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Overall executive compensation is down 1%, but the DISH move is either refreshing or disturbing depending on your perspective
A Wall Street Journal analysis released today shows that executive compensation at top companies was down almost 1% in 2009. That’s after a 3.4% drop for CEO pay in 2008 as the recession took its toll and political outcry made big bonuses unpopular.
It’s natural to see companies cutting back in leaner times -- even a bit refreshing to see that those on the top of the heap are sharing the pain of the little guys who have had salary freezes or furlough days. But what does it say about a company when it slashes CEO pay by over 90% -- even as share prices have doubled in the last year?
That’s exactly what happened at Dish Network (DISH), where founder and CEO Charles Ergen suffered the harshest drop in pay across the entire WSJ survey -- a drop of 92.5% to $623,100 a year in total compensation.
Apple's stock continues to trade high, and the company's got bank. So what's the next big product? Here's our wish list.
By Robert Holmes, TheStreet
Apple (AAPL) is readying its iPad for store shelves this weekend and a rumored iPhone refresh is in the pipeline, but investors -- now enjoying near-record highs in the stock -- should be looking for the company's next big idea.
Apple's shares jumped earlier this week on a report that the company will update its iPhone product line with a faster, slimmer design that will run on CDMA wireless networks, which could potentially make the iPhone available to Verizon (VZ) customers. Plus, on Saturday, the much-hyped iPad device will go on sale at Apple retail stores and Best Buy (BBY).
A new survey shows a high number of BlackBerry users eyeing rival phones.
Online research firm Crowd Science says that BlackBerry users are more likely to find a new phone than users of the iPhone or the Android operating system, according to MarketWatch.
Nearly 40% of BlackBerry owners said they "definitely or probably" would switch to an iPhone, according to the study from Crowd Science. Another third said they would switch to an Android phone by Google.
Bank of America shares climb back above $18 for the first time in five months, and Wall Street remains bullish about their prospects.
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, TheStreet
With Bank of America's (BAC) shares rising steadily since mid-February, investors are wondering whether they'll reverse course as they did a few months ago or keep climbing, as analysts predict.
The stock has traded between $14.25 and $18.35 since Feb. 9. It broke through the $18 barrier on March 25 for the first time in more than five months, and has remained at that level for the past few days on relatively light volume.
Bank of America is up about 18% this year as financial stocks have outpaced the broad market, with the KBW Bank Index ($BKX) advancing 21.5% versus gains of roughly 4% and 5% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) and S&P 500 ($INX), respectively, through Wednesday.
Apple's iPad tablet, which goes on sale Saturday, gets a nice round of applause from critics.
Arguably the most influential tech reviewer out there is Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal. Mossberg is already a big fan of Apple's -- to the point where the company quotes him often during presentations and sales pitches.
So maybe it's no surprise that he loves the iPad. "After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop," he writes.
Survey shows Google's smart phone system challenging the iPhone, making RIM an afterthought.
Google (GOOG) and its Android operating system are now the next big thing for smart phones, taking the spotlight from Apple (AAPL) and its iconic iPhone. And with these two smart phones as the leaders, future demand for Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry devices is drying up.
Nearly twice as many consumers were using Android-based phones compared with three months ago, according to a survey of 4,000 consumers in March by ChangeWave Research (an InvestorPlace company).
Granted, these users still make up less than 10% of the market and are far behind the iPhone’s 32% share of the market or the BlackBerry’s industry-leading 37%, but the growth rate is very impressive.
Directors, theater owners join MPAA in asking government regulators to slow down before approving new exchanges.
The forces continue to mount against Cantor Fitzgerald's attempt to create an online futures trading system based on movie box-office performance.
On Wednesday, the Directors Guild of America and the National Association of Theater Owners were among a number of Hollywood organizations and guilds to join the Motion Picture Association of America in its attempt to at least slow down regulatory approval for the new Cantor Exchange trading market, as well as another movie-futures trading system being established by Media Derivatives.
The group sent a letter to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, asking it to delay a April 2 meeting at which it’s expected the regulatory body will determine whether Media Derivatives can go forward with movie futures trading for institutional investors.
Some observers worry the company has lost its edge in advertising, growth and market-share gain.
Google (GOOG) hasn't had the best run of it lately.
The search giant is stuck in a nasty squabble with China. On top of that, Bloomberg reports, growth is slowing, regulators are growing ever more vigilant, and times are changing for advertisers (its main cash cow).
- Video: Google vs. China
And Facebook has jumped out in front to become the most popular U.S. Web site. And so investors worry that Google, no longer the tech hotshot, is becoming more and more like Microsoft (MSFT), which has not innovated well into new markets.
The president's easing stance on oil exploration is a good sign for Transocean.
