"Unless we can close the gap between supply and demand by accelerating productivity...the prosperity everyone is experiencing would be put in great jeopardy" -- Alan Greenspan, to CongressEdited by Joan OleckReturn to top
Big Dubya Is Watching You
Self-styled privacy hawk George W. Bush has said Internet companies that want to share user data with third parties should ask permission. But his new Web site, www.georgewbush.com, fails to practice what he preaches.
Online volunteers must type in their name, address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address. And they can't stop the site from sharing this data with campaign leaders, the Republican National Committee, and GOP state parties. Until recently, the site's Daily Trivia and online contest sections also required data-sharing--a practice not found at www.algore2000.com.
Privacy activists are riled. "Maybe I'm just interested in George W. Bush and not in the Republican Party of Oklahoma," says Andrew Shen of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Jonah Seiger of mindshare Internet Campaigns, an online political consulting firm, calls the Bush policy a political gaffe, saying it might deter crossover voters who support Bush but are skittish about the GOP. The campaign is listening. Now, users can block data-sharing, with the exception of online volunteers. Explains spokesman Tucker Eskew: "By agreeing to volunteer, you want to become part of a network of information exchange."By Amy Borrus; Edited by Joan OleckReturn to top
Dividends in the Slow Lane
DaimlerChrysler's new warning that its second half of the year looks lackluster (page 90) only adds to shareholders' grievances. Some investors were already feeling like the car company was taking them for a ride.
The problem: dividends. Shareholders, whose Chrysler stock turned into shares of DaimlerChrysler of Germany, are in a huff over reduced, delayed payouts. Where Chrysler's were quarterly, DaimlerChrysler investors--22% of them American--now receive payments annually. What's more, Germany imposes a steep 26.4% withholding tax. Sure, U.S. investors get a 16.4% refund. But the paperwork can take a year. Plus, dividends are paid in euros; that means an 11.2% cut from last year's payout. The most recent dividend, in April: $2.22 a share.
"We've gotten flooded with phone calls on this," says Sam Messina, head of North American investor relations. But DaimlerChrysler is working to streamline the process for Americans. Still, the problem may not end there. John Nigh, a global M&A expert at Tillinghast-Powers Perrin, warns that with so many companies going global, such scenarios will proliferate.By Marcia Vickers; Edited by Joan OleckReturn to top
A Hedge Fund Still Getting Trimmed
Crummy tidings lately for former star fund manager Julian Robertson, whose Tiger Management hedge-fund group collapsed last March. Despite hyped takeover bids for two of his five remaining stocks--US Airways and United Asset Management--Robertson's funds are down on average 1.5% this year. And a spokesman says his Puma and Ocelot funds are down about 5% through June 30, vs. a 0.4% drop in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and a 10% gain for hedgies generally.
On July 14, Robertson wrote to Ocelot investors that gains from United Asset were offset by declines in US Airways and Xtra, another of his final holdings. "Our hedges against a market debacle went against us also," Robertson wrote. He further lamented the lack of any new suitors for US Air. Robertson told his long-suffering clients that Tiger, winding down since March, will continue to liquidate its portfolio in August and September. With Robertson's losses continuing to mount, that won't be a moment too soon.By Gary Weiss; Edited by Joan OleckReturn to top