Argentina may have found the solution to the U.S.'s rising unemployment rate, which reached 5.6% in September. On Argentinian reality TV show Recursos Humanos, jobless contestants duke it out for real jobs, employee benefits, cash, and prizes. They may not win a career, but hey, at least they score a new blender out of the deal.
Apparently, game shows have replaced networking as the most effective way to find a job. At least, that's what former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers is counting on. Unfortunately, a week after resigning from the doomed telecom in April, he received his rejection letter from CBS's Survivor. No word yet from ESPN's Beg, Borrow and Deal.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- SEC Investigates Schering-Plough
- Quote of Note
- Lockheed, Nathan's, EMC: Buying Back
- Discussion Board of the Day: Lockheed Martin
- Have Plastic, Will Travel
- Shameless Plug: Get More From Your Savings
- Quick Takes: Allegheny Energy, Pepsi , Option Care , more
- And Finally...
The problem arose when the stock began to plummet last week, falling over 15% from Tuesday through Thursday. This drop followed a meeting company executives had with at least one large shareholder, and meetings with other investors and analysts continued throughout the week, as well. Then, after the bell Thursday, the drug maker abruptly warned that its third-quarter and full-year earnings would be sharply lower than expected.
That's when the smaller investors began to yell. Did Schering tip the big guys about the warning ahead of time? According to The Wall Street Journal, a single five-million-share block was traded Tuesday afternoon, which is about what the stock normally trades during a full day. On top of that, volume was well above normal levels Tuesday through Thursday. Was that the result of some mutual funds or institutions selling?
If large shareholders and analysts were told before the warning was issued, it would, of course, be a violation of Regulation FD, the "fair disclosure" rule. The company denies any wrongdoing and says it "welcomes the opportunity to cooperate with the Commission in answering any questions, and believes that it has complied with all applicable securities laws in this matter."
It's doubtful that management intentionally violated the fair disclosure rule. The Journal says some of CEO Richard Kogan's comments to analysts during a private meeting on Thursday may have been misinterpreted, and the company therefore rushed to issue the earnings warning that evening.
At any rate, Schering's handling of this matter is sloppy, at best, and its actions do nothing to ease investor perception that the small guys are still always the last to know about trouble -- some two years after Reg FD was enacted.
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." -- Mark Twain
Is the best defense a good buying offense? Lockheed Martin
No, the more typical buybacks have been coming from the likes of Nathan's Famous
Stuck data-storage bellwether EMC
"The purchase program announced today reflects our belief that EMC common stock is currently an attractive investment opportunity for EMC," said the company's Executive Chairman Mike Ruettgers.
When did he say this? Back on May 9, 2001, when the company announced a 50-million share buyback. The stock closed at $40.98 that day and has given back 90% of its value since last year's repurchase announcement.
So, tread cautiously with the flurry of buyback press releases you're seeing lately. While it might be a prudent move for public companies to show a little faith and try to lead by example, just make sure you know what you're following.
Since last year's terrorist attacks and the military response that followed, Lockheed didn't really need to rally the troops behind a share buyback. With Iraq in the crosshairs, are investors justified in bidding up shares of Lockheed? Are there ethical issues involved in buying into defense contractor companies? All this and more -- in the Lockheed Martin discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
There's cash, credit, debit card, and paper and e-checks. Now travelers have an alternative to the cost-prohibitive cash advances they get from using their credit card at the automatic teller machine.
Introducing the prepaid plastic money card that lets you get cash -- quick and cheap -- when you're on the road. MasterCard has a version of a prepaid card. And Visa offers TravelMoney (say it really fast, since there's no space between the two words) through Travelex/Interpayment. (Is everyone's space bar broken?)
Now the company has specifically targeted travelers by teaming with AAA to give its members a different way to pay. Starting Jan. 1, AAA members can use the CoGo card at any ATM that accepts Visa around the world. Just load it up with cash (there's a $3 fee if you put less than $300 on the card), pick a PIN, and then use it to get francs, bahts, euros, or whatever currency the locals use.
Like traveler's checks, you can get a replacement card when you lose it in the Congo. Unlike traveler's checks, the card is useless to even the best forgery artist -- the PIN is the only way to access the money.
What makes the CoGo card different from ATM cards? The only fee you pay is to the bank whose cash machine you use. It lets you avoid the fee your bank charges for cheating on it with a foreign ATM. We particularly like the debit-card nature of the product. With a prepaid card, you can only spend as much as you load onto the card.
You can't put all your money in the stock market. Sometimes you need a safe, guaranteed return. So what are your options? Our Short-Term Savings Center can help you figure out how much you need to save, where to put it, and where to get the best interest rates. There's even some special yields for Fools.
Is it time to pull the plug on Allegheny Energy
Fizz is it! Pepsi
Wince Charming. Retailer of plus-size clothing Charming Shoppes
The prognosis has been a little better at Option Care
Today on Fool.com: Matt Richey examines stock picks if we go to war.... How many ESOs are too many? Tom Jacobs answers that question and examines the Rule Breaker's holdings.... In Fool's School, what is a company's payout ratio?... Our Community suggests hotel bargaining tips.... And the Post of the Day: a margin call for AMD.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim