January 12, 1999 |
Sears, Roebuck & Co. (S) Jim: Here's a challenge, Mike: Can we discuss Sears without making some stupid play on words with its "softer side" slogan? I mean, if I see one more newspaper or magazine snicker about "the softer side" of Sears being its profit, or its fuzzy strategy, or its . . . . Mike: Don't worry, I'm happy to break the mold. But I have to tell you, I've always had a problem with Sears both as a company and a stock.
January 23, 2001 |
SBC Communications (SBC) Jim: Don't buy Mike: Don't buy * Jim: SBC Communications isn't a household name in Southern California, Michael, but everyone's familiar with its main division here--an outfit called Pacific Bell. Mike: Yeah, in the same way that a company named Vivendi is a closed book to anyone outside France, but we all know its big California property--Universal Studios.
February 1, 2000 |
FedEx Corp. (FDX) Jim: This outfit started as Federal Express and then created a holding company called FDX, which was the parent of FedEx, and now it has just changed the parent's name back to FedEx. This name nonsense, to me Mike, points up an identity crisis that's part of what's ailing this company, wouldn't you say? Mike: Yes. If FedEx stopped worrying about its name and started doing better in the delivery game, it might be much further ahead. Jim: And we'll get to that.
December 7, 1999 |
Excite@Home (ATHM) Jim: This outfit was originally known as @Home, until it bought Internet portal site Excite not long ago. And now, Mike, Excite @Home is somewhat of an interesting animal out there in the Internet world. Mike: Yes, it's a camel. And thanks for that straight line. This is the quintessential company designed by a committee. Jim: Yikes! And I was going to be charitable and just call it a hybrid. Mike: First, though, let me make full disclosure.
August 15, 2000 |
Kmart (KM) * Jim: Don't buy Mike: Don't buy Jim: I'm getting tired of this story, Mike. Here's yet another big, lumbering retailer that's going nowhere. Kmart, just like Sears and J.C. Penney, is restructuring itself yet again to try to get its earnings and stock price back up. To which I say: Good luck. Mike: Stop whining, Jim. To me, Kmart today sort of defines the youth movement. For starters, it has a new, 40-year-old chief executive, one Charles Conaway.
October 26, 1999 |
Dayton Hudson (DH) Jim: Now here's what you'd call a department store conglomerate, Mike. Dayton Hudson, with about $30 billion-plus in sales, has 1,200 stores in 44 states, but they serve all range of pocketbooks. Mike: Right. Dayton Hudson is everything from soup to nuts. Or to put it another way, everything from consomme to lobster bisque. Jim: The lobster bisque being Marshall Field's, which is mainly in the Midwest and East, along with Dayton's.
October 31, 2000 |
AT&T (T) Jim: Buy Mike: Don't buy * Mike: We're looking only at AT&T today, Jim. We've reviewed it before, but now it's very much in the news again and in the hearts and minds of investors everywhere. Jim: And what a perfect stock for Halloween, Mike, because this one is a nightmare. Mike: First, I want to take credit for one of the world's greatest "to be sures," which as you know is a term of art in our business.
September 12, 2000 |
Qualcomm (QCOM) Jim: Buy Mike: Buy * Mike: The stock of this San Diego-based telecommunications company rose so far so fast last year, Jim, that it seems BMWs and Jaguars were sprouting on the streets of San Diego like dandelions on a sump. Jim: Qualcomm's stock performance was even eclipsing Broadcom's, which tells you something.
November 18, 2013 |
United Airlines has long been the drunk uncle of American carriers -- tolerated at the table when there's no alternative, avoided whenever possible. In the latest airline quality rating survey released in April by researchers at Purdue, United came in worst , marked down for on-time takeoffs, baggage handling and other consumer complaints. Only three weeks ago, federal regulators slapped the airline with their largest fine ever-- $1.1 million for leaving passengers on 13 flights stranded on the tarmac last summer during thunderstorms in Chicago.
March 31, 2014 |
My Sunday column comparing private philanthropy and government social programs has revived the old debate over who is more charitably inclined, conservatives or liberals? Skipping to the last page of the story first, the answer is neither: As two MIT political scientists determined in a 2013 paper , the inclination to give appears to have virtually no relationship to one's partisan or ideological views. There are distinctions, however, in the kind of giving between the two poles. First, some context.