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April 2010

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6

Common-Sense Capitalism

April 30, 2010 – Comments (2)

The idea of stakeholder -- as opposed to purely shareholder -- driven capitalism seems to be catching on, at least as a topic of discussion given so much that has gone wrong over recent years. I wrote on the topic for Fool.com today in Common-Sense Capitalism. To my way of thinking, responsible and ethical business conduct with a focus on workers and customers as well as shareholders is just good, old-fashioned common sense, but in recent times we seem to have gotten away from that for the supposed drive to maximize shareholder value in the short term. Too many companies kind of miss the plot (and can ultimately destroy themselves and shareholder value over the long term) this way. I think more of a focus on all stakeholders is common sense that should be much more common than it has been for too long.   [more]

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7

Tooth and Claw

April 29, 2010 – Comments (0)

Yesterday I took a look at clawback provisions, which seem to be getting a little more vogue, at least in theory. That would be a good thing, in my opinion (although problems remain, such as the fact that they are sometimes difficult to execute). Bizarre safety nets for failure, like golden parachutes, make our problems worse. I included one of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes in the piece -- it pretty much sums up how nonsensical some of the pay policies like golden parachutes are. When CEOs are paid a massive payout when they're let go, well there's a problem there -- as far as I'm concerned, a lack of logic and reason.  [more]

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The Prodigal Consumer

April 28, 2010 – Comments (0)

The question's been bugging me: Have consumers made a comeback? I mean, are they really back? There are things that worry me about the retail rally, like varying reasons why signs of strengthening in consumer spending seems fairly unsustainable as I discuss in the piece. (I also throw a few other elements in, as to why I think folks need to pick their retail stocks very carefully right now.)  [more]

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5

Failures of Different Types

April 23, 2010 – Comments (0)

All right, it was kind of hard for me to get past that mind-boggling "oh, FAIL" news early this morning about some high-ranking SEC employees' "productive" at-work activities during the economic crisis. Glad to see the priorities are all straight. Sheesh.   [more]

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Oh, So That Was What the SEC Was Doing...

April 23, 2010 – Comments (10)

Oh dear. The SEC's reputation just got a little more tarnished. (And goodness, it appears they were making good money to do this...)

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Green Stuff

April 22, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: SBUX , PEP

I wrote about some interesting things companies are doing for a "green" Earth Day theme for Fool.com today. I plan on writing a piece on the 1st of each month -- a Green Watch -- that exposes some interesting environmental/sustainable initiatives public companies are doing. (We'll see, of course, if there's much interest.) At any rate, here is the first piece. I am hoping to harness some of the collective intelligence around Fooldom, if folks have any interesting initiatives they'd like to share (or companies they think get a huge FAIL on green initiatives) I hope they will share them in the comments boxes. (And wow... Pepsi's doing some really interesting things, as far as I can tell.)   [more]

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Sunshine & Wake-up Calls

April 21, 2010 – Comments (4)

Today I wrote Sunshine and Wake-Up Calls for Fool.com, discussing some shareholder rumblings (at both annual meetings and in proxy statements in the form of shareholder resolutions) at the moment.   [more]

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5

Buffett, Goldman and the Past is Prologue?

April 20, 2010 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: GS , BRK-A , BRK-B

I'm currently reading The Snowball (slowly, it is very long) and as luck would have it, over the weekend I started getting into the chapters on Warren Buffett's dealings with Salomon Brothers, which clearly was interesting given what transpired Friday with Goldman Sachs (and Buffett's stake in it). And my goodness, what eerie parallels, including the motivation to bring on Buffett's reputation as well as Buffett's ability to make a deal that would help bolster a firm's reputation although in fact, he's actually getting a deal that would have little downside for him.   [more]

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7

Oh, The Insecurity

April 16, 2010 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: GS

Today on Fool.com, I wrote about CEO perks, specifically companies that pay for chief executive officers' security expenses. I neglected to mention in the piece those rumors last winter that some of Goldman Sachs' top brass might be taking security, er, into their own hands by packing heat (although the thought had crossed my mind to make an aside about it). That would have been a bit timely, since today apparently they have a little more reason to feel, er, insecure, at least in terms of scrutiny.  [more]

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Welcome... to Fantasy Island!

April 15, 2010 – Comments (4) | RELATED TICKERS: ANF

OK, admittedly, I think a lot of stuff going on in our economy these days (including the continued Bizarro rally) sounds like Fantasy Island nonsense, but this post is about something a bit more specific but still pretty fantastical. Abercrombie & Fitch is going to pay CEO Mike Jeffries $4 million to limit his personal use of the corporate plane. Unreal.   [more]

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Kudos to Google

April 14, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: GOOGL

Today on Fool.com, I highlighted Google in today's Weekly Walk of Fame. Sergey Brin has put the brakes on the company's China business, citing concern about censorship that reminds him of the totalitarian Soviet Union his family fled. Principled decisions like this one -- that may fly in the face of the usual pursuit of short-term profits -- are the kinds of decisions I wish more investors would view as good leadership.   [more]

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On Risk

April 09, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: MEE.DL

Corporate governance topics really boil down to assessing risk. I think some investors don't drill down too hard on what risk really is, but it goes beyond the Risk Factors companies outline in their SEC filings. For example, examples of self-serving behavior from company management should really put investors on their guard. What's next?   [more]

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Bernake Speaks...

April 08, 2010 – Comments (1)

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Poor CEOs

April 07, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: MCD

Today on Fool.com, I wrote about those poor CEOs... according to several surveys, CEO pay decreased for the second year running, but yeah, those folks aren't in danger of having to figure out the fine art of dumpster diving anytime soon.  [more]

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