Retail sales in Australia rose 0.2 percent month-on-month in November of 2016, compared to a 0.5 percent gain in October while markets expected a 0.4 percent gain. It was the weakest growth since July, as sales went up at a slower pace in food retailing (+0.4 percent from +0.6 percent in a month earlier) and household goods retailing (+0.2 percent from +0.7 percent) while those rebounded in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (+1.7 percent from -0.4 percent). In contrast, sales fell in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.8 percent from +0.4 percent), department stores (-0.3 percent from -0.4 percent) and other retailing (-0.1 percent from +0.8 percent). Retail Sales MoM in Australia averaged 0.49 percent from 1982 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 8.10 percent in June of 2000 and a record low of -10.60 percent in July of 2000. In Australia, the Retail sales report provides an aggregated measure of sales of retail goods and services over a specific time period. In Australia, Retail sales are seasonal, volatile and relatively important to the overall economy. This page provides - Australia Retail Sales MoM - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.
Bangladesh recorded a Government Debt to GDP of 27.30 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2015. Government Debt to GDP in Bangladesh averaged 40.01 percent from 1995 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 50 percent in 2002 and a record low of 27.30 percent in 2015. Government Debt to GDP in Bangladesh is reported by the Bangladesh Bank. Generally, Government debt as a percent of GDP is used by investors to measure a country ability to make future payments on its debt, thus affecting the country borrowing costs and government bond yields. This page provides - Bangladesh Government Debt To GDP - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.
Форекс: Евро торгуется без изменений Этим утром евро торгуется в основном без изменений относительно большинства своих валютных партнёров. Сегодня внимание участников рынка привлекут сведения по индексам настроения из Германии от Ifo, которые, согласно ожиданиям, скажут о некотором улучшении в сентябре. Кроме того, интерес для инвесторов представляет и ряд экономических данных из США, в частности индекс уверенности потребителей как показатель возможности восстановления экономики в стране. Между тем, президент Федерального резервного банка в Далласе Ричард Фишер (Richard Fisher) обратился к своим коллегам на двухдневной встрече Федрезерва по денежно-кредитной политике, состоявшейся на прошлой неделе, с призывом замедлить темпы покупок облигаций. Так, в 5 часов утра по GMT евро торгуется близ вчерашнего уровня против американского доллара и британского фунта по цене 1,3493 доллара и 0,8418 фунта соответственно. Японская иена выросла на 0,1 процента по сравнению с евро, и осталась на прежнем уровне по отношению к валюте США. Европа: Рынок откроется в «минусе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 13-14 пунктов и 3-4 пункта ниже соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется понижением на 8-10 пунктов. Публикация данных по индикатору делового климата, оценке текущей ситуации и экономическим ожиданиям от Ifo в Германии; торговому балансу в Италии; а также числу одобренных заявок на ипотечные кредиты от Британской банковской ассоциации (ББА) в Великобритании запланирована на сегодня. Juventus Football Club SpA (JUVE), METabolic EXplorer SA (METEX), Sidetrade (ALBFR), Close Brothers Group (CBG), Hargreaves Services (HSP), Dolphin Capital Investors (DCI), Blur Group (BLUR) и CVS Group (CVSG) объявят о своих результатах сегодня. Как сообщила новостная организация Reuters, Telefonica SA (TEF) дала согласие на увеличение своей доли в Telecom Italia SpA (TIT) приблизительно до 65,0 процентов. Объявление о соглашении, скорее всего, будет сделано сегодня чуть позднее. На предварительных слушаниях Международная торговая комиссия США (ITC) заключила, что HTC Corporation, головной офис которой находится на Тайване, нарушил права Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) по двум патентам. Согласно заявлению Evonik Industries AG (EVK), с 2016 года компания планирует уменьшать административные расходы примерно на 250,0 миллионов евро в год. Вчера нефтегазовая компания BP (BP/) обратилась в суд США с просьбой приостановить платежи по разливу нефти в Мексиканском заливе в 2010 году до тех пор, пока претензионист Патрик Джуно (Patrick Juneau) не улучшит официальную отчётность и контроль за мошенничеством. По данным обязательной отчётности, Национальное управление кредитных союзов предъявило иск Barclays (BARC) и двенадцати другим международными банками в суде Канзаса за манипулирование Лондонской межбанковской ставкой предложения. Азия: Торги преимущественно в «красном» Этим утром азиатские рынки торгуются главным образом на отрицательной территории, отображая ночные потери на Уолл Стрит. В Японии THK Company (6481) пошли вниз по причине понижений брокером её рейтинга на акции с «Out-Perform» на «Neutral». Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011) отступили ввиду возможного выставления предложения на покупку Zoltek Companies. Бумаги LIXIL Corporation (5938) упали в цене на фоне сообщений о том, что компания ведёт переговоры о приобретении немецкой Grohe Group за более чем три миллиарда евро. В 5 часов утра по GMT индекс токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 сократился на 0,5 процента, торгуясь на отметке 14664,1 пункта. В Китае акции сектора недвижимости China Vanke (000002), Poly Real Estate Group (600048) и Gemdale (600383) подешевели на сообщении о возможном продолжении рассмотрения налога на недвижимость китайским правительством. В Гонконге China Modern Dairy Holdings (1117) опустились; по сообщениям СМИ, компания может объединиться с KKR & Company и CDH Investments для строительства двух крупных молочных ферм в течение двухлетнего периода. В Южной Корее Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction (034020) и Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (042660) торгуются с понижением. США: Фьючерсы торгуются ниже В 5 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 2,6 пункта ниже. Публикация индекса уверенности потребителей, индекса цен на жильё от Международного рейтингового агентства Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller, индекса производственной активности от ФРБ Ричмонда и индекса розничных продаж от Johnson Redbook запланирована на сегодня. Carnival Corporation (CCL), Carmax (KMX) и Lennar (LEN) отчитаются о своей работе сегодня. Вчера во время продлённой торговой сессии JPMorgan Chase (JPM) опустились на 0,1 процента на фоне сообщений о ещё одном возможном иске со стороны американских властей по вопросу продаж ценных бумаг с ипотечным покрытием. Red Hat (RHT) упали на 8,1 процента после того, как обороты по счетам за второй квартал отстали от рыночного консенсуса, хотя компания обнародовала результаты за второй квартал лучше ожиданий. VeriFone Systems (PAY), напротив, поднялись в цене на 1,6 процента на назначении Пола Галанта (Paul Galant) своим новым главным исполнительным директором с 1 октября 2013 года. Greenway Medical Technologies (GWAY) выросли на 17,9 процента ввиду согласия Vista Equity Partners приобрести компанию в закрытом режиме по цене примерно 20,4 доллара США за акцию. Вчера во время регулярной торговой сессии американский фондовый индекс S&P 500 опустился на 0,5 процента на фоне продолжающихся волнений по поводу потолка госдолга в США и комментариев некоторых официальных лиц ФРС, вызвавших разговоры о возможном начале сворачивания стимулирующей программы позже в этом году. Citigroup ©, Goldman Sachs (GS) и JPMorgan Chase (JPM) отступили на 3,2 процента, 2,7 процента и 2,5 процента соответственно на прогнозе брокера о сокращении фиксированного дохода от торговых операций для банков США. J. C. Penney (JCP) упали на 4,6 процента в связи с сообщениями о ведении переговоров с хедж-фондами и другими инвесторами об увеличении финансирования его деятельности. Sealed Air Corporation (SEE) пошли вниз на 5,4 процента на понижениях брокера. Apple (AAPL), однако, прибавили пять процентов на обнадёживающем начале продаж последних моделей iPhone 5s и 5c в выходные. General Motors (GM) увеличились на 0,8 процента после согласия на обратную покупку привелегированных акций стоимостью около 3,2 миллиарда долларов США у United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. General Electric (GE) подорожали на 1,1 процента ввиду заключения контрактов на сумму 2,7 миллиарда американских долларов с алжирской компанией электроэнергии и газа Sonelgaz. Сводка последних новостей Задержка сокращения программы QE3 может отозваться на авторитете США Президент Федрезерва в Далласе Ричард Фишер (Richard Fisher) заявил, что решение американской ФРС по поводу отмены сокращения месячных объёмов программы покупки активов, принятое на прошлой неделе, может подорвать авторитет страны. Он также констатировал, что на двухдневном заседании он призывал своих коллег из Центробанка замедлить темпы покупки активов, так как бездействие в этом направлении может привести к неопределённости и беспорядкам на рынках. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank http://ru.saxobank.com
24/7 WALL STREET: The Stocks That Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Should Sell Now Read more: The Stocks That Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Should Sell Now
Posted: February 15, 2013 at 11:25 am Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) and Warren Buffett released their full stock holdings for 2013 on Thursday after the close. Earlier in the week we highlighted how Berkshire Hathaway shares were not just outperforming the other conglomerates, but outperforming the broad stock market, That continues today: One thing we noticed when we first looked at the holdings leading his portfolio value higher was that Buffett’s portfolio has many stocks that are still attractive. It also has many old legacy positions that the investment team should sell out of. 24/7 Wall St. screened the dozens of holdings listed to identify the dogs in the portfolio or the positions that are too small to even matter now. This is a list of stocks that Warren Buffett and Team Berkshire should sell now. These are not ranked in any order at all, other than how they are listed alphabetically on our full list of the Berkshire Hathaway holdings. The implied upside (when noted) is based on the Thomson Reuters consensus price target. Buffett is considered to be a value investor who buys great companies that he thinks he can hold forever. The new portfolio managers are Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, and they do not necessarily hold the same forever timeline. Some of these “stocks to sell now” are from the new managers, while others were picked by Buffett himself and have been on the books for years.Berkshire A-shares at 149,240.00, up 11.32% DJIA 13,973.39, up 6.63% S&P 500 1,521.38, up 6.67% Read Also: Berkshire Hathaway’s Full Stock Portfolio for 2013 The first one that Buffett should sell is none other than General Electric Corp. (NYSE: GE). While this is our Top Conglomerate Pick for 2013, the GE stake is just too small to matter at Berkshire Hathaway. The company only owns 588,900 shares, and that was way down from prior quarters. If Buffett does not want to sell then maybe he should add to the position again. Some of this may be left from when it had the huge preferred stake, but a position worth $14 million is just too small for Berkshire Hathaway to mess around with. GE now yields about 3.2% after hitting a new multiyear high. