Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tim Horton's (NYSE:THI) Manic Depressive Sugar Mania

Tim Horton’s (NYSE:THI) has a manic-depressive quality about it. Well established and loved in Canada, Tim’s has limited US exposure. Wendy’s could/should have rolled out the concept is electing to sell. Wendy’s understands the big US market and is going short. The market is going long on a major sugar high. Remember the food business is tricky with many busted dreams. Funds sourced by the IPO are being used to repay debt to Wendy’s. Watch for a series of very positive corporate noise machine announcements about menu and whatnot to keep the pump primed for further offerings.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Zales (NYSE:ZLC) leadership problems

Zales Corp (NYSE:ZLC) announced the sudden resignation of their COO. Ms Sue Gove also resigned from the Board. This is all very sudden with no replacement insight. All this after the sudden resignation of the CEO less than two months ago. If the board is unhappy than they should replace key officers. I wonder if there is a plan and why it cannot be announced. Losing the two top officials with no replacement announcement makes you wonder whose hand is on the steering wheel. Very hard to invest unless you know all the facts.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rambus (Nasdaq:RMBS) strange resignation

Rambus (Nasdaq:RMBS) experienced a strange resignation. Dr. Mark Pinto resigned from Rambus Board of directors with less than one-month service. A conflict of interest developed with his senior position at Applied Materials (Nasdaq:AMAT). You would think that corporate governance procedures and common sense should be able to stand up for at least a month. Both companies are at fault. The lesson is when you appoint a director from the industry ensure that he or she will be truly independent. Something happened and the big dog AMAT had to bark Dr Pinto home. How independent could he have been?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

US Senate to Hold Hearings on the Hedge Fund Industry

US Senate sub committee will hold hearings into the impact of the Hedge Funds onto the capital markets. Is this a political shake down to induce lobbying and campaign contributions or will there be some form of improvement within the capital markets. The hearings will probably only last for a few hours. Can the Hedge Fund impact be figured out that quickly?

Merge Technologies (Nasdaq:MRGE) hit by Securities Class Action

Merge Technologies (Nasdaq:MRGE) has been hit with a class action lawsuit by Wolf Haldenstein. Details available at The gist of the action is a long history of misrepresenting the financial condition of the company. Merge has recently had to delay issuing its financial results due to audit difficulties. The lawsuit maintains that many of the press releases were misleading.

Merrill Lynch Escapes from Oklahoma Class Action

Supreme Court stakes out Federal Control over Securities class actions. In an 8-0 decision Merrill Lynch was saved from an Oklahoma state legal action. While I probably agree with the justice that Oklahoma attempted I do not believe 50 state systems would have had a beneficial impact on securities regulation. Merrill Lynch courtesy of Skadden Arps et al skates away. Jay Kasner notches the supreme court ruling victory.

Google Finance Trojan Horse

Google Finance initial offering is under whelming in a Trojan horse manner. Yes much of the data sources and links are to existing offerings. In fact they rely on sources that many would consider their natural competitors. This may evoke images of two pugilists trying to mutually choke each other. One may die the other may suffer brain damage. In traditional business models competitors attack. Ford does not sell GM cars. Burger King will not offer you a Big Mac. The Google Finance offering is just the first round. Google will attempt to capture eyeballs. As new sources of data, analytics and other information develop they will sign exclusive deals. Perhaps even venture fund the little ideas. Then when ready they discontinue large dinosaurs and catapult new providers into stardom. Google and the others are not the secret to successful investing. Developing better understanding and being as smart as possible will eventually win the day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Weekend Follies March 18-19

Weekend Follies identified five culprits this weekend. As regular readers know Weekend Follies identifies companies that issue substantive news at oddball hours over the weekend. To some this indicates a need for additional caveat emptor. I have been tracking this stock group since last Labor Day and will shortly be issuing some interesting investment observations of the caveat emptor variety. This weekend we have two NYSE stocks Noble Corp (NE) and Deerfield Triarc (DFR); two Nasdaq Stocks Power Integration (PWRI) and Scailex Corp (SCIX) followed by one TSE listed company Western Forest (WEF)