Reporting Archive

Jun 01, 1997
Mysterious are the ways of the stock market. Defying reality, it surges with unemployment figures, drops with good news, and most people pretend this is normal and rational. My favorite fairy story is not the one about the bull market continuing forever. It's about the little boy who pointed out that the emperor was, in fact, starkers rather than togged up in his best Ralph Laurens. I suspect the angry crowd promptly committed him to a child psychiatrist, at t...
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Jun 01, 1997
Things have changed at Europe's stock exchanges. The past year has been an adventurous one for many of the region's bourses - which, in itself, is change enough. But the year ahead offers the prospect of more radical moves, wider choice and spreading conformity. Although you won't get many of the exchanges to admit it, increased competition is the driving force behind the innovations, fuelled by an unprecedented demand for equity stocks. Yet, ironically, the c...
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Jun 01, 1997
Conference calls with analysts are a quarterly rite for many executives and IROs. Scripts are drafted and answers to probable questions pondered. Tensely hunkered, executives strive to spin a positive tale while avoiding ad-lib remarks that might spark misunderstanding or even litigation. While the phone seems destined to remain the IR conference call mainstay for some time, teleconferencing vendors are scrambling to take the high ground in the battle to deliv...
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Feb 01, 1997
A small group of us stood huddled against the cold and rain on a street corner on Pariska, the elegant boulevard that slices through Prague's old town. Olga, our guide, directed our attention away from the airline offices and glitzy boutiques at street level to the buildings above, a riot of turn-of-the-century sculpture, spikes and turrets. Even on that gray morning they sparkled. Some were swathed in scaffolding. Olga told us about the program of painstaking restor...
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Dec 01, 1996
West Coast investors ask the toughest questions. East Coasters carefully study figures, plans and projections. European investors are polite, conservative and long-term, posing many of the same questions as Japanese funds. And so Japanese IR comes of age in the eyes of Koji Yanai, the administration adviser at Sagami Chain Company, a mid-sized Nagoya company which just completed a roadshow blitz of North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Yanai is one...
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Sep 01, 1996
'So Terry,' I asked, 'what's the latest on the Sumitomo affair?' He didn't reply immediately. Instead he drew in a deep breath, exhaled slowly, took a sip of his Scotch and water and stared into the middle distance. It wasn't that he hadn't heard or understood my question, although that would have been understandable, given the noise level in the pub in which we were having an early evening drink. But Terry's real name was Teruaki Obata. He had been in London ...
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Sep 01, 1996
After watching the US revamp safe harbour rules to open up communications between companies and investors, Canadian pundits are proposing sweeping new laws. But these could prove counterproductive, filling lawyers' coffers and tying-up management in court for years. IROs are outraged by the proposed changes, predicting that they will curtail communications with the financial community. At the centre of the debate are two Toronto Stock Exchange initiatives inten...
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Jun 01, 1996
What was upsetting my driver wasn't the traffic, although it was slowing our progress from the airport to a crawl. Nor was it the beggars who tapped on the car's tinted windows every time we ground to a halt. What was disturbing him was the empty billboards. Of course they weren't all empty - but many were. Well not quite empty, but painted white and with a telephone number to call if you wanted to advertise on them. Normally they were used for the marketing o...
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Jun 01, 1996
Global markets. Global trading. Global portfolios. And global comparisons by analysts. Er, no, well not quite, anyway. Peer group comparisons across borders remain a bit of a sticky issue amidst all of this globalisation talk. Even in the sectors, such as chemicals and paper, which by their very nature lend themselves to such analysis, the financial community runs into obstacles in evaluating say, a German company, in relation to a US competitor. So, wha...
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May 01, 1996
With the US parading share buy-backs on its corporate finance catwalk, Europe and Asia have been waking up to the latest fashion in shareholder value. Nowhere more so than in the UK where the financial media have been strutting their share repurchase stuff and, in some cases even imposing the new design on unwilling models. Take Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) which announced its results at the end of February. Details of an 85 per cent increase in pre-tax ...
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