The Stingy News Weekly (12/21/02)
The Markets This Week
DOW 30: 8,511 +0.91% with a median P/E of 23.6
S&P/TSX: 6,561 -1.55% with a median P/E of 23.6
The Value View
Dow at a P/E of 20: 7,213 (-15.3%) Poor Value
Dow at a P/E of 15: 5,410 (-36.4%) Fair Value
Dow at a P/E of 10: 3,606 (-57.6%) Good Value
S&P/TSX at a P/E of 20: 5,560 (-15.3%) Poor Value
S&P/TSX at a P/E of 15: 4,170 (-36.4%) Fair Value
S&P/TSX at a P/E of 10: 2,780 (-57.6%) Good Value
Christmas movies and bad economics
"But let's talk Christmas turkey. The engine driving the "commercialization" of Christmas is, quite simply, children's desire for presents. As every parent soon discovers, it is not the thought that counts for young children, but the goods. They want nice toys, which do not come free. They have to be made, and the cost of making them has to be recouped."
The economics of Santa's workshop
"The physical impossibility of Santa got me thinking about the economics of the old boy's operations. After all, he is not paid for the goods he delivers, and it would be improper for him to send a bill the next morning. Nobody asked him to leave the stuff, or contracted with him to do so. But that means he gets no feedback from the consumer, much less a clear indication of profit or loss."
Firms unite to leave asbestos in the dust
"A solution to the 20-year-long asbestos mess may finally be in the works. As FORTUNE explained last March, trial lawyers have pitted plaintiffs who aren't sick against businesses that never made asbestos."
Spitzer's slap: Small change on the street
"The fines aren't onerous, and skeptics are scoffing at the required shift to independent research. This remedy may be more crock than cure."
Overpaid CEOs? Try suing the paymasters
"Delaware judge, in warning signal to boards, opens door to courtroom remedy."
A billion up his sleeve
"Magician and radio baron Allan Slaight still has a few surprises to pull out of his hat."
Conseco collapse deals new blow to CEO cult
"Even now, nobody is connecting the dots when it comes to Gary Wendt's role in the demise of Conseco. Most reports about Tuesday's bankruptcy filing by the Carmel, Ind., insurance and lending behemoth have suggested that the former CEO's turnaround plan was more or less doomed from the start. The assumption appears to be that, given the large debt load taken on by previous management, Conseco was too sick to be cured even by Wendt -- who joined the company in June 2000 with one of the most impressive reputations in corporate America. "
Bill & Bill's excellent bull signal
"The stars of 2002's financial news programs aren't the slick CEOs of the boom years -- they're the more circumspect money managers shepherding their flock away from the bear's grasp."
Fake escrow site scam widens
"Six months later, the scam has widened considerably, and it now appears to be among the most successful Internet cons ever. By taking advantage of Net auction winners' inherent trust of escrow sites, the con artists are stealing as much as $40,000 at a time from big-ticket auction winners. Their total take may well reach into millions of dollars so far. And while federal authorities, including the Department of Commerce and FBI, are investigating, there seems to be no way to slow down the con artists."
Year of the scandal
"2002: greed, accounting conflicts, book-cooking helped derail Wall Street. Will 2003 be any better?"
The rise and fall of Dennis Kozlowski
"Kozlowski's claims to greatness were shredded this year by his indictment on two sets of charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. The first startled in the pettiness of the greed it exposed: A mogul worth at least $500 million chisels New York City out of $1 million in sales tax due on fine art. But the second indictment, handed down on Sept. 12, shocked in the scale of corruption alleged. In essence, prosecutors accused Kozlowski and former Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz of running a criminal enterprise within Tyco's executive suite. The two were hit with 38 felony counts for pilfering $170 million directly from the company and for pocketing an additional $430 million through tainted sales of stock."
The hunch that led to Tyco's tumble
"Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the fall of former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski is the unlikely string of events that brought him to Manhattan criminal court for the first time on June 4, 2002. The discovery that set off a subsequent cascade of indictments, firings, and frozen bank accounts, seems nearly a fluke in retrospect. Here's what happened, based on numerous interviews with people close to the case."
Frank Quattrone's heavy hand
"Newly obtained e-mails show how CSFB's bankers pushed analysts around."
Amazon: heading for a hangover?
"Holiday shoppers are flocking to the online retailer in record numbers. Its lofty stock price, however, looks way overvalued."
The war against excess worker waistage
"Companies are taking on employees' ever-widening girths in a quest for lower health-care costs and higher productivity."
Patient Capital Management Q3
"Ever since the market bubble burst accountants and analysts have been blamed for the huge losses that have been incurred. In our view, investors (particularly institutional investors and mutual fund managers) have nobody to blame but themselves. It is their fiduciary duty to carry out the proper analysis and due diligence before making an investment decision on behalf of the clients who have entrusted their capital to them. To now blame the accounting establishment and brokerage analysts for the losses experienced over the past two and one half years is extremely inappropriate."
This week's trivia questions are: Q1. Who said "Don't try to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. This can't be done - except by liars."? Q2. Who said "The serious investor knows that among the many signposts that point to corporate and investment growth, a rising dividend trend is perhaps the most significant."? Q3. Who said "October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February."? The answers to last week's trivia questions are: Q1. Who said "Everyone has the brain power to make money in stocks - not everyone has the stomach."? A1. Peter Lynch Q2. Who said "The worse you feel, usually because the news is bad, the safer the market is. The better you feel, usually because the news is good, the closer you are to a top."? A2. John Train Q3. Who said "If the job has been correctly done when a common stock is purchased, the time to sell it is - almost never."? A3. Philip Fisher Source: Wall St Wit & Wisdom The Stingy StoreDownload a sample of the Rothery Report Download a sample of Frugal Funds Subscribe Today Bullishly Yours, Norman Rothery ISSN 1499-2795 To (un)subscribe please use our email centre at http://www.stingyinvestor.com/cgi-bin/email.cgi Refer to legal & conflict of interest disclaimers at http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/legal.shtml http://www.stingyinvestor.com/SI/legal/conflict.shtml
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