Tag Archives: Marketwatch
Federal authorities have filed charges against a Merrill Lynch analyst and two Lehman Brothers employees who developed an elaborate insider trading scam that involved using en employee at the printing plant where BusinessWeek is printed every week to get inside information, MarketWatch is reporting.
Marketwatch reports, “Authorities also charged Juan Renteria, 20, an employee of Quad Graphics printing plant in Hartford, Wis., and said he was hired by the team to get a job at the plant in order to obtain advance copies of BusinessWeek’s “Inside Wall Street” column. Plotkin and Pajcin allegedly persuaded Shpigelman to provide tips on coming mergers in return for a share of the trading profits.”
The “Inside Wall Street” column is written by Gene Marcial, and it has been the subject of other insider trading scams.
In 2003, workers at the same Wisconsin printing plant were involved in another insider trading scam involving BusinessWeek and the “Inside Wall Street” column, according to this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article.
In 1989, Seymour Ruderman, an editor at BusinessWeek, was sentenced to six months in prison for trading on information in the magazine before it was published. He had earned $39,000 in profits with the information. The SEC also brought charges against the editor. The information came from the â€œInside Wall Streetâ€? column written by Marcial, whose reporting of tips in the piece has been criticized in the past because they often come from Wall Street analysts and investors who could potentially profit from what he writes.
In 1989, a former salesman for the printer of Business Week admitted in court to inside trading based on the magazine’s stock column and agreed to pay more than $31,000 to investors who may have lost money as a result.
In 1990, two California men settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they traded on inside information obtained from advance copies of BusinessWeek magazine, again seeking information from the “Inside Wall Street” column.
Read the MarketWatch story here.
Bruce Bigelow, a business writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, has a nice profile of MarketWatch columnist Herb Greenberg in this morning’s newspaper.
Greenberg is the financial journalist who has been criticized by executives at companies such as Overstock.com recently for using short sellers as sources. Greenberg denies that he has done anything wrong, and using short sellers as sources has been an accepted practice in business journalism for decades. He has, however, been subpoenaed by the SEC, but the regulatory agency has backed off enforcing the subpoena.
Bigelow writes, “Greenberg says he tries to characterize the perspective of his sources, for example, by reporting whether they are betting against a company’s stock. In any case, he says such information serves only as the starting point in the reporting process.
“For Greenberg, covering Wall Street means rising at 4 a.m. to read newspapers and online news sites. A few souvenirs of his 32-year career in journalism decorate his office walls. They include a complimentary note from Gregory Peck framed with a photo of the actor, a sketch of Batman signed by the artist Bob Kane and a promotional flier for a TV business program sponsored by Fox News and TheStreet.com.”
Read the rest of the profile here.
Bill Fleckenstein, who runs a hedge fund in Seattle and writes a column for MSN Money, believes that some hedge fund managers are no longer willing to talk on the record to business journalists because of the recent push by some companies to threaten hedge funds with litigation when they are discussed in a negative light.
Fleckenstein writes, “That’s the chilling part of what Biovail is apparently attempting. As a measure of its “success,” columnists Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times and Herb Greenberg of MarketWatch.com, two friends who do great investigative work, tell me that they both have sources who are no longer willing to go on the record when discussing corporate chicanery.
“What we don’t want to see is the routine silencing of naysayers by managements with something to hide. This is intimidation masquerading as victimization.”
Read the rest of his column here.
MarketWatch writer Frank Barnako, who began writing “Internet Daily” for the business news Web site in 1998, is now becoming the first blogger for Dow Jones. He begins his own blog on Barnako.com on Thursday.
Barnako writes, “My background is radio, with its frequent deadlines and fast reporting. That’s the kind of blog I’ll write and that’s what I hope you will read and comment on. Tell me where I’m wrong; tell our readers what you think, and what you know that I should have known.
“In the late ’90s, the Web was exciting and, to some, the bubble was invisible. Then 500 newly public dot-coms like MarketWatch slogged through the valley of death in the early 2000s. About 10 percent of us made it out in time to see something called Web 2.0 take root. I’ve written about it all. The first part was fun, and the second part was agony. This third part is exciting and interesting.
“The Internet story is no longer company announcements, partnerships or ‘seamless end-to-end solutions.’ It’s about business plans, strategies and new products and services, as well as personalities.”
Read his column here.
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers selected Carol Junge Loomis, a journalistic fixture at Fortune magazine who’s often regarded as the best business writer in the United States, as this year’s recipient of the group’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
Loomis, 76, has worked at Fortune for 52 years and has kicked corporate shins for most of those years. Last year, for example, her scathing cover story about Carly Fiorina’s tenure as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive was followed by Fiorina’s ouster a few days later. In this February’s cover story, Loomis explains why she thinks General Motors is headed for bankruptcy court.
Her fans include her long-time friend and subject, legendary investor Warren Buffett. “She’s the best business writer in the world, bar none, she’s so good she’s lapped the field,” Buffett recently told journalist Allan Sloan.
Loomis is Buffett’s editor, too. Since 1977, she’s been editing his famous annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders.
Sloan asked Buffett what is Loomis is like as an editor. Buffett thought for a few seconds. “She’s unreasonable,” he said. “But she’s the best.” This despite the fact that the first time she mentioned him in print, she misspelled his name “Buffet.”
Loomis will get the SABEW award at a ceremony in Minneapolis on April 30 at SABEW’s annual conference. Her SABEW honor will be Loomis’ fourth lifetime career award. The others come from the Loeb Foundation (1993), the Women’s Economic Round Table (2000) and from Time Inc. (the first-ever Henry R. Luce Award, 2001).
