Summit Notebook

CME Chairman Duffy on being a political football

May 5, 2008

duffy.jpgTerry Duffy, the chairman of CME Group, which owns the world’s largest derivatives exchange, says he realizes the Merc can be an easy scapegoat at a time when food prices are soaring. When politicians start to talk about the evils of “speculators”, criticism of the main venue where they make their bets on wheat and other crops can’t be far behind.

Mass pension fund exec warns banks may repeat mistakes

April 7, 2008

travaglini1.jpgMassachussets State Pension Fund Executive Director Michael Travaglini says the Bay State’s pension fund, one of the nation’s largest, won’t be following the lead of New Jersey’s anytime soon — at least not in terms of direct investments in banks. He thinks that New Jersey — like some prominent sovereign wealth funds — viewed its recent investments in Citigroup and Merrill Lynch “almost as a necessity” to help prop up the financial system.
But even if he understands their motives, Travaglini isn’t sure rescuing troubled investment banks from Merrill Lynch to Bear Stearns is the right thing to do.
“If there’s always a net, whether it’s the Fed, whether it’s New Jersey, whether it’s Abu Dhabi, to me there’s a risk that there’s nothing learned,” he said. “I don’t want people to repeat the same mistakes. I think reasonably people could argue this whole subprime mess is a mistake that has been repeated two or three times throughout history.”
To Travaglini, the danger of lessons not getting learned reminds him of his own kids and why they must learn the consequences of mistakes.
“Why would they avoid getting in the same predicament if they had known they were going to get taken off the hook,” he said, speaking at the New York segment of the Reuters Hedge Funds and Private Equity Summit.

Video – Tough times for hedge funds and private equity

April 7, 2008

2008 is shaping up to be a challenging year for hedge funds and private equity but there are opportunities if you know where to look.

Audio – Mexico may need new tax reform over long term

April 1, 2008

finmin.jpgAs Mexico’s oil production gradually declines from peaks in 2004, future governments may need to come up with new ways to tax more products, like food or medicine, to keep healthy coffers, Deputy Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
   Revenues from state oil firm Pemex currently bring government revenue to 20 percent of gross domestic product.

Audio – The Whole, Wide World!

March 19, 2008

powell1.jpgGeneral Mills says it doesn’t always think of itself as a big company — but one look at its fancy company brochure and you remember just how many products they manufacture.

Audio – P.F. Chang’s faces economic pressures; and a visit from the Queen of Temperance!

March 19, 2008

federico1.jpgDifferent companies are using different methods to deal with the withering U.S. economy and still draw in customers.

Audio – Chicken and oil

March 18, 2008

sanderson1.jpgNo, it’s not a new recipe (although fried chicken is always a welcome addition to almost any event we’ve ever attended).

Audio – Nuts about nuts

March 17, 2008

mendes1.jpgWell, he seemed pretty calm, actually!

Michael Mendes, chief executive of Diamond Foods, maker of Emerald Nuts, said at the Reuters Food Summit on Monday that demand for the company’s many different nut products remain strong and gave an optimistic outlook on the future.

Audio – Re-establishing Starbucks’ cool

March 17, 2008

goldin.jpgIt’s been some time since Starbucks was considered cool.

There was a time, to be sure, when the coffee retailer’s cool, new shops were actually cool and new. It was Seattle — and all things Northwest — were hot. Coffee was being consumed by the gallon. Nirvana and Pearl Jam were just building their angst-ridden, flannel-clad fan bases.

Audio – Pricing power key for ConAgra

March 17, 2008

rodkin1.jpgIf ConAgra Foods Inc is planning on making its numbers for the rest of this fiscal year, it’s going to have to do it by passing on cost increases to its customes.