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Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong Koo insisted the revamped Equus luxury sedan meet all regulations in the U.S., where Hyundai’s flagship has never been sold. Now the U.S. unit has to figure out how to sell a car that costs as much as eight times more than its Accent compacts.

Source: Bloomberg News

Date: 4/17/2009

Keys: Marketing, sales, branding, pricing

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think Hyundai can succeed in selling to both of these markets?
  • How would you deal with the task of creating a place in the market for the new model entry?
  • What pricing issues will the firm have to contend with?

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Presidential adviser Larry Summers is optimistic for an economic turnaround.

Source: ABCNews – video report

Date: 4/10/2009

Keys: Economic indicators, business cycle, forecasting sales

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Link: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=7305232

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with Larry Summers’ forecast? Explain your reasoning.
  • What do you think of the predictors of economic activity mentioned in the article?
  • What other buying behaviours do you think reflect consumer attitudes and reflect future economic conditions?

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Transportation stocks have outperformed the broader market lately. That’s a good sign as long as freight shippers say the economy is stabilizing.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 4/10/2009

Keys: Stock market, forecasting, marketing

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/10/markets/thebuzz/index.htm?postversion=2009041012

Questions for discussion:

  • To investors in the stock market, earnings are the primary indicators of a firm’s financial wellbeing. The focus is on the banks because their earnings (losses) had fallen so dramatically that many believed they would not be able to recover and continue their business activities once the current recession ended. What other industry-wide reports of earnings would suggest improved economic and therefore, improving stock market activity? Explain.

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Bernard Madoff conned even the most sophisticated of clients, such as Fairfield Greenwich Group, through a simple tactic whenever he was asked probing questions: He refused to answer or he lied..

Source: Bloomberg  News

Date: 4/03/2009

Keys: Investing, government, regulation, ethics, law

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601170&refer=special_report&sid=asYX4sfz1XhY

Questions for discussion:

  • What lessons did you learn about risk and investing from this article?
  • What roles should government regulatory bodies such as the SEC, play in these situations?
  • Who is to blame for the losses incurred by investors?
  • What threat of punishment would deter others from conducting such a fraud in the future?
  • Is this a worse case of fraud because of the massive size of the funds lost?

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YouTube has partnered with Universal Music Group (UMG) to launch a new music video service called Vevo. Under their agreement, YouTube will provide the infrastructure for a new site at Vevo.com, to be populated with video from artists on UMG-owned labels such as Decca, Def Jam, Mercury Records, and Verve. YouTube will also host those videos on its own site, where they’ll be housed in a Vevo channel via an embedded player. The companies will share revenue for ads served on both Vevo and YouTube.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 4/10/2009

Keys: Marketing, distribution channels, strategic alliances, technology

Link: http://www.clickz.com/3633376

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you believe this strategy will become more common in the industry?Explain your answer.
  • Which factors make this arrangement good for Googles’ YouTube, their partners, and customers?

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Research In Motion Ltd.’s (RIMM) shares jumped almost 22% in after-hours trading after the company offered better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and margin guidance.

Source: WSJ

Date: 4/02/2009

Keys: Marketing, technology, finance, stock market

Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090402-718397.html

Questions for discussion:

  • Although the industry leader in the corporate market, RIM faces stiff competition from competitors such as Apple’s iPhone as it fights for consumer market share. Why do you think Blackberry’s have sold so well to consumers?
  • What do you think distinguishes one brand from another in the consumer’s mind?
  • How important do you think price is to consumers?
  • Which features would you add to future models?

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Markets around the globe — in London, Paris, Frankfurt and New York — all staged powerful rallies Thursday on hopeful signs that the world’s biggest economies are committed to working together to end the global recession. At the G-20 summit in London Thursday, world leaders agreed to infuse $1.1 trillion in loans and guarantees to help developing countries, as well as to enforce regulations on financial institutions — all in the name of global economic recovery.

Source: ABCNews

Date: 4/02/2009

Keys: stock market, economics, governments

Link: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7241896&page=1

Questions for discussion:

  • Since stock markets are considered a leading indicator or predictor of future economic activity, why do you think that stock market investors are now more optimistic about an improving global business environment?
  • Which businesses do you think will show the greatest improvement as the global economy begins to recover?
  • Explain your reasoning.

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Facebook is gearing up to befriend investors. That, at least, is the chatter around Silicon Valley after the social networking darling booted its chief financial officer. But an IPO would be risky given Facebook’s business model is still unproven – unless it has a gun to its head.

Source: WSJ

Date: 4/02/2009

Keys: finance, management, investment, stock market, marketing

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/02/technology/facebook_ipo.breakingviews/index.htm?postversion=2009040214

Questions for discussion:

  • What reasons might explain Facebook’s current owners’ motivation to become a public company?
  • What similarities are there between Facebook today and Google just before it went public?
  • How can you explain the valuation stated for Facebook ownership, given its current financial condition?
  • Do you think Facebook would be as good a stock performer as Google has been since it went public?
  • Explain your thinking in terms of profits, market share, advertising revenues etc.

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Fortune’s Alex Taylor III says GM’s former CEO didn’t execute needed drastic changes.

Source: CNN – video report

Date: 3/31/2009

Keys: Management , leadership, decision-making, organizational re-structuring, government

Link:  http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2009/03/31/fortune.sl.taylor.gm.033109.fortune/index.html

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the Taylor’s analysis and explanation of GM’s failure?
  • Would you have kept Rick Wagoner as head decision-maker?
  • Does GM need a financial leader or a marketing leader more?
  • What would you do to rejuvenate GM?

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I.B.M.’s interest in acquiring the server computer maker Sun Microsystems for nearly $7 billion may seem at first to be a reversal of its recent efforts to move away from the hardware business. But analysts say there is more to Sun than servers, which are used in corporate data centers. They say its strengths in software, systems design and research make it an attractive target.

Source: NYTimes

Date: 3/18/2009

Keys: mergers and acquisitions, marketing, finance

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/technology/companies/19sun.html

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think the acquisition makes strategic sense for IBM? For Sun Microsystems?
  • What does each party gain by the merging of their resources into a larger market player?
  • Do you think that IBM  will be seen as a greater threat by competitors than before this merger?