Fortune Magazine
Captain's Blog

Captain's Blog, stardate 6/18/07

Great visits with Hank Paulson and others, a clue to the recent rally and really great gelato from Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer.

By Andy Serwer, Fortune managing editor

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- SIGN THE GUEST BOOK: Had some great visits last week. First, sorry to have missed Kiril Sokoloff, a man who knows markets and the Dalai Lama, who came by to speak with some folks at Fortune early last week. Thanks Kiril.... Then we were thrilled to have Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson drop by. Hammerin' Hank, was as you might expect, upbeat, yet cautious. Think about the spot he's in. You have to be thrilled with the economy and all, but just terrified knowing that it's going to end somehow, and not knowing how.... Dined with Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, at the Four Seasons. They've taken their sweet (suite!) time building that company and it looks like it's beginning to pay off. Saw Sandy Weill there, and said hello to Ralph Schlosstein, prez of BlackRock and Paul Fribourg of ContiGroup. Ralph expressed amazement that I was picking up the tab. (Nice one Ralph!) Also saw Steve Rattner, whose Quadrangle is the new owner of Dennis (Maxim) Publishing....

Jim Kilts, the former CEO of Gillette, came by our offices to talk up his new book, "Doing What Matters." (Why the WHAT is underlined on the cover I have no idea...) Jim fixed up Gillette and then sold it to P&G (Charts, Fortune 500), making him not a very popular guy in Beantown. Got a nice payday out of it too, as the Boston Globe's Steve Bailey will remind you. Kilts says when he got there Gillette was trade-loading big time. He stopped it. He also says that many companies get themselves into these "Circles of Doom." Sounds scary, no?...

Next up had drinks with Arianna Huffington (darling!), and Francis Wilkinson, blog editor of the Huffington Post. Lady A, is a trip is she not? Got to give her credit. They laughed when she sat down at the piano and began to play in this space, but she has bootstrapped the HP by virtue of her name and chutzpa. She aggregated intellectuals, celebrities, and journos, and using the power of the network (blah blah blah), created herself a real Web biz. It doesn't hurt that Lady A can dish on just about anybody. And that includes you!

MARKETS: Looking at stocks recently I'm reminded of former Prez Reagan, as in "Well. There you go again." I really think you can make an argument that we have it just about right in the United States in terms of the economy right now, but of course as I said to Hammerin' Hank, that only lasts so long.... Deep Blue asks if anyone is going to Paris air show. "Should be a blowout with the glory days defense firms having, but can you ever trust the commercial airlines to make $$ again?...

A lot of polarizing views on SBUX (Charts, Fortune 500) these days. Be an interesting 2Q for them." As for the recent rally, Blue thinks he has a clue (get it, Blue's clues). "'Cause everyone got their income tax $$ back in April and May" And they're spending it. "It'll make a good exit point for me soon." You are cold Blue. Cold!...

What's hot? How about Nvidia (Charts)? (Damn, that name needs another vowel.) They make a bunch of different kind of processors, some of which - particularly those for graphics - are very hot right. Stock was up over 4.5 percent on Friday, close to an all-time high of $39 and change, and up from a low of like $4 in 2002. Shoulda backed up the truck on that one. Jim Cramer likes the stock (okay, I'll say it: "boo-yah").

NEW ISSUE OF FORTUNE: It's our Retire Rich issue. Sigh! For church mice like us, this is eye candy. And, info and news to profit from. I love the picture of $5 million in cash. It actually took a great deal of work by photo editors Greg (the chief) Pond and Scott Thode to get the cash to, uh, pose for us. Hard to get banks to just lay it all out there. I also dig R. Klein's stock (guitar) picks. They look great. I love our 40 stock picks... our portfolio stacks up pretty well versus the averages. Also a great piece by Bethany McLean and Jon Birger on Jean-Marie Eveillard is terrific too. Enjoy.

Loose Change

Have you checked out Burger King (Charts) lately? It's doubled off its low of last summer. That company had upside I always thought.... Only one thing left for Mike Nifong to do now, right? That's right. Become a man of God!... As for the NBA, the old saw is true: you can't win with one star... R Leg asks: "Is it true that Rupert plans to call it the Fox Jones?...

How about the ending to the Sopranos? It was so abrupt that my buddy, Sir Douglas, called his cable operator, RCN, and asked 'em if there was some sort of outage. Nope, that's just the way the show ended, but RCN said they got a bunch of other calls asking the same question.... Here's a question for you - Do you have a lot of Moxie? (tee hee.)...

Okay, call me a sucker... but I did it. I waited in line for pretty much a half hour for gelato this Saturday night in Manhattan. The place is called Grom (spelled backwards is Morg - in other words, who knows). One thing I can you, amazingly, is that I was not disappointed. The gelato was out of this world. Best I've ever had. To Ben & Jerry's what Ben & Jerry's is to Breyers. Two things, 1) run don't walk to this joint (and bring a book for the line, and 2) when it goes public, mortgage the farm....

E-mail me at aserwer@fortunemail.com Top of page

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.