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was a lower position yet again, at only 327,100 shares. This used to be a large holding for Berkshire, with millions and millions of shares. The company has been selling shares as is, but it needs to just clear out of the position. This is worth almost $25 million today, and that is just not worth the effort. One thing that may be keeping Buffett interested is that Johnson & Johnson still yields 3.2%. Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE) was lowered before, and it was lowered again. What is amazing is that this is down to only 88,863 shares. That is hardly worth mentioning, with a value of almost $130,000. This is a position that Buffett has tried to keep confidential, and it ties into his current local media and newspaper ownership. Team Buffett owns both MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V). While we can appreciate them wanting to participate on the “credit card toll road” trade, the historic aim of Buffett to make a big bet and to gain influence as a “partner” just does not apply when you own both. To top it off, Berkshire Hathaway owns more than $9 billion worth of American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) and has had that position for years and years. The Visa stake is worth more than $240 million today, and the MasterCard stake is worth about $211 million. Both have low dividends of less than 1%, and the implied upside to the consensus analyst targets is 10.3% for MasterCard and 10.8% for Visa. We will leave it up to Buffett’s two new portfolio managers to decide which one is better, but they ought to sell one and make a larger bet on the other. Both have very large market caps, and Berkshire Hathaway can easily do much more than a $200 million position. Another almost split decision is between Kraft Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) and Mondelez International Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ). The latter is a position due to the spinoff from the former Kraft Foods, and Buffett already had sold shares of Kraft. With the Kraft stake being worth only worth $79 million, and with Mondelez being worth some $341 million as of now, the decision looks simple. It is time to get out of the old Kraft position. Buffett had been a seller on it anyhow. The only problem is that Kraft still yields more than 4%, against about 1.9% for Mondelez. That being said, Buffett has enough exposure to food now through the H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE: HNZ) preferred deal. Moody’s Corp. (NYSE: MCO) is another position that we just don’t get. What happened to “avoid companies you do not understand” as part of the Buffett investing strategy? This was listed as 28.4 million shares, worth more than $1.4 billion at the end of 2012. This position was the same as the prior quarter, but it was way down from earlier quarters and years. The most recent government suit against S&P highlights that the ratings agencies still have a lot of risk. Buffett rode this one all the way down and back up during and after the recession, but just recently Bloomberg pointed out that Buffett might have lost close to $300 million in value on this of late. Moody’s remains a position that we consider as being a “legacy position.” We would bet serious money that neither Todd Combs nor Ted Weschler would commit new capital to this position if this was being evaluated as a new “buy, sell or hold” without knowledge that Buffett has stayed in this for years and years. The 1.7% dividend yield is also not enough to entice the team to stay in Moody’s. United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) is another one we just don’t get. Team Buffett kept the same stake of only 59,400 shares, worth less than $5 million at the end of 2012. They already had trimmed this from a 2012 peak of almost 1.43 million shares, and this hardly seems worth the Berkshire Hathaway effort. We really do not see anything wrong with the position as it hit a new 52-week high on Friday, and the analysts still have an implied upside of about 6.5% on UPS. The 2.8% dividend is also attractive. Our take is that Todd Combs or Ted Weschler simply forgot to sell out of the rest of this position. Verisk Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) is a position taken on by the new managers in the portfolio. The team already lightened up even starting a year ago. The company made good gains here on a percentage basis, but it seems that the easy money has been made here, since shares have doubled from the late-2009 initial public offering. The market capitalization is up over $9 billion now, and at some point this company is going to have to find serious new