Archive for April, 2009

  • Baxter Working on Swine Vax
    , April 27th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    The Chicago Tribune reports:

    With world health officials worried about the global outbreak of another deadly virus, Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. once again finds itself involved in the action.
    Baxter confirmed over the weekend that it is working with the World Health Organization on a potential vaccine to curb the deadly swine flu virus that is blamed for scores of deaths in Mexico and has emerged as a threat in the U.S.
    Baxter, which has an emerging vaccine business, has worked with the U.S. and foreign countries in the past to develop vaccines for the H5N1 virus commonly known as bird flu.
    Baxter has a cell-based technology that allows the company to produce vaccines more rapidly in the event of a pandemic than a decades-old method that uses eggs and can take weeks or months longer. Although the egg-based method has produced safe and effective vaccines, analysts say Baxter’s method can cut production times in half compared with the older process.
    “Upon learning about the swine flu outbreak in Mexico, Baxter requested a virus sample from WHO to do laboratory testing for potentially developing an experimental vaccine,” company spokesman Christopher Bona told the Tribune.

    Shares of Baxter International (BAX) are up nicely today.

  • RIP: Portfolio
    , April 27th, 2009 at 10:56 am

    After two years:

    Condé Nast will cease publication of Portfolio effective with its May issue and will close in the second quarter of the year, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and CEO of Condé Nast.
    “The pressures and realities of the continuous deep economic slump have lowered Portfolio’s revenue projections below what is needed to continue publication,” Mr. Townsend said. “Portfolio was an ambitious and innovative magazine and website, and we were proud to publish them. The challenges facing this launch however proved too great. Joanne Lipman is an extraordinarily skillful editor and William Li is a very talented publisher. We thank them and their staffs for their tremendous efforts. It is unfortunate we were unable to give Portfolio the time needed to fully mature.”
    Portfolio and were launched in May 2007. The magazine has published 21 issues since its launch. The magazine received a National Magazine Award in 2008 and has been nominated for multiple awards since.

    I feel bad for Ryan Avent, an excellent blogger they had just hired.

  • Foreign Journalists Look at America
    , April 27th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Megan McArdle highlights this comically tone deaf article on America.

    The crisis is also making itself felt in posh Georgetown, a historic residential neighborhood in Washington D.C. which is home to many politicians, lobbyists and attorneys. Anyone who forgets to lock his car at night can expect to see unwanted guests sleeping in it by the next morning.

    I guess I missed that part. Time to load up on shares of Soylent Green (PEBL).

  • For Serious Math Geeks
    , April 25th, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Greg Mankiw writes that stock prices “are approximately brownian motion.”
    Ironman at Poltical Calculations writes: “Since at least January 2008, stock prices moved away from approximating Brownian motion to instead follow more of a Lévy Flight.”
    Feel the chart love.

  • The Real Swines
    , April 25th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    WHO Warns of Possible Pandemic as Mexico Seeks to Contain Swine Flu
    We begin counting: Three, two..

    Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu

  • Weekend Poll
    , April 25th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

  • JPM Is #1
    , April 24th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Duff McDonald writes in Portfolio:

    Goldman used to be special. Now, Goldman is merely a far smaller bank than J.P. Morgan. Sure, their results beat analyst expectations by nearly double in April. But their revenues only rose 13 percent. J.P. Morgan’s top line gain? A cool 48 percent. More to the point, J.P. Morgan’s investment bank brought in $1.4 billion in revenue in the quarter, tops on Wall Street.
    Goldman had, for a time, the most badass leader on Wall Street in Hank Paulson. But Paulson is long gone.
    Beyond generally seeming mealy-mouthed, the company’s current CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has of late been styling himself a little like Jamie Dimon, in particular in his late-to-the-game calls for compensation reform among the country’s most overpaid paper-pushers.
    But Dimon actually exudes real confidence instead of merely putting it on as a public-relations costume. Goldman’s co-president, Jon Winkelreid, recently resigned in the wake of a bailout by his company because he was somehow—and this is really just extraordinary—insolvent. This despite being paid more than $100 million over the past decade.

    As I asked recently, why isn’t JPM now too big to fail? All those same arguments apply.

  • Hamptons Home Prices Plummet
    , April 23rd, 2009 at 5:20 pm

  • Microsoft Revenues Fall
    , April 23rd, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    For the first time since it went public 23 years ago:

    Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, on Thursday reported net income of $3.0 billion, or 33 cents a share, for its third quarter, ended March 31 — a 32 percent drop in profits from the $4.4 billion, or 47 cents a share, reported in the same period last year.
    The company’s revenue fell 6 percent to $13.7 billion from $14.5 billion.

  • Ugly Earnings from Danaher and SEI Investments
    , April 23rd, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Danaher (DHR) isn’t doing as well I hoped. The economy is really putting the squeeze on them. Q1 earnings came in at 72 cents a share which was a penny shy of forecasts. In January, the company said to expect 70 to 80 cents a share.
    What’s most troubling is that they lowered both ends of their full-year forecast by 40 cents a share. Danaher now sees FY 2009 EPS ranging from $3.30 to $3.70 a share. At the current, the stock isn’t outrageously overpriced, but I don’t see a lot of upside. Ultimately, I like Danaher due to their management, it’s not a value play. For now, I’m sticking with them.
    SEI Investments (SEIC) also had a rough quarter. The company earned 18 cents a share, but there was a five cent charge. Adding that back in, SEIC beat the 22-cent consensus by a penny a share, but revenues dropped 26%. It looks like business is hurting across the board.
    The good news is that like a lot of financials, SEIC has had a freaky rally since its March low. The bad news is that business has been turning downward for the past year.