Here are some media records for your additional reading subject to the problems of stock exchange. Hope they will help you within our studies and your future career.



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Here are some media records for your additional reading subject to the problems of stock exchange. Hope they will help you within our studies and your future career.



 

SOME COMPANIES STOP TELLING WHAT EXPECT TO EARN

Many companies provide earnings guidance. They tell their shareholders how much they expect to earn in the future. Often companies report expected earnings for each three-month period. Earnings are usually measured in terms of earnings-per-share. That is, the amount of earnings divided by the number of shares in a company. Companies usually have millions, even thousands of millions, of shares. So even earnings-per-share of one cent can add up to a lot of money. But not everyone supports the idea of earnings guidance. First of all, some say the pressure to report earnings growth can lead to dishonest reporting.

One example they point to is the case of the failed energy-trading company Enron. Its two former leaders, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, are currently on trial in Houston, Texas. They are charged with letting company officers make false business deals to give the appearance of earnings growth. They deny any wrongdoing. Companies are under pressure to report growth. It can increase the price of their shares. Stock prices largely show how much investors are willing to pay for growth over time. But another reason many experts dismiss quarterly earnings guidance is that companies are often wrong.

In fact, most official statements from companies include a warning that it might be a “forward-looking statement.” In other words, a statement about the future. It means the company should not be held responsible if the statement is wrong because something unexpected happens. At the end of two thousand two, the Coca-Cola Company announced a decision to stop giving quarterly or even yearly earnings guidance. The investor Warren Buffet is believed to have influenced that decision. Since then, a number of large companies have moved away at least from quarterly guidance. They include AT&T, McDonald’s, Ford and Motorola.

Some experts see no reason to stop. They say the pressure for growth will remain because stock market analysts will continue to estimate earnings for large companies. They say investors would have less information about smaller ones. Critics say earnings guidance supports short-term business thinking. But others say ending it could give the appearance that a company is trying to hide bad news.

 

STOCKS PROPOSED DEAL AIMS TO READY N.Y.S.E.

FOR ELECTRONIC FUTURE

In an age of electronic trading, most activity on the world's biggest stock market still takes place on a noisy trading floor. The New York Stock Exchange uses a system of traders called specialists to bring together buyers and sellers. The exchange has used this system for over two centuries. John Thain is the chief executive officer. He says the exchange must do more to compete in what he calls a "high-speed electronically connected world." Last week Mister Thain announced an agreement to combine the New York Exchange with Archipelago Holdings. Archipelago was one of the first companies to create an electronic trading system. Today, Archipelago carries out one-fourth of the trades on the NASDAQ, the second largest stock exchange in the United States.

Under the proposed deal, the New York Stock Exchange would use two systems: one based on people, the other on computers. Archipelago shareholders would own thirty percent of a combined company called the N.Y.S.E. Group. The N.Y.S.E. Group would be a publicly traded company. Currently, the New York Stock Exchange operates as a non-profit corporation.

Members of the exchange would own seventy percent of the new company. Members are individuals or companies that own seats on the exchange. The deal requires approval by these members and by shareholders in Archipelago. The Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington must also agree.

Not everyone likes the proposal. Investor Kenneth Langone served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange. He has criticized the continued use of specialists. But he says the plan does not provide enough value for exchange members. Mister Langone has organized a group to consider moves such as a competing offer. Only a few years ago, the current trading system seemed unlikely to change. At that time, Richard Grasso headed the exchange. He supported the use of specialists. But Mister Grasso was forced out of his job in September of two thousand three in a dispute over his pay. His replacement, John Thain, came to the Big Board from the Goldman Sachs Group. That investment bank has been advising both the exchange and Archipelago in their merger negotiations. Goldman is also a member of the exchange and a shareholder in Archipelago.

 

WHAT’S UP IN THE BOND MARKET?

 

Bonds have been in the news a lot in the last few weeks. Yields on the ten-year United States Treasury note jumped to their highest level in five years, before easing. Bonds are debt owed by a government or a company. The holder of a bond is paid interest until the date when the bond matures. Then the amount of the bond, its face value, is paid back. Investors can buy a new bond and keep it until it matures. Or they can buy and sell existing bonds. The return on a bond is called the yield. Yields and prices of existing bonds can change as investors trade them.

Yields fall when investors seek the security of bonds and are willing to pay higher prices. Yields increase as prices fall.

This month, yields on the ten-year Treasury note rose above five percent for the first time in close to a year. Higher yields raise the cost for individuals and businesses to borrow money at interest rates that are tied to the ten-year note. Rising yields can also hurt stock prices. When yields rise, investors often sell stocks in order to buy bonds. If investors can get high yields holding low-risk bonds, or simply keeping money in the bank, they will do it. Yet holding bonds can also have risks as values for new and existing bonds change in the market.