markets with entirely different analytical products to drive value. The consensus analyst target only implies only 1.4% upside to the $55.55 target, but the peak analyst target implies closer to 15% upside ($63 is high target, versus $54.75 today). At almost 30 times trailing earnings and at almost 24 times forward earnings, this analytics outfit is going to have to get its growth from monitoring health care fraud to drive future growth. Verisk also pays no dividend now. Even if upside to the $9 billion market cap can be gained, it sure looks like the easy money trade has been made here. The Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO) stake of about 1.72 million shares is currently worth about $710 million. This is a long-standing Buffett position and may be strategic, considering the media and papers that Buffett has gotten Berkshire Hathaway into. The problem here is that we are about as certain as we can be Todd Combs and Ted Weschler would both give the thumbs-down verdict on this position if they were evaluating it as a fresh “buy, sell, or hold” position with new money, if they did not know the Buffett history here. Buffett already left the board of directors here, and he promised to hold on to Washington Post shares for the long haul. That is fine, but Buffett’s successors are very likely to try to figure out how to get out of this position. The 2.4% dividend yield will not be enough to sway them. As a caveat, we cannot help but notice that Washington Post shares just hit their highest level since mid-2011. We also cannot help but notice that this is worth only about 40% of its peak value before 2005. Jon C. Ogg Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
By Stephen Braun | ASSOCIATED PRESS FEBRUARY 14, 2013 ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES Secretary of State John Kerry listened to his wife, Teresa Heinz, during his ceremonial swearing-in. PRINT REPRINTS E-MAIL Share via e-mail TO ADD A MESSAGE YOUR E-MAIL Cancel SHARE FACEBOOK GOOGLE+ LINKEDIN REDDIT TWITTER SAVE WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry’s family financial portfolio could grow by hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of the $23 billion mega-deal between Nebraska billionaire Warren Buffett and a Brazil-owned investment firm to buy out ketchup and food producer H.J. Heinz Co. Kerry, as part of his confirmation last month, agreed to divest holdings in dozens of companies after leaving his Massachusetts Senate seat. But Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, held at least $3 million in Heinz stock through family trusts as of 2010, according to his most recent financial disclosure form. She was allowed to keep those assets under a January agreement approved by government ethics officials. Under the terms of the Heinz deal announced Thursday, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, an investment firm based in Rio de Janeiro and New York, will pay $72.50 a share for Heinz, which closed at $60.48 on Wednesday. The buyers will pay $23 billion in cash and assume more than $4 billion in debt. Kerry did not file an updated financial disclosure before his confirmation, so it is not clear whether his wife’s trusts sold off any of its Heinz stock since 2010. But based on the Kerrys’ known Heinz stock holdings of about $3 million and the stock’s $49.46 per share value at the end of 2010, the couple could have reaped as much as $1 million from the terms of the offer, according to an Associated Press analysis. Related Warren Buffett part of group to buy company Kerry told State Department officials earlier this year that his wife is a beneficiary of three family trusts, each of which held more than $1 million in Heinz stock in 2010. In his recent divestment agreement, Kerry said he was not a beneficiary of his wife’s trusts but agreed to recuse himself from decisions involving the Heinz company when appropriate. ‘‘I will need to recuse from certain matters involving H.J. Heinz Company because the investment of the trusts in H.J. Heinz Company stock is greater than their investment in other publicly traded stocks,’’ Kerry told State’s Deputy Legal Adviser Richard C. Visek on Jan. 8. Kerry also agreed to bow out when necessary from State decisions that could affect 16 of Heinz’ foreign subsidiaries and partners. The agreement indicated Kerry would complete the divestments and other arrangement within 90 days of his confirmation, which occurred Jan. 29. State officials were not immediately available to comment on the Heinz deal’s impact on his finances and divestment plans. Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
BY BEN PROTESS FEBRUARY 14, 2013, 7:05 PM Regulators are scrutinizing unusual trading surrounding the planned $23 billion takeover of the food company H. J. Heinz, raising questions about potential illegal activity in one of the biggest deals in recent memory, a person briefed on the matter said. The Securities and Exchange Commission opened the insider trading inquiry on Thursday as Berkshire Hathaway and the investment firm 3G Capital agreed to pay $72.50 a share for Heinz, this person said. Regulators first noticed a suspicious spike in trading on Wednesday. If the S.E.C.’s preliminary inquiry turns into a broader investigation, it could cast a shadow over the deal. As part of the process, authorities would turn their focus toward the limited universe of insiders who could have tipped off traders about the deal. Berkshire