As you well know, the degree to which CEOs are declared geniuses by the business media can scare horses. But even though keeping a CEO seat warm and giving the occasional good quote or back-pat usually qualifies someone for being declared a genius, even The Business Press Maven is confused by this standard business media industry practice as it relates to those who run the so-called financial supermarkets.Let me try to get this all straight, but please write to enlighten me further. My "pretty" little head is spinning, but I do know that more investor money is needlessly lost by those who invest with false confidence that the guy in charge is infallible, as a result of that undeservedly worshipful coverage. When Sandy Weill, creator of the financial supermarket in the form of Citigroup ( C), retired in the spring of 2006, The Business Press Maven was as
"J.P. Morgan's financial results underscored the potential of the so-called universal bank, a model that Mr. Dimon helped create under the wing of legendary deal maker Sanford Weill at Citigroup. Yet it also shows how the corporate strategy, in which assorted financial businesses are brought under one roof to balance out a bank's performance in tough times, requires a strong and nimble management in order to prosper."I'm more partial to Fortune's take. Look at this
J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have used their superior results this quarter to try and steal business from rivals. But are they really as strong as they look?" No matter what, though, can we please call a moratorium on declaring CEOs geniuses or dolts on the last cyclical turn of their business? And let's wait this financial supermarket thing out before declaring it a lasting stroke of brilliance. Now for a new but important economic discussion. This is hardly scientific or worthy of the consideration of great economists, but it is urgent to any red-blooded New York foodie. As you know, The Business Press Maven has by in large been bullish throughout all the economic troubles and challenges we have faced over the last two years. And I don't want to be trite here. But The Business Press Maven has always seen some of life's bigger truths in pizza and chocolate, and I am thus declaring myself in an official state of stagflation-watch.
David A. Brandon, Domino's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Unprecedented cost pressures and a weak consumer environment negatively impacted our domestic results in the quarter, which made striking the right balance between increasing prices, while operating in a period of declining traffic, very difficult.
Hershey Co. reported Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 66% from a year earlier, hurt by special restructuring charges, soaring costs of dairy milk and the performance of its premium-chocolate line. Hershey also projected a full-year profit below Wall Street's expectations, sending its stock to the lowest level in one year.Piece of evidence three: TBD. To add the third leg to this watch, please be on the lookout and send me any evidence you see of stagflation in companies that provide some of life's small pleasures. Again: it's hardly scientific, and the business media won't make this connection (probably for good reason). But the Small Pleasure Index has always been a telling one for The Business Press Maven. Finally, a quick reminder for those in the Chapel Hill, N.C., area: I'll be speaking tomorrow, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m. on the campus of the University of North Carolina. My topic will be the comparative strengths and weaknesses of business and sports coverage. I'll be on a panel with Hubert Davis, former Tar Heel, former New York Knick and current ESPN sportscaster. A splendid time will be had by all, so if you are in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself.