Tag Archives: Barron’s
by Chris Roush
Joshua Brown of The Reformed Broker writes Thursday about Barron’s columnist Alan Abelson, who has died at the age of 87.
Brown writes, “He was one of the greatest market commentators, financial writers and teachers in the history of Wall Street. There will be many eulogies for and remembrances of Alan this weekend, I am sure of it. So I’ll send you to his editor Ed Finn’s notice at Barron’s Online, but before that, below is one example (of thousands) of Mr. Abelson’s simultaneously biting and incandescent wit.
“This particular quote is from a January 2009 column of his, during the heat of the financial crisis and the socioeconomic and cultural upheaval that had brought the Democrats back to power. Here’s Abelson’s take on George W. Bush’s farewell address:
“His message was straightforward, consistent and clear: Thanks to his vigilance, this nation was spared a terrorist attack after 9/11. And so it was, for which we are all profoundly grateful. And only the most vehement Bush-basher would sniff that the real reason for the absence of an attack was that Mr. Bush did such a thorough number on the country all by himself that the terrorists figured, why bother?”
“There was more truth in Abelson’s curmudgeonly satire than you’ll find in all the research and rantings produced by the Wall Street machine that he covered so skeptically and humorously. He said what he thought and taught us all to think critically, especially when it counted – in times of wild-eyed, dangerous overconfidence.
“Rest in Peace, Alan, and thanks for being an early influence on a whippersnapper like me. You can’t imagine how much I’ve learned from your writing over the last fifteen years.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Business journalism legend Alan Abelson, who worked for Barron’s for the past 57 years, has died.
Barron’s editor Ed Finn writes, “For many readers, there can be no substitute for Alan’s witty, wise and wonderfully written comments each week in Up and Down Wall Street. But Alan’s contributions to Barron’s, and to financial journalism, go beyond his marvelous column. During his career, Alan trained dozens of journalists to be skeptical, to be exacting, to help average investors, and to be on the lookout for Wall Street’s crooks. About 10 of these fine journalists still work at Barron’s, I’m happy to say. Others have gone on to do groundbreaking work at The New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and numerous financial newsletters.
“One of the unique things about Alan was that his keen knowledge of Wall Street was matched by his love of artful writing. Before Alan began his newspaper career in 1947, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Chemistry from The City College of New York and a master’s degree from the prestigious Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, which counts among its alumni Flannery O’Connor, Jane Smiley, and John Irving. In our view, Alan ranks among them.
“Alan arrived at Barron’s in 1956 and began writing his column in 1966.
“When Alan interviewed me for a job at Barron’s in 1993, he was 67. He had been Barron’s editor for a dozen years and its managing editor for 16 years before that. He told me he didn’t really want to manage people or edit stories anymore, but that he did enjoy writing his column. That’s when I came to Barron’s to manage and edit. Fortunately for me, for Barron’s and for our readers, Alan kept writing his column for the next 20 years, week in and week out, always with gracious prose, sharp insights and a hilarious sense of humor.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
The story reads, “The team has been in existence for under a year, but it’s already developed a few products that are soon to launch. One is a ‘digital vault’ designed to protect sensitive user-owned content and provide Dow Jones customers with a channel for sharing and discussing the content with one another. The vault will initially focus on the exchange of sensitive information between lawyers, accountants and tax advisers, among others.
“Another soon-to-debut product is built to encourage conversation between Wall Street Journal readers. This technology, which Levy describes as a hybrid between email and chatting, is meant to take engagement a step further than just commenting on a Journal article. ‘We have over 2 million people paying for the Journal. And these are highly educated, influential professionals who have a lot in common with one another,’ Levy explained. ‘Right now, we engage our readers, but we don’t necessarily encourage them to engage with one another in a long-lasting way that will build relationships and enable collaboration.’
“The products coming out of the R&D department are ultimately developed to prepare Dow Jones for an all-digital world, a key tenant of this innovation lab’s philosophy. ‘It’s my expectation that in a number of years, 100 percent of [Dow Jones] revenue will come from digital. People aren’t going to want to hold a newspaper,’ Levy said. ‘For as long as people want to hold a newspaper, we’ll give it to them, but sooner or later that will change. And by then, we’ll have a digital business model in place.’”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
John Kimelman of Barron’s has started a new column called “Read This, Spike That” that will provide critiques of other financial media’s investment advice.
Kimelman writes, “We’ve taken note of the growing number of mostly free financial Websites that are trying to do what Barron’s has done for decades: that is, they take firm stands on the direction of specific stocks and other investments. In addition to well-known financial sites such as CNBC.com, The Street, and Forbes.com, there are a variety of up and comers with catchy names like Seeking Alpha, Wall St. Cheat Sheet and Street Authority that offer up a daily digest of stock opinions.
“Written by a combination of journalists, full- and part-time professional investors and analysts, and home-based hobbyists, the work is often well-reasoned and worth reading. But some generates more heat than light and is best avoided. Still worse, some articles have the taint of stock manipulation.
“Such an expanding body of mostly web-based financial writing deserves closer scrutiny. So today Barron’s is launching “Read This, Spike That,” a new online column that will attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff among the stock advice offered up by these publications and Websites. (To avoid any conflict-of-interest concerns, I won’t be focusing on work written by the Wall Street Journal , WSJ.com and MarketWatch, all of which are Dow Jones & Co. sister units of Barron’s.)
“Most days, I will review articles that hone in on stocks that readers tend to care about. I’ll even be employing a five-star rating system designed to remove any questions about my view on these articles.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Randall Forsyth of Barron’s writes about how the media coverage of the markets is often a contrary indicator for future performance.
Forsyth writes, “‘As Worries Ebb, Small Investors Propel Markets,’ was the headline of the lead story on page one of Saturday’s New York Times. ‘Americans seem to be falling in love with stocks again,’ the Gray Lady reported.
“To which Barry Ritholtz, chief executive of Fusion IQ, observes, ‘Uh-oh,’ on his Big Picture blog. The bullish tone of the Times piece qualified as a contrary market indicator since it met his four qualifying criteria: a mainstream, non-business publication, with a front-page or cover story about a rallying asset class with a decidedly bullish tone.
“That view was confirmed by Paul Macrae Montgomery, the head of the Universal Economics advisory and the originator of the magazine-cover indicator. Years ago, he studied all the Time Magazine covers going back to the 1920s and found they were redoubtable contrary indicators. By the time Time’s editors put a market trend on the cover, it was within weeks of being played out. A bullish cover meant it was close to time to sell, and vice versa.
“Newspaper stories didn’t conform exactly to the same pattern, Montgomery noted in a phone conversation from his in Newport News, Va., office. First off, for a story to matter it had to get front-page, ‘above-the-fold’ placement, which the Times story had.
“What’s more, newspaper stories tended to signal market tops within two trading sessions, he added.
“That said, however, Montgomery professed less confidence in newspaper page-one stories than magazine covers. Moreover, markets tended to make tops in a longer, more drawn out process. Panic stories that accompany short, sharp breaks usually signal market bottoms and quick reversals, he adds.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
There are some interesting business journalism facts in the News Corp. filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will split its newspaper and media operations into a separate company.
WSJ.com, which offers both free and premium content, averaged more than 34 million visitors per month on average for the 12 months ended September 30, 2012 according to Adobe Omniture.
Barrons.com had more than 165,000 paid subscribers on average for the 12 months ended September 30, 2012.
MarketWatch.com averaged nearly 14 million visitors per month for the 12 months ended September 30, 2012 according to Adobe Omniture.
Dow Jones Newswires publishes over 19,000 news items in 14 languages each day via terminals and trading platforms reaching hundreds of thousands of financial professionals. This content also reaches millions of individual investors via customer portals and intranets of brokerage and trading firms, as well as digital media publishers.
The full filing can be found here.
by Chris Roush
The ad included all of their names.
by Chris Roush
In this new role, Santoli will serve as a voice on financial markets and economic news, providing analysis and breaking commentary of market and economic trends. He will also make regular appearances on Yahoo Finance’s original online programs “Daily Ticker” and “Breakout,” be a frequent contributor to CNBC as part of its recently announced partnership with the site, and represent Yahoo Finance at various industry events.
“I am thrilled to add Michael to our talented roster of trusted experts,” said editor in chief Aaron Task in a statement. “As a leader in online financial news, Yahoo Finance is constantly striving to bring the most reliable and well-rounded coverage to our users. With over two decades of award-winning experience, Michael’s expansive range of knowledge and insights will be a huge asset to us, and more importantly, our audience.”
At Barron’s, he wrote the “Streetwise” column, offering a forward-looking take on the financial markets, illuminating market trends and themes, and identifying investment opportunities.
While at Barron’s Santoli was a regular on-air contributor to the CNBC cable network, including appearances every Friday and Monday morning to discuss investment ideas from each week’s Barron’s. Prior to assuming his current position in November 2006, he had been a senior editor for Barron’s since May 2002 writing “The Trader” column.
Previously, Santoli had been mutual funds editor for the magazine since March 2002 when he became associate editor and wrote the “Fund of Information” column, edited the quarterly mutual fund pullout sections, and wrote cover stories for the magazine. He joined Dow Jones & Co. as a reporter for the Dow Jones News Service and covered the securities industry.
Santoli moved to Barron’s as a staff writer and wrote the “Commodities Corner” column, then began writing the “Striking Price” column, covering the options markets. Before joining Dow Jones, he worked in New York as a reporter/editor for Investment Dealers’ Digest.
Santoli received two Dow Jones Newswires Awards for distinguished real-time journalism. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Wesleyan University.
by Chris Roush
A group of online subscribers to The Wall Street Journal told the Second Circuit on Wednesday that Dow Jones & Co. did not act reasonably when it stopped providing access to some of its Web content, urging the appeals court to reverse a district court’s summary judgment ruling.
Sean McLernon of Law360.com writes, “A New York federal judge allowed Dow Jones to escape the putative class action suit in March, finding that Dow Jones had acted reasonably and within its rights under the subscriber agreement when it stopped providing access to content from financial publication Barron’s Online. In Thursday’s brief, four named subscriber class action plaintiffs claim that whether the company acted reasonably is a triable issue of fact.
“While Dow Jones contends that discontinuing or changing services are essential to an online publication service because the business demands “constant updates, improvements and innovations,” the subscribers argue that the changes could not be accurately described as an upgrade of its news and informational content.
“‘In fact, WSJ.com was diminished by the removal of Barron’s Online content,’ the brief said. ‘Instead, the purpose of the Barron’s Online spinoff was simply for Dow Jones to make more money from its annual WSJ.com subscribers by launching a separate subscription service. As Dow Jones’ research showed, current WSJ.com subscribers were the best potential market for a separate Barron’s Online subscription product.’
“The plaintiffs, who prepaid for a year’s subscription to the Journal online, which included access to Barron’s Online, said they were injured when Dow Jones removed free access to Barron’s Online in January 2006. At that time, Dow Jones requested an additional $20 per year for access to the newly revamped Barron’s, according to the complaint.”
Read more here. A subscription is required.
If there were a definitive business journalism Book of Records, Alan Abelson would no doubt dominate some major categories:
- Longest current tenure as a columnist at a single business/financial news outlet;
- Sued or the subject of threatened lawsuits by the most number of story subjects;
- Subject of the largest number of letters to the editor – both complaints and compliments;
- Most-efficient journalistic financial hot air ‘valve’ – letting the air out of over-inflated egos and stocks.