and 3G Capital to Buy Heinz for $23 Billion The agency’s inquiry is expected to be centered on options trading in Heinz, activity that soared this week as news of the deal circulated Wall Street. In what is known as a call option, investors can place a bullish bet on a stock, without actually committing to buy the shares. Instead, investors have the opportunity to buy at a given price and future date. As recently as Tuesday, there was scant activity in Heinz options. But by Wednesday, as the companies were putting the finishing touches on the deal, options trading jumped, data from Bloomberg shows. The price of Heinz’s stock soared after the deal was announced. The stock finished up nearly 20 percent on Thursday to close at $72.50, matching the offer price. The S.E.C. is focusing on the sudden leap in options trading Wednesday, building on a related case it filed last year that also involved 3G, a company with Brazilian roots. In September, the agency obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of a Brazilian man suspected of insider trading around 3G Capital’s takeover of Burger King. The trader, a Brazilian citizen who worked at Wells Fargo in Miami, reportedly received the tip from a 3G investor. Neither the company nor any individual at 3G has been accused of any wrongdoing in that case or in the Heinz inquiry. While the inquiry is in its early stages, the person briefed on the matter said that regulators could take relatively prompt action. If it is concerned that traders might move the money overseas, the S.E.C. could ask a federal court to freeze the traders’ assets. The S.E.C. routinely opens inquiries into trading activity after major mergers are announced, but often does not bring charges. The agency, however, has renewed its focus on insider trading, mounting dozens of cases in recent years. An S.E.C. spokesman declined to comment. Bloomberg News earlier reported that S.E.C. investigators were reviewing the surge in Heinz options trading. Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
ABU DHABI, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Kingdom Holding Co, the international investment firm of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and a consortium of investors have bought a 1.5 billion rial ($400 mln) stake in Chinese online retail firm 360buy Jingdong, the company said.
By Chris Katje:Dreamworks Animation (DWA) has been a disappointment recently. The release of "Rise of the Guardians" did not go as planned for the company and a new shift in the company's release schedule has sent shares down. Netflix (NFLX) appears to be coming to the rescue and investors should be getting excited.Netflix and Dreamworks announced a partnership to bring all new original kids television shows to Netflix. The move is part of Netflix's strategy at original programming, which includes the current hit "House of Cards" and the anticipated return of "Arrested Development".The deal will begin with "Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team)". The television show will begin in December and will be the first of many TV shows. Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had this to say, "We're thrilled to add Turbo the Series as well as all new Dreamworks Animation films, starting with their 2013Complete Story »
Warren Buffett: partnered with 3G Capital, known for ruthless cost-cutting Click to enlarge Click to enlarge While you were sleeping: Ketchup's tasty valuation Nevil Gibson | Friday February 15, 2013 In one of his biggest deals, US investor Warren Buffett has bagged one of New Zealand’s biggest food brands. His Berkshire Hathaway company and Brazilian private equity firm 3G have offered $US23 billion for H J Heinz, owner of Heinz Wattie’s in Australasia. In New Zealand, Heinz has an annual turnover of around $730 million, making it the country's ninth largest food company by revenue, according toFood Industry Week. As part of the deal, which has been unanimously approved by the Heinz board, shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash for each share, a 20% premium to Wednesday's close on the New York Stock Exchange. H J Heinz is one of the world’s leading packaged-foods companies. It is famous for its ketchup brand, first made in 1876. In 1992 it bought the Wattie’s part of the then Goodman Fielder Wattie for $565 million in a deal that brought together companies with roughly the same range of canned and other foods, from baked beans to sauces and baby food, though Wattie's was also a leader in frozen food. Heinz is also in the news for threatening to sue Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith over claims he has made about New Zealand beetroot. Heinz says the labelling on Smith's Australian grown beetroot is wrong and libelous. It says: ''When American-owned Heinz decided to move its beetroot processing facility from Australia to New Zealand causing hundreds of lost jobs, we decided enough is enough. So we are fighting back against poor quality imported product.'' Heinz closed its two Golden Circle factories in Brisbane and Melbourne and shifted its vegetable canning business to Hawke’s Bay, the original home of Wattie’s, in 2011. Buffett’s new partnerMr Buffett usually acts alone in his takeovers but in this case he is handing the operation over to 3G to run. In 2010, 3G bought Burger King in a $US4 billion deal. "It's their baby from an operational standpoint," he says. The deal, which requires the approval of Heinz shareholders and the blessing of regulators, will be financed through a combination of cash, rollover of existing debt and debt financing. It is one of the largest ever in the food industry, whose last big acquisition was in 2000 when Unilever bought Bestfoods for $US23.2 billion. 