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More on MO
In response to your column
No MO Lies, thanks for that piece. However, I have to believe that the class action will be decertified. I have a hard time believing those tobacco executives huddled in the board room conniving new ways to misrepresent their products and trick smokers into believing they are safe and harmless.
Yes, they advertised to death the concept of sex and cigarettes. But somewhere people will finally wake up and realize that rather than being helpless victims in a trance, they are voluntary purchasers and users of a product that could harm them, a product that is entirely legal to produce, purchase as an adult and use.
I don't smoke anymore. I don't recommend that anybody use the product. But where does all this "evil empire stuff" come from? Personal responsibility has to begin somewhere.
Phillip Morris , I think that the Court will not let stand a decision establishing blanket liability on tobacco given their rationale in this case. Class actions are intended for claims that are significantly similar in their facts. Smoking cases are inherently varied in their underlying facts.
But then again, I've been wrong before.
Dismantling the Analysts
In response to your story
The Ax:vs. the Internet Queen, I've got a few comments.
The rise of securities analysts from "back-office functionaries" began long before the advent of the Meekers and Blodgets of this world.
Analysts' role of "high-profile opinion-shapers and rainmakers" and their close association with underwriting activities puts paid to any credibility they may have had as objective interpreters of companies and their stocks. They do not work for the "ordinary" investor.
On average and over the medium to long term, analysts' abilities to make short-term market "calls" is no better or worse than anybody's.
By and large, Internet analysts are "pumpers" of stocks in a hot sector. They have given up or glossed over any substantive analysis of real value.
Quite simply, analysts merely pander to investors' desire for short-term performance. They are purveyors of "sizzle" and ignore the "steak". They work for the "store" (and its underwriting customers) NOT for the
I found your article
Ask Jeeves: What's the Big Deal? interesting. However, why pick on
? They do have a unique search engine. Try asking "What time is it in the U.S.?" on
and see what you get. It will take you all day to find out what time it is. Ask Jeeves the same question and you get the answer right away.
Such a service must be worth something.
In response to a comment you made in your column
Intel Upgrades Make Hot Market Hotter, funny thing. I'm a subscriber from Canada and on Monday I came to work because all of the world's financial markets were open except in the U.S. I clicked on to
to get the latest commentary about the markets and found out this cyberpaper took most of the day off too!
Listening for the Alarm
: Your column
Waiting for the Alarm to Sound echoes pretty much my own assessment, albeit I arrived at mine somewhat differently.
It seems to me that the
has, if not given up on stepping out with some view of the future, has at least exposed the economy to much greater volatility/risk rising from price/growth pressure than if it were to have put in a 50 basis point increase.
I believe the members are all probably humbled by the way things have worked out over the last three or four years.
always did read something new and different happening. Many other members were far less sanguine about letting things stay. Alan Greenspan's success has, I'm sure, made them all question up and down, left and right.
Greenspan's own "absence of belief" is far more problematic as you suggest. More than ever, lining up the catalysts that can lead, suddenly or not, to a change are vital. Here is my own list of significance as catalyst for a violent Fed move.
Wages/big labor contract: I don't know where the next big labor contract is coming up for renewal, but a move to a big wage increase rather than other "soft issues" like outsourcing, overtime, etc. will be very significant, especially in reference to its broader implications and influence in other labor segments.
Housing/consumer spending: This sector continues to go higher and higher. The Fed will feel obligated to act very strongly, at least 50 basis points up.
I've been following markets for a while. I know how quickly sentiments change and suddenly everyone foretells doom and gloom. Federal budget outlooks could quickly digress to little surplus and cutbacks or, with a Democratically controlled Congress next year, a tax increase.
Regarding your poll on the best
mystical-numbers biblical book, you neglected the most important book as part of the survey options:
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, where everyone knows the answer is "42" to the question about "life, the universe and everything."
Grinning at the Grumps
Bring on the Grumps was a great dose of good ol' back to reality, get yourself back to work, Monday morning medicine. I needed that more than ever to motivate me when I'm looking at a five-day week that ends on Saturday this time around.
In response to your column
Bring on the Grumps, finally, a piece that says it all! It coincides with my line of thinking that the bond people are overly paranoid and that their sentiment is what has driven rates higher. To me, the
awarded these "scarecrows" the consolation prize by only lifting Fed rates by 25 basis points. There was no big trophy or the hint of them getting one in the near future.
Part of my reasoning has to do with the things you mentioned and the Fed's continued printing of more and more money. Conditions just don't seem right for a big move, at least not yet. Therefore, I believe that the stock market will move up during earnings season as the bond people try to readjust their positions and more and more semi-annual pension funds pump money into stocks and bonds. So, with those beliefs, it seems logical that interest rates will get closer to 5% than to 7% and the stock market will post higher highs. However, the valuation of stocks seems very very rich and I'd sure hate to see a repeat of '87. But come October, I look for the Y2K hysteria to be in full force and "Wall Street come a tumblin' down."
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Execs Found Guilty in Medicare Fraud Case, while the executives in charge certainly were responsible for some shenanigans, why hasn't anyone begun to question the people in charge of
about their systems and controls? It's hard to believe that anyone doing business in the private sector would have allowed these massive frauds to take place for so long. It's pretty scary for us little old taxpayers to watch these bureaucrats and their hired help throw away precious capital like this.
But then again, it's not their money they're handling. It's ours!