Wage and Hour Violations

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On December 9, 2009, Wal-Mart disclosed that it had settled a long-running wage and hour dispute in Massachusetts for $40 million. According to the Boston Globe, this was the largest wage and hour settlement in the state of Massachusetts. Interestingly, it was just a year ago at the end of 2008 that Wal-Mart reported that… Read more »

The Worst Footnote Disclosures of 2009

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Every year, Michelle Leder at www.footnoted.org, takes a look at the worst footnote disclosures that companies try to bury in their routine SEC filings. As her website states, the financial footnotes are important for all users, including professional money managers and analysts, accountants, and individual investors. According to her article, there are a lot of… Read more »

Japan’s Big Accounting Move

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During the week of December 7, 2009, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) announced that it is moving to the formal adoption of International Accounting Standard (IAS) reporting by 2015. Up until now, the FSA has allowed Japanese companies to file consolidated statements using U.S. GAAP, but in 2015 this may end. The agency will make… Read more »

Raising funds with Stock Warrants

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The biotechnology firm, Dendreon Corporation, is a company which is developing the prostate cancer drug Provenge. On Friday, November 20, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted its application to market the vaccine to treat men with advanced prostrate cancer. If the FDA approves it, the drug would be the first in a new… Read more »

Are Things Improving for Sears Holding Corporation?

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In the third quarter of 2009, Sears Holding Corporation narrowed its losses from $146 million in the previous quarter to $127 million. Despite this, shares of Sears’ stock have almost doubled during 2009. QUESTIONS: The article mentioned that because of inventory management, the company’s gross margin widened by 0.4 percentage points to 27.2%. What are… Read more »

New Rules for Gift Cards

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New rules were announced on November 16, 2009, regarding stricter rules to govern fees and expiration dates for gift cards, gift certificates, and general use pre-paid cards. While the rules have not be enacted and are open for comment for the next month, proposals include the prohibition of dormancy fees for a year and the… Read more »

Searching for Free Cash Flow

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The South Africa-based company, Harmony Gold, is having problems securing ongoing funding after using up more than $1 billion U.S. Its latest quarterly report shows that the company is grappling to produce free cash flow. QUESTIONS: What is free cash flow and why is this a worry for the company? With respect to free cash… Read more »

Timeshare Worries in a Recession

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Marriott International, the well-known hotelier, saw operating losses in its third quarter of 2009, as a result of its venture to move into financing time-shares during a slowing real estate market. In addition, the sluggish economy has not helped its primary business segment that caters to cash-based lodging for business and leisure travelers. As a… Read more »

Debt Exchange

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In an 11th-hour effort to avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, commercial lender CIT Group Inc. offered its bondholders a debt exchange. The exchange offer expired on October 29, 2009. According to this exchange plan, CIT bondholders of older notes would receive between $700 and $900 in new debt plus between 0.41 and 3.26 of… Read more »