Past recipients of SABEW’s Distinguished Achievement Award include: the late Hobart Rowan of the Washington Post; Myron Kandel of Cable News Network; the late Larry Birger of the Miami Herald; Chris Welles of BusinessWeek; Cheryl Hall of the Dallas Morning News; Marshall Loeb with CBSMarketWatch.com; John Cuniff of the Associated Press; Chet Currier of Bloomberg News; Ernest Holsendolph of Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Allan Sloan of Newsweek; Byron “Barney” Calame of The Wall Street Journal; Randy Smith of The Kansas City Star; James K. “Jimmy” Gentry of the University of Kansas; Linda O’Bryon of Nightly Business Report and Steve Shepard of BusinessWeek.
New Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino said Wednesday at an investor conference that advertising for the company’s flagship Wall Street Journal newspaper has been up 13 percent in the first two months.
Dwight Ostricher of Dow Jones Newswire reports, “‘We took meaningful market share away from our primary print competitors in 2005 and so far in 2006 are doing the same,’ Zannino said Wednesday at the Bank of America media, telecommunications and entertainment conference here.
“The Journal has seen solid advertising gains in the technology and financial sectors as well as in general business to business, he said, while health-care and pharmaceutical advertising was soft.
“The company, which also publishes this newswire, said in January that ad lineage at the U.S. edition of the Journal should rise by a mid-single-digit percentage in the first quarter.”
Ostricher also later reported, “Zannino said the company would look for merger-and-acquisition opportunities in the enterprise media group, which includes Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Indexes and Dow Jones Licensing Services.
“He added that consumer media, which includes the print and online version of the Journal and Barron’s, as well as the MarketWatch online financial news concern, will benefit from the Weekend Journal turning profitable and the end of losses for international Journal editions. Zannino added that the company will lose a ‘little bit’ of money in Europe and turn a profit in Asia in 2006.”
Read the wire story here.
MarketWatch media columnist Jon Friedman laments what is happening on CNBC, particularly the stock portfolio contest that is being launched. Friedman argues that the stock contest takes away from the business cable network’s serious approach to covering news.
Friedman writes, “But I contend that CNBC is playing a dangerous game by messing with its image as a serious news channel.
“CNBC has distinguished itself from the likes of Bloomberg TV and the defunct CNNfn over the years because it’s far more ambitious than its competitors, based on its distinctive daytime programs and thought-provoking documentaries.
“Maybe it boils down to a question of style and tone.
“CNBC’s business-news coverage is generally solid and sober (except, as I’ve noted in past columns, for its proclivity for annoying happy talk on Squawk Box and other programs).
“CNBC officials may feel inclined to pooh-pooh my arguments by insisting that their promotions have nothing to do with the network’s editorial integrity.
“Not so fast. That Squawk ad went on to say (in convenient small type): ‘Winners appear live on the program.’”
Read his column here.
Christine Brendle, the managing director of Wall Street Journal Asia, is not worried that the business newspaper faces increased competition from online finance Web sites such as Yahoo! and Google Finance, launched last week.
In an interview in India, Brendle said, “When people get on Google or Yahoo or when they get on the Net, they need a beacon. They need to have guidance and Dow Jones and its brands like Far Eastern Economic Review, Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, Barron’s they provide immediate information on what content people expect and the trust people have in this content.
“Sometimes online you can get an encyclopaedia that tells you things that are blatantly wrong. It helps to have these brands because they are a guarantor for quality and therefore I am absolutely convinced that they will stay and grow online because they will present the same benefits that are in the print which is a certain guarantee of integrity and quality.”
Read more of the interview here.
The Media Stock Blog, which gives no buy or sell recommendations, has a post from Douglas McIntyre, the former editor and publisher of Financial World magazine, that criticizes Dow Jones and its lackluster attempts at utilizing the Internet to keep its business journalism franchise going.
McIntyre writes, “Dow Jones has clearly been caught in the sunset of the newspaper industry, which is no sin in and of itself. The real disappointment is that the companyâ€™s move to capitalize on the internet and electronic deliver has been so poorly executed. One only has to look at what companies with no real financial journalism backgrounds like Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), and Yahoo! (YHOO) have done to build huge audiences in the investment and personal finance business.
“Dow Jones has probably missed the opportunity. It may not be able to recover from its late and tepid attempts to reach its audience on the web. If it is not too late, it will be soon, and one hopes new management stops shuffling divisions and starts to get its head in the game.”
Read the entire post here. A reader responds that McIntyre is wrong given the company’s recent acquisition of MarketWatch.com. I would add the fact that WSJ.com has the largest paid circulation of any news information web site.
Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission thatâ€™s embroiled in a media-rights dispute, on May 1 will speak to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
The SEC in February subpoenaed two business reporters, touching off a furor in the journalism industry over press freedom. Cox later rebuked his enforcement staff for not consulting him before sending out the subpoenas, but the intersection of press freedom with regulatorsâ€™ duty to track down corporate wrongdoers will continue to generate great debate.
Cox will address that issue as well as corporate malfeasance and other issues when he speaks at the SABEW conference. The conference, which runs Sunday, April 30, to Tuesday, May 2, will be at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis Hotel in the Twin Cities.
Cox will not be the only one to discuss the challenges facing todayâ€™s business reporters.
Herb Greenberg, a MarketWatch columnist and one of the reporters subpoenaed by the SEC, will discuss the subpoenas and other tactics to intimidate investigative reporters in a panel discussion. Heâ€™ll be joined by Joseph Nocera, a New York Times columnist, and Dan Colarusso, business editor of the New York Post. Dave Beal, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, will moderate the panel.