Bond prices can also drop on signs of inflation. But inflation does not seem to be a threat with the current softness in the American housing market. New housing starts fell more than two percent in May. Most experts believe the United States central bank will keep interest rates unchanged when policy makers meet next week. But many investors are concerned about pressure for higher interest rates in Europe and Asia.

Another influence on the bond market is the willingness of foreign countries to buy United States government debt. In Asia there have been signs that some countries that hold a lot of low-yield debt want greater returns on their investments. China, for example, recently announced it will invest three billion dollars in the Blackstone Group, the private-equity company in New York.

For much of the last year, bond yields have been inverted. Short-term debt returned higher rates than long-term debt. In the past, an inverted yield curve was thought to signal a possible recession. Now things are back to what is considered "normal" with long-term debt paying higher yields.

 

BACKDATED STOCK OPTIONS:

HOW DEAL FOR APPLE CHIEF TURNED SOUR

Apple Computer had a big week. Steve Jobs, the chief executive officer, announced the company would now just be called Apple. And, at its MacWorld conference, he also presented the iPhone. It combines a wireless phone, music and video player, and Internet communications device in one handheld product.

The next day, Cisco Systems brought a civil case. That company owns trademark rights to the name iPhone. Apple was negotiating for permission to use it. Apple called the legal action "silly." It said there were already several companies using that name.

Recently, Apple has had to deal with another issue: backdated stock options. A stock option is an agreement to trade a stock by a set date. Companies use options as a form of pay, often for their top people.

Imagine you work for the XYZ Company. You are given an option to buy one hundred shares of its stock at the current price, ten dollars a share; the option is good for one year. A year later, XYZ stock has risen to twenty dollars. You use the option to buy the shares at ten dollars. Now you can sell them for twenty - for a profit of one thousand dollars. But what if the company backdated the option? Remember, XYZ stock was ten dollars when the option was created. But a month earlier, it was six dollars. Using that point as the starting date means more profit. Instead of buying at ten dollars, you can buy at six and sell at twenty.

In August of two thousand one, the Apple board of directors approved more than seven million shares in stock options for Steve Jobs. The options were created that December, but with an October date. That added twenty million dollars to their value, because the stock price was three dollars less. Steve Jobs never exercised the options; he received five million shares instead. But Apple had to restate its earnings to correct its options accounting. Last month the company restated its financial results for four years. Apple reduced its results by eighty-four million dollars.

In general, backdating options is not illegal but companies can get in trouble if they violate financial reporting rules. Options are taxed differently from normal pay. They can reduce taxes for companies and individuals. Since two thousand two, backdating has been more difficult under the Sarbanes-Oxley law. Last fall, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said more than one hundred companies were under investigation.

 

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME STANDARD AND POOR’S

Recently, a listener from China asked why the financial company Standard and Poor’s has a name that includes the word “poor.” In Chinese culture, businesses have names that suggest success and wealth. In Western countries, however, businesses often carry the names of the people who started them. And that is partly the case with Standard and Poor’s. It was formed when two companies joined together. One was Poor’s Publishing Company. Henry Varnum Poor started the company in the eighteen sixties. He published a number of books on railroads, money and business. He also published financial information about companies for investors.

In nineteen-oh-six, the Standard Statistics Bureau was formed to provide financial information about American companies. It recorded numerical information, or statistics, about businesses. In nineteen sixteen, the Standard Statistics Bureau started offering credit ratings for companies. Ratings are designed to give investors an idea of how likely it is that a business will pay its debts. Soon after, the company offered credit ratings for nations. It later offered the same service for local governments. Poor’s Publishing Company joined with the Standard Statistics Bureau in nineteen forty-one to form Standard and Poor’s. In nineteen sixty-six, the publishing company McGraw-Hill bought Standard and Poor’s. Since then, it has grown as an important provider of information on credit and business statistics.

Standard and Poor’s also developed an important measure of the stock market. The S and P Five Hundred Index is a list of five hundred companies. The price of ownership shares of these companies is combined with other information. Mathematic operations are used to create a single number that shows if all stocks on the list have gained or lost value.

Standard and Poor’s says the S and P Five Hundred Index is the best, single measure of the United States stock market. Only American companies are on it. They must be financially strong and have a total stock value of more than four thousand million dollars. The companies are also chosen to represent the importance of industries to the economy.

Standard and Poor’s remains one of the world’s two leading credit rating agencies. The other is Moody’s.

 

PROTECTING AN INVESTMENT WITH STOCK OPTIONS

Stock options are a way to profit from changes in the price of a stock without the need to buy the shares immediately. Stock options are agreements to trade shares of a stock at a set price by a set date. An option comes with a strike price. This is the agreed price at which the stock will be traded. Options also have an expiration date. After that date the agreement is cancelled.