3G’s co-founder, Jorge Paulo Lemann, has a reputation for hard-headed management with a zero-based budgeting policy - an approach to financial management where all departments start the annual planning process with a budget of zero, rather than a baseline of the previous year’s number. They then have to fight for every single dollar above zero, rather than battle over increases or decreases from the last year. Zero-based budgeting is something a lot of firms could benefit from adopting, entrepreneur Lance Wiggs told NBR. He masterminded the global expansion of Brazilian brewer AmBev through a merger with Belgium’s Interbrew, owner of Stella Artois, to form InBev , which later joined up with Anheuser-Busch to become AB InBev, the world’s largest. Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
By Ben Berkowitz Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:52pm EST (Reuters) - Securities regulators filed suit on Friday against unknown traders in the options of ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co, alleging they traded on inside information before the company announced a deal to be acquired for $23 billion by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Brazil's 3G Capital. The suit marks the second time in six months that the SEC has taken legal action for alleged insider trading on a 3G deal. The suit, in federal court in Manhattan, cites "highly suspicious trading" in Heinz call options just prior to the February 14 announcement of the deal. The regulator has frequently in past filed suit against unnamed individuals where it has evidence of wrongdoing, but is still trying to uncover the identities of those involved. That trading, the suit said, caused the price of the particular call option they bought to soar 1,700 percent and generated unrealized profits of more than $1.7 million. The regulator claims the traders are either in, or trading through accounts in, Zurich, Switzerland. The account had no history of trading in Heinz over the last six or so months. It has also obtained an emergency order to freeze assets in the Swiss account linked to the trading. In the suit, the SEC refers to the account as the "GS Account" and in a statement Goldman Sachs Group Inc said it was cooperating with the regulator's investigation. "Irregular and highly suspicious options trading immediately in front of a merger or acquisition announcement is a serious red flag that traders may be improperly acting on confidential nonpublic information," Daniel Hawke, chief of the SEC's Division of Enforcement's Market Abuse Unit said in a statement. Representatives of Heinz and Berkshire Hathaway were unavailable for immediate comment. A 3G representative declined to comment. The founder of 3G, Jorge Paulo Lemann, is from Brazil, but has made a home in Switzerland since the 1990s. He has not been implicated in any wrongdoing related to the deal. After the deal was revealed on Thursday, options market experts called Wednesday's trading "suspicious and incredibly well-timed." The suit marks the second time in less than six months that the SEC has taken action over a 3G acquisition. In September 2012, the regulator got a court order to freeze the assets of a Wells Fargo & Co stockbroker who allegedly traded on inside information about 3G's 2010 acquisition of Burger King. In that case, the SEC said the Brazilian stockbroker got the information from a client who had invested at least $50 million in one of 3G's funds. The suit also marks the second time in two years that controversy has erupted over a Berkshire acquisition target. In March 2011, Berkshire struck a deal to buy chemical company Lubrizol for $9 billion. Less than three weeks later, Berkshire said Buffett lieutenant David Sokol was resigning and disclosed he had been buying Lubrizol shares while pushing Buffett to acquire the company. The SEC dropped a probe into Sokol's trading earlier this year. The suit is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Certain Unknown Traders in the Securities of H.J. Heinz Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-1080. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Bernard Vaughan.; Writing by Ben Berkowitz.; Editing by Andre Grenon, Mary Milliken, Gary Hill) Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Warren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. Loomis Buy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hours Warren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George Pysh Buy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
