [CNN Money]

Whoever said sexism isn’t alive and well in America has been asleep behind the wheel or living under a rock for, well, forever. Now, before you get all PC on us, save your breath. The glass ceiling here at Dealbreaker is not only buttressed by myself and Bess Levin – but John Carney smiles down on us and his other female minions from time to time sitting on his glass thrown in his ivory tower.
In addition to Dealbreaker, Neiman Marcus management has an interesting division of how they divvy up “allowances” to their CEO’s. Karen Katz, President and CEO gets an annual $25k allowance for clothing while CEO Burton Tansky doesn’t get jack. He does however, get a $12k car allowance (will that even get you a Ford Festiva?). James J. Gold, president of Bergdorf Goodman received a $167k “cost of living” adjustment for relocating from Texas to New York and an additional $296k for NY state taxes. poses the question – are women simply more focused on clothing while men are more focused on cars and taxes? gets to the heart of the matter – men get more tail when they drive a hot car. Women can only get men to listen to them if they dress slutty.
On how men and women differ… []

  • 28 Sep 2007 at 12:22 PM
  • NYSE

Two More Trading Days in 2008

The New York Stock Exchange has released it’s calendar for 2008 and 2009. Get excited because in 2008 there will be two extra trading days! It’s a leap year, giving us an extra day in February. And there is one less holiday on the schedule—this year we honored the death of Gerald “stagflation” Ford by refusing to work. Unless a former president dies this year, we should have one more day of trading.
Leap years tend to outperform other years, with particularly strong Augusts. Of course, leap years are also presidential election years, which may have more to do with market performance than that extra day in February.
LeapYearsOutPerform small.bmp
Click chart for larger version.

NYSE Euronext Holidays & Hours [NYSE]