Captain's Blog, stardate 6/4/07
Is the end near for market highs? Plus, Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer asks whether new bidders will emerge for Dow Jones.
New York (Fortune) -- MARKETS AND NOTES: Okay the end is nigh. (Has to be right?) Here's the AP headline after Friday's close: "Dow, S&P 500 Hit Record Highs Again." (Sort of like "God Bless America Again." Remember that?) S&P is now up nearly 10% YTD, that's more than the NAZ. Well, like they kept telling you: Big stocks have lagged. Markets down a bit this morning -- not surprising.... Other notes: Did you see that Irwin Jacobs (isn't that Irv the Liquidator) sued Julie Roehm? Man that is a story.... Wonder if other bidders besides Murdoch will emerge for Dow Jones? The market thinks so, DJ climbed to $61 and change on Friday, over Murdoch's bid price. I think it will be tough to beat Murdoch here. Obviously he has all kinds of ammo, and no one wants this asset more than he does.... Mark Hurd came by for a visit the other day. He seemed upbeat, yet - as is his demeanor - was hardly in bragging mode about HP's newfound strength. I like that. Try to bust out as hard as you can, and if you succeed have a little humility, for Pete's sake.... Hope you like the new issue of FORTUNE: Carl Icahn, the inside story of the Wii, a new scandal at HP, and the bead on what's going to be one of the hottest IPOs of the year! All this and more! So go to the store! And buy a copy of FORTUNE and a Fresca. They go well together. (Don't forget the Grey Goose too....)
GOV. HALEY BARBOUR: Came by the other day. The man has a good story to tell. Mississippi is really on the mend, and he came out looking pretty good after Katrina. State, which of course still has all kinds of problems, is growing like a weed since the storm. The Gov. says that citizens have bootstrapped MISS back to health and that companies have taken note, which is why Toyota is building a big new plant for its Highlander near Tupelo. (Or 'Too Below' as Nina Munk once called it. (Hey, give her a break, she's Canadian!)) Other big-time businesses coming too. The Gov. is old school and as usual is quick on his feet. Some say he'll be the GOP veep in 2008. But for whom? There is a vacuum right now in terms of potential GOP nominees, he says. Hmmm, playing his cards close to the vest, the gov. is....
WACHOVIA: Did you see they picked up A.G. Edwards the other day? CEO Ken Thompson and some of his people (like Steve Cummings) came by the other day, and you know they have a pretty good story to tell. Bank's been growin' nicely as of late, and they get high marks for service. So why's the stock been a laggard (up single digits over the past 24 months while the S&P has climbed more than 25%), and why does the WB (that's its ticker) have a P/E of 11 or so? Well, because 1) the market is still unsure of the bank's huge recent acquisition of Golden West, and 2) the market is concerned that the bank will make other big deals and that Wach might overpay. Ken T. told me he thinks his stock is undervalued, and that may be true for all the big banks. The top five or so of us trade at discounts, Thompson said, because the market thinks we're buyers and is concerned about that. While banks below that are much less undervalued because they may be targets. As for AG Ed, they become much bigger in brokerage, where they already were way strong. (It all started with Wheat First out of Richmond...) And I dig the blue/green logo...
LOOSE CHANGE: Didn't get a chance to thank all you coolio folks at the Wisemen for that great dinner the other night. I had a blast and I hope you enjoyed my lil' talk.... Thanks to Debbie Farrington, Laura Sachar, and Jeanne Sullivan of happenin' VC firm Starvest for coming by the other day. Yes, that business is heating up, and you all got it going on, that's for sure.... So, I went to my older daughter's middle-school concert, (death by music). Loved the band doing "Ironman." But the best was hearing the percussion group doing "Clocks," by Coldplay. Just lovely.... (You know what they say, when the going gets weird the weirder get weirder).... Okay LeBron, I guess you do want it!!!... Had a couple of conversations about autism movies, of all things, the other day: "Finding the Words," by Horn Productions. And there's also "Autism the Musical," produced by Janet Grillo (wife of director David O. Russell, and whose son went to my daughter's pre-k), and Kristen Stills (wife of Stephen Stills) and others. What I learned is that autism is becoming increasingly and alarmingly common in our country, no one knows exactly why. But also there is hope for helping these kids. Ex-NBC honcho Bob Wright is working tirelessly here. Hedge-fund biggie Jim Simons is also active.... So what's your favorite kind of chocolate, milk or dark? (teehee)
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