By DAVID MOON, Moon Capital
January 5, 2003
Here's a look ahead to January 2004 with a review of the business headlines
Major Wall Street firms announce additional policies separating investment
banking from research functions. The two divisions will now be required to
use different color business cards and will not be allowed to use the corporate
health club on the same days.
AOL Time Warner will spin out its Internet services division, but retain the
AOL name. The original America Online will be a separate company named
World Online and will trade around 40 cents a share.
Accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, valiantly attempting a comeback, changes
its name Accurate Andersen. Its first client is Value Jet - a company that
changed its name to AirTran following the crash of one if its planes in south
Florida in 1996.
New York Attorney General, Elliot Spitzer files anti-trust charges against
the archdiocese of Boston on behalf of Protestants in New York.
After weeks of negotiations, Spitzer suddenly drops the suit.
Just prior to filing for bankruptcy, the archdiocese of Boston makes a $1
million donation to a Jewish day care center in New York City. A week
later, young Elliot Spitzer, III is named kindergarten student body
In an attempt to distance itself from allegations of conflicts of interest,
Merrill Lynch announces that all analysts will be required to buy the stocks
they recommend to their clients, at the same prices the stocks are trading when
they make the recommendation.
The entire Merrill Lynch research staff resigns, claiming inhumane work
Former Goldman Sachs telecom analyst, Jack Grubman and defrocked 1980s junk
bond king, Michael Milken, try their hand at selling tulip bulbs on World
Online's Nostalgia Channel.
Amazon.com predicts second quarter 2003 earnings of more than $500 million,
if you ignore all of their administrative expenses and cost of goods
United Airlines applies for a debt consolidation loan, using a
pre-approved credit card application received in the mail by its CFO.
After being rejected, the stock finally goes to zero. The consensus Wall
Street recommendation on the stock drops to "Neutral."
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates form a partnership and purchase the remaining
major airlines. They immediately shut them down, creating a near monopoly
for Executive Jet, Buffett's private jet company.
The Wall Street Journal learns that Enron never actually existed at all, but
was an elaborate financial hologram hoax perpetrated by baby-cloning/space alien
Amazon.com projects fourth quarter earnings of more than $2 billion, if you
assume everyone in the world buys 69 books from Amazon in the month of
In a record settlement with the Attorneys General from 42 states, Puerto Rico
and the District of Columbia, the alcohol industry agrees to pay $472 billion
into a special fund to assist the victims of drunk drivers. The first $150
billion of the fund will go to attorneys' fees. The next $100 billion will
be used to subsidize the insurance premiums of people with DUI convictions.
Hershey's agrees to pay a $114 billion fine to the American Diabetes
Walgreen's finally completes its plan to locate a drugstore immediately next
to every home in America.
A bevy of former Internet mutual funds managers call a press conference to
announce their new astonishing discovery: dividends.
In a reverse of his previous NAFTA position and in reaction to pressure from
unions, President Bush travels to Ohio and promises to create a million high
paying, meaningless jobs by November 2004.
The first one billion-dollar Super Lotto jackpot is won by former WorldCom
CEO, Bernard Ebbers, who borrowed $2 billion to buy lottery tickets.
Ebbers secured the loan by secretly pledging the assets of his neighbor as
David Moon is president of Moon Capital Management, a
Knoxville-based investment management firm. This article
originally appeared in the News Sentinel (Knoxville, TN).