Saturday, December 27, 2014

Investing, Markets

POSTED: Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 2:30 AM

I’m the reluctant owner of 317 banks that have accepted capital through the $700 billion financial rescue program.

As a business journalist, I avoid investing directly in stocks. As a taxpayer, I had no choice.

Washington has been trying to shore up the capital of banks whether they are healthy or unhealthy. The Treasury Department said last week that it had invested $194.2 billion in banks since October.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 2:30 AM

Around this time last year, I wrote about the continued growth of DuPont Co., which had issued its financial results amid the noise of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

Then as now, the stock market had started the year badly. I had hoped to shine some light on a well-known local company continuing to do well in what was then the start of a recession.

So it’s only fair to take another look. DuPont yesterday reported a net loss of $629 million, or 70 cents per share, for its fourth quarter compared with net income of $545 million, or 60 cents a share, for the same quarter of 2007.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 2:30 AM

Venture capital firms are usually chasing the next big thing.

So when they invest less money in fewer companies as they did in 2008, that’s a signal something’s wrong in the business cycle.

The National Venture Capital Association said it was the first annual decline in total venture investment since 2003 - the year after the tech-stock bubble burst.

POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2009, 2:30 AM

If “hope” was the theme of last week with excitement over the inauguration of President Obama, we might be battling “despair” this week.

This being earnings season, companies are telling us how the credit crisis and recession wrecked their financial results for the last quarter of the year.

One example from last week was Philadelphia electronic components maker Technitrol Inc. On Thursday after the stock market had closed, it reported a loss and a revenue decline of 17 percent. Its shares dropped 22 percent the next day to close at $2.19, down 63 cents. Markets are in no mood to be merciful.

POSTED: Friday, January 23, 2009, 6:57 PM

The initial public offering market may be a dog, but one IPO currently pending could be considered a turkey.

Changing World Technologies Inc. uses turkey-processing waste to make renewable diesel fuel oil. Since 1999, the West Hempstead, N.Y., company has done research at the Naval Business Center in South Philadelphia, where it employs seven people.

At a time when few firms are going public, Changing World is seeking to sell 2.75 million shares at between $11 and $15 each. If the shares were to go out at $13, the company would raise $32.75 million, according to an amended prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Jan. 20.

POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Investing, Markets

This should surprise no one: Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel thinks it’s a great time to buy stocks.

Siegel takes the very long view. It was his research that divined how much $1 invested in various asset classes in 1802 would be worth now. On Tuesday before a class of Wharton students, he presented his latest calculations.

It may seem improbable to invest $1 in a diversified portfolio of stocks. But if you had, it would have been worth $480,873 on Dec. 31. Stashed in government bonds or Treasury bills, that same dollar would have grown only to $1,575 or $306, respectively. And gold? Only $2.59 after inflation. (The value of the dollar itself has dropped to six cents.)

POSTED: Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 11:45 AM

"Wow" was what I think I said when I heard that Cephalon Inc. was paying $100 million for option to buy Malvern's Ception Therapeutics Inc.

We write about deals between Big Pharma (Cephalon might Medium Big Pharma) and small biotechs all the time. But those huge headline numbers often involve a small amount of upfront cash.

That Cephalon is willing shell out so much just for the chance to buy a start-up that's less than five years old is amazing. Consider that if it exercises that option, it would pay $250 million more to actually acquire this company that now has 29 employees.

POSTED: Thursday, January 1, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Investing, Markets

Local stocks were not spared the carnage that made 2008 the worst year for the Dow Jones industrial average since 1931.

Of the 200 stocks in the Inquirer/Bloomberg Philadelphia Index, 176 finished 2008 lower than they started. The worst was Penn Treaty American Corp. with a decline of 99 percent. The Allentown long-term-care insurer was forced to stop writing policies in October because of financial difficulties.

The best local stock was ViroPharma Inc. which rose 64 percent. The small Exton company makes a drug called Vancocin that treats bacterial infection that has been on the rise in U.S. hospitals.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at

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