In all, it's been a pretty sleepy weekend on the financial front thus far, with minor news items on
providing some relief from the tedium.
Perhaps the most intriguing tidbit in the weekend wires and papers is outside the companies arena. In Sunday's
has an unsourced characterization of last week's bond market selloff as reflecting "widespread misinterpretation" of Fed Chairman
remarks on inflation and the forces that have been keeping it so low.
"There was widespread misinterpretation of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in which he emphasized that large productivity gains are keeping costs and inflation low," Berry writes in his very short Sunday
column. "Most analysts seized instead on his usual warnings that a continued drop in unemployment could cause inflationary problems."
(Greenspan's warning, in Greenspan's words, was this: "Although productivity has accelerated in recent years, the impressive strength of domestic demand, in part driven by sharply rising equity prices, has meant that the substitution of capital for labor has been inadequate to prevent us from steadily depleting the pool of available workers. This worker depletion constitutes a critical upside risk to the inflation outlook because it presumably cannot continue without eventually putting increasing pressure on labor markets and on costs.")
Will the benchmark 30-year bond's yield retreat from its 11-month high yield of 5.81% tomorrow now that Berry has shown investors the error of their ways? Or will they steadfastly continue to commit vast sums of capital to such an obviously wrong take on the chairman's remarks? Only the Shadow knows...
In other news, Compaq is expected to announce four exclusive distributors for its products on Monday,
reported. The distributors are
Tech Data Corp.
. The move is Compaq's latest effort to improve its distribution system to better compete with
In the oil sector,
is in slow-moving talks to buy Texaco. If a deal ever results, it probably won't be for months, because of Texaco's refining alliances, which would have to be scrapped at huge expense,
In other news,
is expected Monday to announce a $5 billion plan to connect 160 cities around the world with high-capacity fiber for Internet and data traffic, the
Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition
In small-cap news, the Netherlands'
Royal Philips Electronics
announced today that it will buy speech technology company
Voice Control Systems
for $4 a share in cash. VCSI closed Friday at 3 3/16.
Finally, U.S. Fortune 500 utility
Transmission Pipelines Australia
for $675 million,
In the Papers
The weekend financial press is fairly thin this week.
has a bullish item on
, saying rising oil prices could put the company back on a fast-growth track, goosing the stock price.
There's a bearish item in the weekly on
, saying that unless earnings are about to spurt (which no one's expecting), the stock looks toppy.
is the subject of a negative feature in
, for briefing its board last fall on the likelihood that contract negotiations with
would hurt the managed-care concern. A month before badly missing first-quarter earnings estimates in early April, the story says, Humana reassured shareholders and analysts about the contract in a meeting.
The weekly has a positive feature on S&Ls, saying that many newly public thrifts are undervalued. The favorably mentioned include:
Hudson River Bancorp
South Jersey Financial
First Place Financial
Fund managers profiled in the weekend press include Beth Cotner of
Putnam Investors, in
, and Bernice Behar of
John Hancock Emerging Growth, in
The New York Times
Also in the
Money & Business
section, a slap at
IPO, slated for next month, calling it "a flawed business model."