Is M&A back? It certainly looks that way, if the past few days are anything to go by. Warren Buffett, with his 3G partners, has just spent some serious beans on Heinz Photo: PA By Telegraph staff 9:28PM GMT 14 Feb 2013 Warren Buffett, with his 3G partners, has just spent some serious beans on Heinz – $28bn ($18bn)-worth to be exact. And the Sage of Omaha’s in good company. This month has already seen John Malone’s Liberty Global agree a $15.7bn cash and shares deal for Virgin Media and Michael Dell put $24.4bn on the table to take private the computer company he founded. That’s close to $70bn in three quick deals. At this rate, we’re in for the biggest M&A bonanza ever, driven by a worldwide glut of cheap debt as governments everywhere keep interest rates nailed to the floor. Add in those glimmers of improved confidence – with the eurozone proving less troublesome, America drawing back from the fiscal cliff and China avoiding a hard-landing – and the ingredients are there for some M&A action, as the rip-roaring stock markets this year have already anticipated. But there’s also a danger of getting carried away. Each of the trio of mega-deals share two characteristics: a big personality and dollar signs. Related Articles Buffett’s beanfeast doesn’t necessarily mean an M&A bonanza 14 Feb 2013 The 144-year history of Heinz 14 Feb 2013 Buffett buys Heinz in $28bn deal 14 Feb 2013 Treasury put taxpayer at risk with QE 15 Feb 2013 'QE is still effective but we have other tools' 14 Feb 2013 The future is free trade 13 Feb 2013 None is a conventional corporate deal, where a management team with no great stake in a company has to persuade a disparate group of institutional shareholders to back their planned acquisition. And the big bucks being spent are American – though that could just be further proof that US economic recovery is a fair bit ahead of anything on this side of the Atlantic. Indeed, given that leverage on some deals is now approaching six or seven times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, some big tests are yet to come. That’s close to the level at which deals were getting done before the 2008 financial crisis – enough to test the nerve of most chief executives and their shareholders. There’s an argument, of course, that with interest rates so low nowadays the debt ratios aren’t as bad as they look. That’s plausible enough – until rates start to rise. There’s also something in the fact that major corporates on both sides of the pond have warchests of cash sitting idle – increasingly they will come under pressure either to hand the cash straight to their shareholders or to get spending. Apple, for one, is already feeling the pressure. Buffett may just have demonstrated that Beanz Meanz Heinz. But to claim that his deal also means an M&A boom looks a theory less than fully baked. Cameron will be taking the right people this time The last time David Cameron embarked on a trade mission to India, a little more than two years ago, it generated plenty of headlines, but relatively little business. Next week’s trip, which is being described as one of Britain’s largest ever trade delegations, could be different. But it will have nothing to do with the number of delegates. What could decisive this time is that the Prime Minister appears to be taking the right people. Rather than surrounding himself with 100 captains of industry, delegates will be split equally between large firms and the bosses of Britain’s smaller companies. Just as it is nimble, fast-growing businesses that deliver most of the job creation at home, these are also the firms that have the potential finally to kick-start the long-promised “export-led recovery”. To date, these companies have been curiously reticent about dipping their toes into overseas markets – and when they do, they typically opt for the crisis-hit eurozone rather than far-flung but fast-growing markets. Bringing a bigger group of these firms, along with some of the big boys, to meet potential trading partners suggests the Government has acknowledged that it needs to do more to help entrepreneurs take their first tentative steps abroad. After all, the point of these trips is to boost Britain’s flagging trade performance – and there’s plenty of work to do on that front. The UK has run consistent trade deficits since 1998. Record highs were recorded last year. Although there have been modest improvements in the export figures in recent months, the Government’s aim of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 is beginning to look like mission impossible. In the past 13 years, the UK’s share of global exports has fallen from 5.3pc to 4.1pc. By comparison, China’s has rocketed from 3.5pc to 9.2pc; Germany has increased its share; Sweden’s share has declined only marginally. India is a case in point. Emerging markets remain the key target, which makes perfect sense, given the way the trade winds are blowing. Foreign Secretary William Hague has made it his mission to re-focus the role of embassies in these countries, making them more responsive to the needs of British firms. UK Trade & Investment, the Government’s export agency, does some fine work for smaller businesses but far too few even know that it exists, let alone what it could do for them. Lord Green, the trade minister, has admitted as much and promises steps are being taken to tackle the “awareness problem”. In India, there are some inspiring examples of British enterprise. A consortium of 32 further education colleges is negotiating joint ventures to help India plug its skills gap, providing vocational trading for plumbers and engineers. A4E has won contracts to train labourers for skilled jobs in healthcare. Businesses will also need crucial support when they secure that all-important first deal – not least when it comes to getting paid. Small businesses are already suffering from big customers extending payment terms in Britain – throw a few thousand miles in the mix and the going could get even tougher. They will need sound advice and practical support in areas such as accessing credit guarantees. A handful of giant orders by huge firms next week won’t move the dial but proving that an army of small businesses has a genuine chance of securing tens of thousands of smaller ones certainly could. Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