In other categories, Abelson would rank at or near the top:
- Role model to other financial columnists and bloggers;
- Reviled and feared by CEOs;
- Accused of being in the pocket of short sellers;
- Razor-like wit.
Abelson, who turns 87 years old this week, is still writing his own legacy – both literally and figuratively.
Once a week, as he has consistently since he originated the “Up and Down Wall Street” investment commentary column for Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly in 1966, Abelson still labors to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted – all while delivering pithy and polarizing views on business, financial, economic and political news and events, as well as his forecasts for specific industries and stocks.
In early 1966, the Dow Jones Industrial Averages made a run at the 1,000 level – actually surpassing it once on an intra-day basis, but closed short of the mark and ended the year at 785.
In October 1966, when Abelson turned 41, Edward A. Finn Jr., Barron’s current editor and president, was an 11-year-old boy attending elementary school in Whitinsville, Mass. Finn was only a year old when Abelson first joined the Barron’s staff in 1956.
Abelson became managing editor of Barron’s in 1965 and in December 1981, succeeded Robert M. Bleiberg to become editor of the Dow Jones & Co. tabloid.
One of Abelson’s early hires was a college dropout and former press secretary to, then, Sen. John Durkin (NH-D/1975-1980), named Floyd Norris. Norris began as a staff writer, who quickly advanced to stock market editor and then author of the magazine’s “The Trader” column. Norris joined The New York Times in October 1998 and has been its respected chief financial correspondent since September 1999. Dozens of award-winning business journalists, in the mold of Norris, were also hired or tutored by Abelson.
Abelson’s tenure at the top of the Barron’s masthead lasted 11 years. In December 1992, at age 67, he was asked by the muckety-mucks at corporate to step down. The New York Times quoted Andy Zipser, a Barron’s staff writer, speculating that Dow Jones came to view Abelson’s administration as “a rogue operation,” adding that “now there is a new emphasis on team players.”
Initially, the betting was that Abelson would also quit his “Up and Down Wall Street” column and leave the company altogether. But he didn’t and has since penned another roughly 1,080 columns.
[Let the history books record that Ottaway Newspapers scion James H. Ottaway Jr.’s most defining contribution to business journalism in the 20th century was likely the role he played in sacking Abelson. Ottaway, at the time, was a senior vice president at Dow Jones. He explained Abelson’s departure to the Times, saying “We agreed that since we are about to start a redesign project for Barron’s it was a good time for a new editor to take over.” Huh?]
I looked up the value of Abelson’s home in Croton on Hudson, N.Y. If the real estate listings are to be believed, he resides in a rather modest single family residence on a nice chunk of land worth roughly half a million dollars.
I was curious about Abelson’s lifestyle, as I’m guessing that he long ago stopped writing for Barron’s because he needs the paycheck.
His wife, Virginia, who like he attended the University of Iowa, died of cancer in 1999 at age 72. His daughter, Reed, has been a reporter for The New York Times since 1995. He also has a son, Justin, who has worked in journalism in Greenfield, Mass.
I suspect Abelson continues to write at his age primarily because he has yet to get the journalism-bug out of his system. It’s why former Fortune editor Marshall Loeb, now, 83, is still reporting for MarketWatch and why Dan Dorfman, who died this past June at 82, kept churning out copy nearly until the end.
How many of today’s columnists, bloggers and reporters have the Abelson-Loeb-Dorfman genes, I can’t really say.
Perhaps contemporary financial scribes, such as Reuters’s Felix Salmon, Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith and Infectious Greed’s Paul Kedrosky – each of whom channels the best of Abelson in their writings – will still be tweeting, blogging and tweaking the arrogant well into their eighties too.
Regardless, the brand of financial commentary that Alan Abelson launched in 1966 and has refined over all these years, is certain to endure long after the writer, himself, has typed his final “-30-.”