Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend wrap-up

I love the way GE owns the many markets in which they compete and it was one the first stocks I bought out of college. Their CEO Jeffery Immelt has been a solid replacement for the iconic Jack Welsh and continues to steady the ship through difficult economic times. However, when I heard last week that President Obama had tapped Mr. Immelt to head a job creation panel my first reaction was "huh?". I was pretty sure that GE has been shedding jobs steadily over the past decade and really dumping US jobs over that time period, but I didn't have any data to back me up.

Thankfully, Dow Jones pulled the data for me....

"Immelt runs a big company, but Immelt has shown more skill at cutting jobs, frankly, than creating. GE finished 2009 with 18,000 fewer US workers than it had at the end of 2008, and US headcount is down 31,000 since Immelt's first full year in 2002. During his tenure, GE workers based in the US as a percentage of total employees has fallen to 44% from 52%."

The two best China-related quotes of the weekend.

"The Chinese delegation has said all week that there will be double-digit growth for years to come and the Brits have lapped it up. But the data doesn’t add up. We think we’ve experienced credit bubbles over the past few years, but China is the biggest. And yet the global economy is looking to China as not just a crutch but a springboard out of the recession. It’s crazy.”

"There have been academics and analysts who have argued about the dangers of China’s economy overheating for some time. But for many, the fact that hedge funds, particularly those with track records on previous crises, are launching specific funds is the sign that the bubble is close to bursting.

One academic said: “Economists have contrarian views all the time. But these hedge funds have their shirts on the line and do their analysis carefully. The flurry of ‘distress China’ funds is a sign to sit up.

Two for the road:

1) Students take a field trip - not news. Is it a field trip to the science center or nature preserve? Nope, it's a trip to the opening of the new SuperWalmart.

2) Note to self: if your fuel pump stops working do not, I repeat, do not pour gasoline from an open bucket directly into your carburetor.


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