Back in the day, investors got their news summary from the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Peeking at the "What's News" column of blurbs, an investor had the framework for their day. But since "What's News" just summarizes what's in the Journal, in this modern era it falls kind of short.
After all, thanks to the Internet, publications from the
Hong Kong Morning Press
Johannesburg Mail & Guardian
to your Aunt Esther's hot tip blog are as easy to get as your local newspaper. That means as an investor, you face a near-fatal challenge. Who has enough time in the day to read all of what is available, let alone put the most actionable highlights in some coherent form, adding perspective and the requisite wisecracks?
That's where I, the Business Press Maven, eyes baggy from lack of sleep, will henceforth ride to the rescue. In addition to my
weekly column, which provides long-form thoughts on the issues that arise when Wall Street meets the business media and vice versa, I will now provide a snappy, snazzy summary of the most actionable writing (and talk) of the new day three days a week, before the opening bell. Here goes.
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Step One, Part D
The new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan has apparently leaned heavily on everyone, no? One can not watch a television news program without seeing a segment on enraged seniors. Republicans grumble at President Bush for supporting a new entitlement and because seniors apparently dislike it, he did not even gain politically.
has quietly been gaining financially, says
this morning's WSJ
. Having signed an agreement with
, the largest Part D provider, the drug store colossus is not only filling more subscriptions, it's also acting as the pharmacy benefits manager for millions of seniors. In addition to snaring that UnitedHealth deal, Walgreen is well-situated. Smaller independents don't have the volume to absorb the low reimbursement rates and many seniors used to pay cash, so they would seek out discounters like
. Now rates are the same, so why not the local Walgreen?
Agita At Univision
Chaos hit the
auction last night, according to
. An investment consortium led by GrupoTelevisa, the Mexican television outfit favored to win America's largest Spanish-language media company, missed the deadline to submit an offer. I hate when that happens. Univision can still waive the deadline, but the miss is representative of a bidding process that, despite high expectations, seems to be in wilt mode.
The ahead-of-ourselves watch on alternative fuel continues today in
The Financial Times
. Remember all those breathless press releases during the Internet bubble of the 1990s, promising developments sometime in the deep-centerfield of the future?
Don't know if you've noticed, but the same thing is happening in alternative fuel (see: all said and written about the instantly great prospects of ethanol, a fuel supplement which, the investing public is just starting to figure out, is more expensive than fuel it supplements). Today, more of the same.
ran a story about how
have "signaled a breakthrough in biofuels." This comes in the form of a "plant-derived fuel more advanced than ethanol." Way down in the story, the date 2010 starts getting thrown around and then we hear about mere plans for plants and feasibility studies -- two nasty words for anyone looking to make money in this lifetime. A lot of excited expectations in alternatives fuels, with success a long way off, at best. Me smell a good area for short opportunities. At the very least, tread carefully on the buy side when you see a pattern of stories like this.
Government Jumps on GoldWagon
For anyone looking for solid anecdotal evidence that commodity prices have reached their peak, Monday's
had it in spades: the U.S. government, a lagging indicator if there ever was one, is trying to get in on the modern-day gold rush. The Post reports that investors craving pure gold will now be able to pony up for the nation's first 24-karat gold coin, unveiled with pomp at West Point.
One version will sell for $800, but another, for the smaller investor (last one in, hold the losses please), will sell for the price of an ounce of gold plus a premium designed to cover production costs. Planned as gold was making its plus-sized move, the U.S. Mint has already lowered the price of the premium coin. No one ever accused a government entity of being early.
Finish Line's Buyback Still At Start
A good little piece of work by
, a footwear retailer that will report its first-quarter numbers this afternoon. Company announcements of buyback programs get more attention than announcements of new fuel initiatives.
What doesn't get much play is the more important issue: just how many of those shares does the company actually repurchase? "What's notable here," writes the Fool, "is how few shares the company has repurchased -- just 113,100 Class A common shares in Q1," and through the life of the buyback program, just over a quarter of what is allowed. As important as the quarterly numbers they report this afternoon is the question: Why so skimpy on the buyback?
And if it's not feet, but the long-term health of your head and how it relates to your trading success that concerns you, take a look at a story on
. The point, well taken, is that more important than having a trading plan, a trader should have a trading psychology plan.
Have a mentally healthy and financially profitable day.