Shares of Transocean (RIG) were up more than 3% Wednesday on news that President Barack Obama has proposed permitting exploration in the Atlantic Ocean from Delaware to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico 125 miles off the west coast of Florida if Congress lifts its moratorium on drilling in the area.
Very little is expected to happen very quickly. An area 50 miles off the coast of Virginia would be opened up for immediate exploration. Further south, areas would be opened for study with a decision on drilling pushed off into 2013.
And all this is just a proposal by the Obama administration anyway. But even if this is all just words now, they're important words.
Two potential buyers are still in it: The Weinstein Company and Tom Gores' Platinum Equity
The bidding deadline for Miramax, the indie division of the Walt Disney Co., was just pushed back again, from Thursday, April 1, to Monday, April 5.
The last two bidders standing, The Weinstein Company, and Tom Gores' Platinum Equity, have been pulling all-nighters, bombarding Disney with questions and pushing their financial analysts to justify the highest possible valuation.
Thus far they've not been able to justify anything near Disney's desired $700 million figure.
The company gave away $5 million in free breakfasts two months ago, and is now stretching profits thin with $2-$8 offerings.
In an effort to connect even more with cost-conscious consumers, Denny’s (DENN) is jumping on the value-menu bandwagon with its new “$2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu.” The 16 items range from a-la-carte breakfast items like a $2 endless stack of pancakes to an $8 feast of Spicy Cowboy Chopped Steak, two sides, dinner bread and a drink.
What’s more, Denny’s is offering a number of all-you-can-eat meals on its new value menu -- a clear shot at some casual dining deals like Darden Restaurant's (DRI) endless salad and breadsticks offer at its Olive Garden chains, or Ruby Tuesday’s (RT) all-you-can-eat salad bar. That positions Denny's in a sweet spot as the cheapest casual dining option and a higher-quality restaurant for families with only a few bucks to spend.
- Video: Denny's enters burger wars
But there’s a real risk here for the company as it takes the regional testing of this value menu to the national scale. The fact is that restaurant owners everywhere are feeling the sting of slower consumer spending, and that the corporate office may risk a mutiny among franchisees by flattening out already razor-thin profit margins.
Take a look at your cable bill. It has certainly changed.
I wanted a large, more stable company for my portfolio so I used Barchart to screen stocks in the S&P 500 index with the highest relative strength. Time Warner Cable (TWC) was near the top of the list.
It has been a long time since I looked at cable TV companies and thought of them as just a simple utility company where you take the number of subscribers times the monthly rate and there you have revenue. Things have changed.
President Obama is looking to expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Good news for oil drillers.
President Obama announced plans to increase drilling in the Gulf of Mexico further denting arguments that the President is a left wing Socialist with designs of government take-over of the economy.
This administration is proving to be dead center and if anything is leaning to the right.
Now it is time for the oil companies to step up to the feed trough.
The nation's books may not look as bad at first, but that's because nationalized banks and toxic mortgages are seen as 'assets.'
While Greece is in the spotlight as sovereign debt woes threaten to cripple the nation’s public sector, Ireland’s balance sheet has quietly been getting worse -- and now its financial problems are so bad it could have the dubious honor of beating Greece to bankruptcy.
That’s because a very pricey government bank bailout is adding to the ballooning deficit of this nation. Some experts see Ireland's debt-to-GDP ratio topping 10% in 2010 and to 80% by 2012 without intervention!
- Video: Investing in Ireland
Ireland is already $95 billion in debt for 2010, and on top of that, it’s essentially nationalizing its banking sector for tens of billions of dollars more. But because it’s buying assets -- albeit “toxic assets” with very little real value -- those expenses aren’t on the balance sheet as sovereign debt. Quite a trick of math!
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn cuts his stake in the struggling video chain by two-thirds.
By Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is losing his faith in Blockbuster (BBI).
Icahn shed more than 13 million Class A shares, reducing his ownership to 5.1% as of March 29, according to a Securities and Exchange filing. In January, Icahn was one of the biggest investors in the movie rental chain, with a 16.9% stake. Icahn also reduced his stake in Class B shares.
Blockbuster has been on a slow decline, warning in March that it may have to file for bankruptcy if cash levels remain weak. It currently has about $1 billion in debt.
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All hail the bull market, which ended the week with a big rally. But it also is starting to look a little like 1987, which suffered an epic blow-out.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 ended this week with a bang, roaring to a new all-time high on the back of stronger-than-expected economic data, influential leadership, and an ongoing appreciation for the Fed's monetary policy support.
The bullish bias was evident in premarket action as the S&P futures pointed to a higher start without the benefit of any definitive news catalyst. Stocks indeed benefited from a blast of buying interest at the opening bell on this ... More
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