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Posted by On Feb 26, 2009

You better watch out,
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You better ready your pics, cos I'm tell you why...

Snapshock is coming to town!!



Posted by StarryGift On Mar 20, 2009


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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Activist shareholder targets Pasadena's Ameron, calls CEO's pay 'excessive'

A New York hedge fund is trying to shake things up at Pasadena-based Ameron International Corp., an industrial-products company that historically hasn?t attracted a lot of Wall Street scrutiny.

The fund, Barington Capital Group, on Monday sent a five-page letter to Ameron?s 69-year-old chief executive, James Marlen, listing a number of steps that Barington believes the company should take to boost its ?significantly undervalued? stock.

High on the list: steep pay cuts for top executives, including Marlen. That?s one way to get a CEO?s attention.

The letter?s timing wasn?t a coincidence: Ameron will hold its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday at the Pasadena Hilton.

Barington, under Chairman James Mitarotonda, has sought to make a name for itself as an activist shareholder since 2000, pushing for changes at companies such as department-store chain Dillard?s Inc. and auto-parts retailer Pep Boys.

Jamesmarlen Mitarotonda and Marlen know each other from stints as directors of an Ohio plastics company. Earlier this year Mitarotonda sought to be nominated to Ameron?s board, but the company declined his request. That set the scene for his latest move.

Ameron, which dates back to 1907, produces infrastructure goods such as concrete and steel water pipelines and fiberglass pipe for the oil and chemical industries. The businesses aren?t glamorous, but Ameron?s stock from 2005 to mid-2008 rocketed amid investors? excitement over the global infrastructure build-out.

The company?s fortunes then plunged with the crash in global markets beginning in September 2008. The stock dived from a record high of $130 in July 2008 to a low of $33 that November. It has since recovered to about half its all-time high, closing at $67.39 on Tuesday.

Ameron?s sales sank 18% to $547 million last year and earnings slumped 43% to $33.3 million, or $3.63 a share. Fiscal first-quarter results, reported early Wednesday, also were weak. Marlen, who has been CEO for 17 years, says he believes the company is poised to rebound ?when the economy turns around.?

But Barington, which has accumulated 3.7% of Ameron?s stock over the last year, wants action now. In the letter to Marlen, Mitarotonda said he believed that Ameron had ?vast value potential that is not being realized.? . . .

Mitarotonda, who declined to comment beyond the letter, makes some standard activist-shareholder suggestions, including that Ameron cut costs further, sell non-core businesses and make better use of its $181-million cash hoard.

But he also gets personal about the company?s executive pay levels, telling Marlen: ?Given the size of Ameron, the payments to the company?s executive team, and in particular to you as its chief executive officer, appear to us to be excessive.?

Marlen took home $39 million in total compensation from 2004 through 2008, compared with an average of less than $22 million for CEOs of 12 peer companies, Mitarotonda wrote. He also cited reports from three independent corporate-governance evaluation firms criticizing Ameron?s compensation practices.

In an interview, Marlen rejected Mitarotonda?s pay objections, insisting that ?we have followed ?best practices? ? on compensation.

And in a letter to Mitarotonda early Wednesday, Marlen wrote that "while we wholeheartedly agree with you that Ameron?s stock is undervalued . . . we disagree with many of your theories as to why Ameron is undervalued."

But Marlen appeared to leave the door open to talks, saying he looked forward to disussing the ?positive attributes? of Ameron ?with Barington and all of our valued shareholders in the future.?

-- Tom Petruno

Photo: James Marlen. Credit: Ameron

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We Were Wrong (About the Supreme Court)


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Paul Volcker: Do The Right Economic Thing


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Closing Bell: The Elusive 11,000 DJIA (AIB, AAPL, VZ, AMAT, GNVC)

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Today was one of those days where it almost felt as though most sectors of the stock market just want to bide time until a 3 day weekend. The consumer confidence reading at 52.5% came in above the consensus estimates of 51.0. Unfortunately this was a day that wavered between positive and negative. It was hard to see if the day's gains were going to hold until right up to the end of the day. Most importantly, the DJIA got closer and closer to 11,000... but 10.940 was about all it had in it.

Here were today's unofficial closing bell levels:

Dow 10,907.42 +11.56 (0.11%)

S&P 500 1,173.27 -0.05 (0.00%)

Nasdaq 2,410.69 +6.33 (0.26%)

Top Day Trader Alerts

Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

Continue reading Closing Bell: The Elusive 11,000 DJIA (AIB, AAPL, VZ, AMAT, GNVC)

Closing Bell: The Elusive 11,000 DJIA (AIB, AAPL, VZ, AMAT, GNVC) originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Tue, 30 Mar 2010 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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3M Company Enjoys a Solid Day

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3M Company (MMM) benefited from a comment from brokerage Morgan Stanley. The brokerage house believes that 3M will rally after an optimistic forecast from Danaher (DHR), which operates in many of the same markets as 3M. The broker believes that the stock will enjoy a nice 30-day run thanks to DHR's forecast.

The thing is, if the stock continues the performance it started in early 2009 -- we shouldn't need a brokerage to tell us that the stock will do well during the next 30 days. Shares of 3M have advanced along the double-barreled support of its 10- and 20-month trendlines. The last time the equity finished a week below both of these trendlines was more than a year ago.

