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Heartwarming Video: Lab Chimps’ Jaws Drop Upon Seeing Sunlight For The First Time In Their Lives

Lab Chimps’ Jaws Drop Upon Seeing Sunlight For The First Time In Their Lives

Dina Spector | Mar. 9, 2013, 11:29 AM | 3,952 | 15

The Humane Society has posted this heartwarming video of lab chimpanzees stepping outside for the first time after decades of being cooped up in cages (via @pourmecoffee).

In January the US government said it would release all but 50 chimpanzees used for research. Most of these chimps, some who are more than 50 years old, have never seen sunlight.

The animals will get a new lease on life at a national sanctuary in Louisiana called Chimp Haven.

The sanctuary now has more than 100 chimps in their care, who are free to climb trees, run around and groom each other in a five-acre playground.

Watching the freed chimps step outside for the first time after a lifetime behind bars is a reminder of just how human-like these animals are. You can actually see their jaws drop.

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Could Bed Bath & Beyond Be Buffett Bait? With strong profits and steady growth, Bed Bath & Beyond was a great retailing story in the 20th century. The moves it’s making could make it an even better story in the 21st.

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013

Could Bed Bath & Beyond Be Buffett Bait?

By ANDREW BARY | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

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With strong profits and steady growth, Bed Bath & Beyond was a great retailing story in the 20th century. The moves it’s making could make it an even better story in the 21st.

One of the country’s most successful retailers is on the bargain counter.

Bed Bath & Beyond has generated 16% annual growth in earnings per share over the past 10 years. But its shares, at $59, trade for less than 12 times projected profit for its fiscal year that ends in February 2014. The stock (ticker: BBBY) trades at a discount to other top retailers’, including Costco Wholesale (COST) and Target (TGT), neither of which has such a good profit history.

The shares could trade into the $70s in the next year, simply based on projected earnings gains and a higher price/earnings multiple. The insular company could attract interest from private-equity investors or even Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) if Bed Bath & Beyond’s co-founders, Leonard Feinstein, 75, and Warren Eisenberg, 82, decide to sell. However, there is no indication that the company is looking to sell.

A BUYER MIGHT PAY $85 a share—roughly 10 times this fiscal year’s projected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Ebitda)—consistent with prices paid for other quality companies, versus Bed Bath & Beyond’s current modest valuation of 6.5 times. The company’s $13 billion market value makes it large, but digestible. “This is a high-quality, cash-rich company that could see improving margins this year, particularly in the back half,” says Laura Champine, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity who carries a $74 price target on the stock. Bed Bath & Beyond has commanded an average of 15 times forward earnings in the past seven years.

The company, based in Union, N.J., operates 1,469 stores, including 1,004 Bed Bath & Beyonds, in all 50 states. The other 400-plus stores include World Market, which sells home furnishings, wine, and gourmet food; the fast-growing buybuy Baby chain, Christmas Tree Shops, and Harmon discount shops.

Bed Bath & Beyond has fallen from favor on Wall Street because of slowing comparable-store sales gains, mild profit disappointments, and concern that its weak Website makes it vulnerable toAmazon.com (AMZN) and other top Internet retailers. The company’s shares have slid 6% in the past year, even as virtually all stocks connected to the improving housing sector have surged.

Nonetheless, the company’s earnings in its just-concluded fiscal year ended in February likely rose a healthy 12%, to $4.56 a share, and are projected to increase 10% in its current fiscal year to $5.03.

Bed Bath & Beyond could be the most financially conservative big retailer in the U.S. It has no debt and it hasn’t carried a smidgen of debt for nearly all of the two decades since it went public in 1992. And it has $859 million—nearly $4 a share—in cash and marketable securities. The company has grown enormously, with revenue hitting an estimated $10.9 billion last year, versus $216 million in 1992 and it has accomplished this entirely with internally generated funds. Longtime investors have huge gains; the split-adjusted initial-offering price was $1 a share.

Management, led by CEO Steve Temares, plus co-Chairmen Feinstein and Eisenberg, run Bed Bath as if it were a private company. There are no investor days, limited financial disclosure, and no opportunity for questions on earnings conference calls. Want to know the sales breakdown among its chains? Bed Bath doesn’t disclose it. The retailer didn’t return Barron’s calls seeking comment. Read more of this post

Global in background and outlook, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent knows when to play the diplomat, and when to be the tough guy. Why his own secret formula works

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013

Cultural Ambassador

By DYAN MACHAN | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

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Global in background and outlook, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent knows when to play the diplomat, and when to be the tough guy. Why his own secret formula works.

