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Monthly Archives: November 2008
Here is a bloomberg story quoting Jochen Hitzfeld, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich.
“Agricultural commodities will outperform the broad commodity indices in 2009,” Hitzfeld wrote in a research note this week. “If key crop-producing countries then impose export bans again and speculators drive up prices via physical stockpiling and futures contracts, new food unrest is even conceivable in the second half of 2009.”
Here is the link: Bloomberg on rising food prices
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I think everyone should consider that as much as the economy and the stock market may be hurting you, its hurting other people and institutions even more, especially charities and non-profits. Judging just from my ability to give money this year, non-profits are in for a world of hurt. This Time article highlights some of the emerging problems: Time article on charities’ problems
The crisis couldn’t come at a worse time: many charities, such as City Harvest, which delivers leftover food from restaurants to the needy in New York City, collect the bulk of their donations during the holiday season, and with unemployment on the rise and 401(k) plans tanking, it’s likely to be a blue Christmas. Over the past two years, City Harvest received $100,000 from Lehman alone — one of the charity’s Top 5 donors. “We are obviously very concerned,” says Jilly Stephens, City Harvest’s executive director. “We have the bulk of our fund-raising ahead of us — between November and January we raise nearly 40% of our annual budget — and we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
What makes it worse is that in general non-profits and charities have greater demands on their services in tough economic times.
So, enough about the problems, what can we do? Well, money ain’t going to cut it for most of us, we are a lot poorer and don’t have the ability as we did in the past to give. We can however, volunteer and help out in person. I believe non-profits and charities are going to have to lay thousands of people off. My solution is to pick your favorite charity or non-profit and see how you can volunteer and try to help them. They are going to need it.
Another great post on the Carpe Diem site highlighting that the Big 3 pay half a billion to people that don’t work:
In April, Ford reported Mr. Mulally received $2 million in base salary, a $4 million bonus and more than $11 million of stock and options in 2007. His base salary was unchanged over 2006. Mr. Mulally has earned nearly $50 million in compensation since taking the helm of the auto maker.
Why exactly are we listening to a man who has been paid $50 million while his firm is going down the toilet?
Here is the Wall Street Journal article, where I got this data: Ford’s CEO obscene pay package
In the same article it mentions that the GM CEO got a 33% bump in salary to $2.2 million while GM lost $38.7 billion.
Are you kidding me? Why should I pay my hard earned tax dollars to these bloodsuckers?
This is an excellent blog post from Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem blog on how Honda is actually expanding in this country:
This is a good article from the NewYorker highlighting the problems with agriculture that I’m worried about.
After months of internal debate at Goldman, the seven top executives at the firm, including Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, asked the board’s compensation committee to grant them no bonuses. The board approved the request on Sunday.
The executives will only be eligible for their base salaries, $600,000 for each. A firm spokesman said the executives felt it was “the right thing” to do.
So says an article from the Wall Street Journal: Goldman Execs give up bonuses
I want to ask a different question than the article is answering. My question is why would you own a stock where earnings are made up at of thin air, executives get bonuses no matter what the results of the company is, and execs reluctantly give up bonuses despite the stock being down 70%.
The problem here is not the executives. The problem is the institutional shareholders and investors who let this compensation go on. Its one thing to make an investment where your stock goes down and you make a mistake. It is quite another thing when you are investing in a company that is screwing shareholders and you just ignored it. If anyone of the following firms were managing my money I would pull my money and terminate the relationship:
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd
MARSICO CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC
STATE STREET CORPORATION
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. (THE)
WELLINGTON MANAGEMENT COMPANY, LLP
JANUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC
PRICE (T.ROWE) ASSOCIATES INC
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
These firms are the top holders of Goldman Sachs. I would do this because if they aren’t worried about executives giving themselves egregious and undeserved bonuses and salaries, they are probably not good stewards of your money and are probably charging you an arm and a leg for their services. And if you own these firms yourself, I would recommend you read the following book:
There is a fascinating article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell on how outsiders and the underprivileged sometimes have an an advantage. He profiles Sidney Weinberg, the guy who transformed Goldman Sachs into a powerhouse, and how he came from a very poor upbringing. Its a really good read.
This is an excellent video interview by Thomas Friedman on the proposed bailout of the auto industry. The end is excellent.