Continue reading 3M Company Enjoys a Solid Day

3M Company Enjoys a Solid Day originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Tue, 30 Mar 2010 16:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Vistaprint Offers A Credit Card -- Personalized, Of Course

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It's not easy to make money from the small business market. But Vistaprint (VPRT) has found an efficient platform to do so. The company helps with the design of such things as business cards, brochures, calendars and even websites.

In Vistaprint's latest quarterly report, revenues grew 40% to $194.6 million and the company acquired 1.8 million new customers. In all, there are roughly eight million customers.

Continue reading Vistaprint Offers A Credit Card -- Personalized, Of Course

Vistaprint Offers A Credit Card -- Personalized, Of Course originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Tue, 30 Mar 2010 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Roubini: India Will Beat China Hands Down

nouriel roubini

Despite the fact that India's economy looks like pure chaos in comparison to China, whereby the government barely has the right statistics to make proper policy decisions, in the long-run it's probably the larger growth story.

Don't underestimate the less-hyped BRIC, says Nouriel Roubini. all it needs is more investment capital to flourish:


“China has been a hare and India a tortoise but growth is accelerating in India,” Roubini said yesterday. “There is a massive need for both human and physical capital.”


India requires “physical capital in the form of infrastructure that can be provided by both by public and private investments or private-public partnerships,” Roubini said. The South Asian nation also needs to invest in human capital, innovation and land reform and “maintain social stability,” he said.

“China might be facing a greater challenge in maintaining its double-digit growth rate than India is facing in achieving a double-digit growth,” he said. Roubini favors the “more balanced economy of India” over China.

India's economy could grow over 8% this year, which would be the fastest pace in two years, while China's grew 10.7% in Q4 of 2010.

While it's not the most likely scenario, it is feasible that Indian growth cold overtake China's within the next few years should China slow and India maintain its current clip. So keep an eye on it.

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Obama Set To Make History, Opening Up Offshore Oil Drilling In The US

Offshore Driller


According to the NYT, Obama will today announce a limited end to the US's moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

Most costs will remain as is, but certain part of the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the Pacific Coast will see activity for the first time.

The entire Pacific Coast -- which is arguably the real theater in this battle -- will remain unaffected. Any Atlantic coastline New Jersey and above will remain off limits now.

Is this a Nixon-goes-to-China moment, something only a Democrat could accomplish? Maybe, or maybe the need to open up any opportunities for jobs-producing domestic industries is a simple necessity. We're guessing The White House has al read pre-briefed sympathetic mainstream environmentalists. Farther towards the fringe they're going to freak out.

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Irish Banks Need $43 Billion in New Capital as "Worst Fears Have Been Surpassed?

Inquiring minds note Ireland's finance minister is shocked to discover Irish Banks Need $43 Billion in New Capital on account of ?Appalling? Lending.
Ireland?s banks need $43 billion in new capital after ?appalling? lending decisions left the country?s financial system on the brink of collapse.

?Our worst fears have been surpassed,? Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in the parliament in Dublin yesterday. ?Irish banking made appalling lending decisions that will cost the taxpayer dearly for years to come.?

The agency aims to cleanse banks of toxic loans, the legacy of plunging real-estate prices and the country?s deepest ever recession. In all, it will buy loans with a book value of 80 billion euros ($107 billion), about half the size of the economy.

?The information that has emerged from the banks in the course of the NAMA process is truly shocking,? Lenihan said.

Dublin-based Allied Irish needs to raise 7.4 billion euros to meet the capital targets, while cross-town rival Bank of Ireland will need 2.66 billion euros. Anglo Irish Bank Corp., nationalized last year, may need as much 18.3 billion euros. Customer-owned lenders Irish Nationwide and EBS will need 2.6 billion euros and 875 million euros, respectively.

?The regulator is taking the bank system by the scruff of the neck,? said James Forbes, senior equity strategist at Irish Life Investment Managers in Dublin. ?Allied Irish has a lot of work to do to avoid majority state ownership, Bank of Ireland less so.?

Ireland may not be able to afford to pump more money into the banks. The budget deficit widened to 11.7 percent of gross domestic product last year, almost four times the European Union limit, and the government spent the past year trying to convince investors the state is in control of its finances.

?The bank losses, awful as they are, represent a one-off hit. It?s water under the bridge,? said Ciaran O?Hagan, a Paris-based fixed-income strategist at Societe Generale SA. ?What?s of more concern for investors in government bonds is the budget deficit. Slashing the chronic overspending and raising taxation by the Irish state is vital.?
Economic Hit Parade

US: States have $5.17 Trillion in Pension Obligations, Gap is $3.23 Trillion; State Debt as Share of GDP

China: 10 Signs of Speculative Mania

Spain, UK, Japan, Greece: Eurozone Structural Problems; Spain's Economic Woes; Pain In Britain; Deflation Persists In Japan

US, Canada: California USA vs. Ontario Canada - Which State (Province) Is In Worse Shape? Canadian Banks vs. US Banks Comparison

Australia: Money Madness In Oz

Is any major country in good shape?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

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