The son of a Turkish diplomat, Coca-Cola Chief Executive Muhtar Kent knows his social etiquette. When served with live, “wiggly” animals at a formal dinner in a foreign country, he recognized he had no choice but to slurp them down. Kent, 60, relates the story over a plate of trout, incontrovertibly dead, in the plush dining room of Coca-Cola headquarters, overlooking Atlanta’s skyline. When representing a product that is served 1.8 billion times a day, and is sold in 207 countries, you behave as a good guest, he says.

A true citizen of the world, Kent has spent his life, and his career, adapting to others’ customs. “His genes are international,” says Dan Moskovitz, a Miami-based operations consultant, who has known Kent for 20 years.

Born in the U.S., Coke’s CEO spent his early childhood in Thailand, India, Iran, and Turkey, and could chatter in Turkish, Urdu, Thai, and Persian, although he has since lost his facility with all but Turkish. He attended an American boarding school in Turkey and British universities, and later added English, French, and Italian to his adult linguistic repertoire.

That cultural immersion alone made Kent well suited to run Coke (ticker: KO), which earns 74 cents of every dollar outside of North America. “He can step off an airplane in Malawi, and will know what to do, and know people there,” says Howard Buffett, a Coca-Cola director and son of Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) owns 400 million, or 8.9%, of Coke’s shares. Buffett sees similarities between Kent and his legendarily folksy father. “My dad can speak to 5-year-olds and the toughest New York analyst,” he says. “Muhtar Kent is the same way.”

AS CEO OF COKE since 2008, Kent does what is expected, and then some. But what the world expects of global brands like Coke, the world’s largest beverage company, with $48 billion of annual sales, has changed in the past five years. It isn’t enough for Coke to sell more than 500 beverage brands—the list also includes Powerade, Minute Maid, and Dasani water. The company also must tackle poverty and improve the quality of life wherever Coca-Cola can be found.

Kent is on board with the program. “We have distribution that can get to every corner of the world,” he says. “Why shouldn’t we use some of that capability to make communities get stronger? Communities get stronger, our business gets stronger.”

Instant, interactive communication has sparked the sea change, he adds. There is no going back to the days when consumer-product companies could merely dictate through advertisements what consumers ought to believe. “With social media, consumers talk to each other,” he says. “To the extent that they hold you in a positive light, you win. It’s a huge change.” Read more of this post

Why aren’t colleges and universities educating students for the modern economy? The president of an information-technology search and consulting firm explains

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013

Where the Jobs Are

By JOHN P. MCCREA | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

Why aren’t colleges and universities educating students for the modern economy? The president of an information-technology search and consulting firm explains.

I interviewed an interesting job candidate recently. He was interesting, well, like a car wreck. It’s always instructive to look at a disaster, especially if you want to avoid one.

I run an information-technology search and consulting firm in Reston, Va., called Achieve-it. The job candidate was a top-20 law school graduate—I’ll call him Mr. Overqualified, Esq.—who was applying for an entry-level information-technology job in the Washington, D.C., area. He was debt-ridden and desperate for work, but it wasn’t because he was unemployable. He arrived in our offices well dressed, had a professional manner, and actually arrived on time.

The ad he responded to asked only for a B.S. in a hard science and an aptitude with computers. So we were perplexed by his application, because not only did he have a J.D. from a top-20 law school, but he had already passed the state bar exam. He was more qualified to sue us than petition us for employment, especially for the job we had open. And that’s where the scary part comes in: Why would a guy with this pedigreed education apply for an entry-level job paying $20 an hour?

YOU KNOW THE ANSWER, of course: He has over $100,000 in student-loan debt. To hold it together for the moment, he was working as an Excel jock for a local firm and living with his parents. He was earning $8 an hour. When Mr. Overqualified stepped off the graduation stage at his law school, he might as well have been stepping off a cliff.