An option holder buys a contract. It can be a contract to purchase or a contract to sell shares of a stock in the future. Option holders commonly buy contracts to protect the value of a stock investment. Say an investor has recently bought stock at ten dollars a share. The investor worries that the price will drop in the next three months.

To protect that investment, the investor can buy an option to sell the shares at ten dollars each. That way, if the stock price drops to five dollars, the investor can exercise the option and sell the shares at ten dollars. The investor loses only the cost of the option contract. But the option has served as insurance against a loss. What would have happened had the price of the stock gone up? Say it jumps to fifteen dollars. The option gives the holder the right to sell at ten, but now that is below the market price. In this case the investor would not exercise the option. The contract expires and becomes worthless. But who cares? The stock is now worth fifty percent more than what it was.

Some investors buy options because they think a stock price will rise. An option to buy a stock at today’s price could be valuable if the price goes up before the option expires.

So far we have heard about option holders. Option writers are the ones who sell the contracts on exchanges. The price paid is called a premium. It usually represents the difference between the strike price and the market price of the stock. Options trading is organized by a clearinghouse. A clearinghouse settles trades between holders and writers and credits profits or losses. The biggest clearinghouse is the Options Clearing Corporation in the United States.

For years, companies have used stock options as a form of pay. At first, only top officers in companies got them. The value of a stock option rises or falls with the price of a company stock. So this gave the people at the top a strong reason to do their jobs well.

During the nineteen nineties, technology companies started to offer stock options to skilled workers. Many of these businesses were newly formed Internet companies. Soon stock options became a common form of pay in American businesses. Since options are linked to stock market prices, estimating their value can be difficult. Most companies did not report them as an expense, a cost of doing business. As a result, shareholders were not getting a true picture of a company's financial condition.

New rules from the Financial Accounting Standards Board are meant to change that. The board is a private organization that establishes how financial reports should be prepared. Its work is officially recognized by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The new rules start with the two thousand six financial year. Companies publicly traded in the United States must now treat options as an expense against earnings. Some already do. A company can deal with employee stock options in two ways. It can trade its own stock when an employee exercises an option. Or it can create additional stock. But more stock weakens the value of a company’s shares. In other words, either the company pays for the options or its shareholders pay. Since last year, company purchases of stock to pay for options have increased sharply.

Standard & Poor's said in November that the new rules will cut earnings by more than four percent at companies on the S&P Five Hundred list. The financial rating agency says the information technology industry will see its earnings reduced the most, eighteen percent.

In its last three-month period, expensed options cut fifteen percent from the earnings at Intel, the leading maker of computer processors. Standard & Poor's says some companies will have to report a loss as a result of the new rules.

 

 

FIRST TRANS-ATLANTIC STOCK MARKET AIMS

FOR ERLY '07 LAUNCH

The NYSE Group and Euronext hope to create the world's largest financial exchange group by the end of March. Their shareholders voted last month to approve a plan to combine the two exchange operators. The proposed fourteen billion dollar deal will create the first trans-Atlantic stock exchange. American and European government officials must still approve the merger plan. The new group, to be called NYSE Euronext, will have a combined market value of about twenty-seven billion dollars. The deal has been developing since June. The New York Stock Exchange is the world's biggest stock market. Euronext is Europe's leading international exchange. It operates the stock markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris. Germany's Deutsche Borse withdrew its own offer for Euronext in November.

Financial markets have grown increasingly international and competitive. The planned merger of Euronext and the NYSE Group is a good example of this new climate. Euronext is itself the product of mergers. The Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris exchanges joined in two thousand to create Euronext. It was first traded publicly in two thousand one, and has since added other exchanges in Lisbon and London. In the past, stock markets were organized unlike the companies they listed. Now many financial markets operate as publicly traded businesses. That means they must answer to their own shareholders.

The New York Stock Exchange was a nonprofit organization that was largely self-supervising. Then, last March, the NYSE Group was formed as a publicly traded company. That happened when the Big Board combined with the electronic trading exchange Archipelago Holdings. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange became the first publicly traded exchange in the United States at the end of two thousand two. Some markets have sought to buy or link with other exchanges. These deals have created bigger markets, often selling highly complex financial products. Bigger markets offer more liquidity - investors have a greater chance of selling quickly if needed.

NYSE Euronext will trade not only stocks but options, futures, bonds and more. Total value of the listed companies? About twenty-six trillion dollars. The stock prices of the NYSE Group and Euronext both doubled last year. This has other big exchanges considering deals of their own.

(Based on:VOA radio broadcasts)

 

APPENDIX IX

MARKETING

Here are some additional reading materials subject to social foundations of marketing containing the marketing Key Terms. Hope they will help you within our studies and your future successful career in marketing business.



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