Archive for October, 2007

  • Banking Industry On Hard Times
    , October 31st, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    The Onion:

    The banking industry is being hit hard by the subprime loan collapse. Bank of America laid off 3,000 workers and Merrill Lynch posted its first quarterly loss in six years. What are banks doing to make up the loses?
    Increasing ATM fees to $601.95
    Coffee temperature turned way down
    Launching paid subscription websites featuring hilarious and/or deadly bank robbery videos
    Limiting branch hours to noon until 12:15
    Taking anything valuable from safe deposit boxes that appear not to have been opened in a while
    For fee, will open cash vaults for money-bathing purposes
    Charging more for crisp bills
    So long as CEOs continuing to make shitloads, not too much

  • Fed Cuts by 0.25%
    , October 31st, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Here’s the statement:

    The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 25 basis points to 4-1/2 percent.
    Economic growth was solid in the third quarter, and strains in financial markets have eased somewhat on balance. However, the pace of economic expansion will likely slow in the near term, partly reflecting the intensification of the housing correction. Today’s action, combined with the policy action taken in September, should help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and promote moderate growth over time.
    Readings on core inflation have improved modestly this year, but recent increases in energy and commodity prices, among other factors, may put renewed upward pressure on inflation. In this context, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain, and it will continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.
    The Committee judges that, after this action, the upside risks to inflation roughly balance the downside risks to growth. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act as needed to foster price stability and sustainable economic growth.
    Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Charles L. Evans; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner;
    Frederic S. Mishkin; William Poole; Eric S. Rosengren; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against was Thomas M. Hoenig, who preferred no change in the federal funds rate at this meeting.
    In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 25-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 5 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco.

  • Dell’s Earnings Restatement
    , October 31st, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Dell (DELL) has finally restated its earnings for the past few years. As you can see blow, the difference between the restatement and the original isn’t very much. Profits for FY ’06 were revised a little higher and the years before that were a little lower.

    Year………Sales……..Oper. Income…..EPS


    Year………Sales……..Oper. Income…..EPS

    Note that Dell’s fiscal year ends in late-January or early February so we’re currently in FY ’08.
    Two things stand out. First, is the large amount of shares that Dell has bought back. In FY ’07, there were 14% fewer diluted shares than there were in FY ’03.
    The other is the decline and fall of Dell’s operating margins. This is the key stat to watch in Dell. Not too long ago, Dell’s operating margins were around 11%. Today, they’re around 6%. In other words, you sell twice as much just to stand still.

  • Slate to Launch Business Site
    , October 31st, 2007 at 10:40 am

    The New York Observer has the details:

    Slate deputy editor David Plotz told The Observer he believes there’s a clear opening for Slate’s distinctive editorial voice. He argued that while political journalism has diversified with the arrival of blogs and other independent sites, business journalism is “still dominated by the big brands. We think there’s an opening for a really smart, analytical, opinionated Web site that could be Webby and fast and agile.”
    Mr. Plotz cautioned that the new project is still awaiting final authorization from Post company executives. Assuming it goes forward, it will likely capitalize on the Slate brand with a logo at the top of the home page. He would not comment on the projected budget for the site.
    According to a source at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, the publishers of Slate, the new site, which does not yet have a name, could go live as early as next summer. It was born in part out of the recent launch of Slate’s newly branded video Web site, SlateV, which Post executives are pleased with. Plans call for it to follow the same basic staffing model that has helped make Slate a success—using a few editors and assistants to run the operation, while relying for content mostly on freelancers.
    No one’s been hired yet. According to a different source, Slate editors offered the top job to Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of both Gawker and the business blog DealBreaker, who now writes for New York magazine, but were turned down. They’ve since asked both Ms. Spiers and Daniel Gross, Slate’s regular business columnist, among others, to write for the site.

  • Today’s GDP Report
    , October 31st, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Today’s report on GDP growth for the third-quarter was a surprisingly strong 3.9%. This is nearly identical to the 3.8% for the second quarter. My only warning is that these numbers are subject to endless revisions.
    It’s very likely that nominal GDP for 2007 will be over 25% more than 2003.
    Update: BR calls BS.

  • Fair Isaac’s Earnings
    , October 31st, 2007 at 9:46 am

    It’s no secret that Fair Isaac (FIC) has been a disappointment this year. Yesterday’s earnings report appears to be a small bright spot.

    Fair Isaac Corp.’s profit climbed 28 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter, as the business advisory reserved much less to pay taxes, the company said Tuesday.
    Fair Isaac earned $28.2 million, or 52 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with profit of $22.1 million, or 35 cents per share, in the fourth quarter last year.
    Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast profit of 41 cents per share.
    Revenue was roughly flat at $207.2 million, versus analysts’ expectations for $201 million.
    Fair Isaac sells financial advice and business analysis. The primary difference between the fourth quarter and the comparable period a year earlier was the provision for income taxes. That provision was $2.8 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $11 million in the fourth quarter last year.

    The stock is doing well this morning, but it still has a long way to go to make up for its poor performance this year.

  • Will the 90s Ever End?
    , October 30th, 2007 at 4:47 pm


    March 14, 2007: BigBand Networks Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering


    May 3, 2007: BigBand Networks Reports First Quarter 2007 Financial Results with 62% Increase in Year over Year Revenues and Expanding Gross Margins


    Sept. 27, 2007:
    BigBand Networks Announces Revised Revenue Outlook for Third Quarter of 2007


    October 30, 2007: BigBand reports Q3 loss, to cut workforce by 15 pct

    No fair. I’m suing!!

  • Becky and Dylan on Wing Women
    , October 30th, 2007 at 3:52 pm

  • Gender Differences and Mutual Fund Managers
    , October 30th, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape, or form – is that men and women can’t be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.
    When Harry Met Sally…

    academic study has found that the gender of a mutual fund manager might have an impact on its returns.
    Not that men are better or worse managers than women. Instead, an all-male or all-female team might be better than a mixed gender team.
    Perhaps Harry was right.

  • Management Matters
    , October 30th, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Some numbers to consider:
    Both Merrill Lynch (MER) and Bear Stearns (BSC) are 33% below their 52-week high.
    Lehman Brothers (LEH) is 28% off its high.
    Goldman Sachs (GS) made a new high today. The stock is up over $46 a share this year.
    Of those 4,600 pennies, Lloyd Blankfein’s pay last year was $53.4 million or about 13 cents a share.
    Remember that next time someone complains about executive compensation.