At least he was using his tech skills; he could have been earning the same amount slinging burgers at McDonald’s. Mr. Overqualified told us that yes, he regretted the time he wasted in law school; he wondered if he could ever pay off his student debt. Lawyering was once a reliable route to a big house, a nice car, and a productive life. Now Mr. Overqualified can’t even find the on ramp to the middle class. Read more of this post

Rigging the I.P.O. Game: What a decade-old dot-com I.P.O. case says about Wall Street today

March 9, 2013

Rigging the I.P.O. Game

By JOE NOCERA

ONCE upon a time, in a very different age, an Internet start-up called eToys went public. The date was May 20, 1999. The offering price had been set at $20, but investors in that frenzied era were so eager for eToys shares that the stock immediately shot up to $78. It ended its first day of trading at $77 a share.

The eToys initial public offering raised $164 million, a nice chunk of change for a two-year-old company. But it wasn’t even close to the $600 million-plus the company could have raised if the offering price had more realistically reflected the intense demand for eToys shares. The firm that underwrote the I.P.O. — and effectively set the $20 price — was Goldman Sachs.

After the Internet bubble burst — and eToys, starved for cash, went out of business — lawyers representing eToys’ creditors’ committee sued Goldman Sachs over that I.P.O. That lawsuit, believe it or not, is still going on. Indeed, it has taken on an importance that transcends the rise and fall of one small company during the first Internet craze. Read more of this post

Why fund names can’t always be trusted; ‘Absolute return’ funds that lose money, ‘smaller companies’ funds that hold FTSE 100 members, we look at the funds that don’t live up to their moniker.

Why fund names can’t always be trusted

‘Absolute return’ funds that lose money, ‘smaller companies’ funds that hold FTSE 100 members, we look at the funds that don’t live up to their moniker.

By Emma Wall

7:00AM GMT 09 Mar 2013

Fund managers have received a slap on the wrist for failing to achieve their investment goals. “Absolute return” funds aim to achieve positive returns in all market conditions – but the majority simply have not done what they claimed.

Angry investors accused the industry of misleading advertising, as funds such as BlackRock UK Absolute Alpha and GLG Alpha Select, which both sit in the Absolute Return sector, failed to deliver positive funds over the past three years.

In light of this poor performance, the Investment Management Association (IMA) has changed the sector’s name to “targeted absolute return” – a solution derided by critics.

Gina Miller, a co-founder of SCM Private, the fund manager, and a campaigner for transparency on charges, said the IMA had “taken 643 days to change one word”. She called the review an “absolute farce”. Read more of this post

Bridgewater May Be the Hottest Hedge Fund for Harvard Grads, but It’s Also the Weirdest

Bridgewater May Be the Hottest Hedge Fund for Harvard Grads, but It’s Also the Weirdest

by Daniel Gross Mar 7, 2013 4:45 AM EST

Bridgewater Associates is the $145 billion hedge fund elite college grads are clamoring to work for. Daniel Gross on the oddball firm’s special sauce.

In the Northeast, spring is in the air, and at Ivy League schools, kids are planning their postgraduate futures. But this year, many of the smart young finance things who used to flood to positions at name-brand banks in lower Manhattan are casting their sights elsewhere. It’s not a bank. It’s not in New York. And it’s not a century-old global institution with a patrician name.

It’s Bridgewater Associates. Based in Westport, Connecticut, and founded and led by a person who is equal parts investing savant and shaman, Bridgewater might best be described as an alternative alternative asset-management company. It’s the creation of Ray Dalio, who was memorably described in a great New Yorker profileby John Cassidy thusly: “He looked a bit like an aging member of a British progressive-rock group.” Big shots like Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone and Steven Cohen of SAC Capital may garner the headlines. But in recent years Dalio and Bridgewater have ridden new investment flows and superior performance to become America’s largest hedge fund, with about $145 billion in assets.

Bridgewater, which has 1,300 employees, isn’t for ex-jocks or day traders. Rather, it tends to attract—and look for—self-styled intellectuals and deep thinkers who like constructing arguments as much as they enjoy constructing portfolios. It’s “the thinking Yalie’s destination,” as one recent Yale graduate put it. Undergrads at Harvard report that the scandal-free firm is more desirable than Goldman Sachs, previously the ne plus ultra for young grads on the make. “Bridgewater is very popular because it is one of the few hedge funds that will accept people right out of college,” says a Harvard undergraduate who interviewed with the firm. “Also, the hours tend to be better. In investment banking you’re working 100 hours a week, and at hedge funds it is more like 70.” (This student may be overestimating the amount of time employees of both investment banks and hedge funds spend working). Read more of this post

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