By Soma Biswas (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife) Much has been made out ofWarren Buffett getting into bed with Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital in the $28 billion buyout of Heinz since Mr. Buffett has famously maligned PEs as financial engineers who don’t love their companies. But the Heinz deal is not a typical leveraged buyout. For one thing, the amount of debt they’ll put on the books relative to the overall size of the company, is quite low. Heinz will take on USD 12bn in debt in the deal, which is 42% of the deal value, compared to 60% to 70% or more in most large LBOs. Snapshot: Jorge Paulo Lemann Follow (53) #69 Billionaires Some Tasty Facts About Warren Buffett's Newest Company, H.J. HeinzMonte BurkeForbes Staff Buffett's Heinz Buy Is Weird, Trust MemergermarketContributor More important, perhaps, is the fact that 3G Capital’s partners, unlike those at other private equity groups, actually get in there and run their companies. At Burger King, for example, 3G was able to ramp up the fast food chain’s EBITDA to $503 million from $320 million when it bought the company, all in the space of a year. How did they do it? Especially when Burger King’s prior owners from 2002 to 2006, TPG and Bain, were not able to wring out all those efficiencies? I posed this question to a Wall Street restaurant banker, and his answer was: “The 3G guys are operators.” He meant this in the positive sense. “These guys get their hands really dirty in their businesses,” the banker noted. Indeed Daniel Schwartz, a partner at 3G Capital, took over as CFO of Burger King in October 2010, soon after 3G’s buyout of the company. That is different. Typically private equity firms buy companies, expecting to keep management intact, though they will change management in a heartbeat if things don’t work out as expected. Either way they hire others to run their companies. Of course, there are also similarities between 3G and other private equity firms. For example, Burger King laid off hundreds of employees at its head office in Miami soon after the buyout, according to media reports. This is what PEs have gotten a lot of bad press for — destroying jobs. But apparently at Burger King, it’s something TPG and Bain should have done more of. The layoffs included lots of names at the top. These folks were replaced with both internal and external hires, even one from AB InBev, the global beer empire where the 3G founders made a lot of their money. This level of hands-on management may be impossible for private equity behemoths like Carlyle and KKR, which own dozens of companies at the same time. By contrast, 3G invests in 10 to 15 positions, of which five core holdings account for 60% of the portfolio, according to a 2009 article in Barron’s. 3G is also likely to hold its investment longer than the typical PE, say people who know the firm well. The firm, founded in late 2004, made its first big splash in the US with a $3.3 billion buyout of Burger King in 2010, which it took public 18 months later. But 3G still controls the chain. Heinz’s slogan in its iconic 1979 commercial featuring Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” was that the ketchup’s taste was “worth the wait.” Will 3G stick around long enough to find out? It’ll be fascinating to watch. Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
Paying $72.50 per share, has the Sage of Omaha forgotten his famous value discipline? Published in Investing on 15 February 2013 This article was originally published on Fool.com. WASHINGTON, DC -- Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A.US) (NYSE: BRK-B.US) and investment firm 3G Capital are paying $72.50 per share for ketchup king H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ.US), in a deal valued at $28 billion -- the largest food group acquisition on record. The price represents nearly a one-fifth premium with respect to the all-time high price of Heinz's stock, and nearly 21 times estimated earnings per share for the next 12 months! Has Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett forgotten his famous value discipline and gone and overpaid for Heinz? "Price is what you pay, value is what you get," as the saying goes. What is Buffett getting in return? Well, Heinz is a 144-year old company with a stable of iconic brands -- not just Heinz ketchup, mind you, Heinz also produces Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, for example. Those brands are at the heart of Heinz's competitive moat, and that translates into wonderful returns: Return on capital has averaged 13% over the prior 10 fiscal years and average return on equity was nearly 37%! In fact, on reviewing Heinz's business and fundamentals, I was rather incredulous when I could find no record of Berkshire ever having owned the shares previously -- Heinz is the archetype of the business that Buffett says he looks for. Great business, middling investment? Still, one must distinguish the business from the stock. No matter how great the former, overpaying for the latter will produce poor returns, or even losses. When KKR acquired RJR Nabisco for $25 billion in 1989 after multiple raised bids -- then the biggest leveraged buyout in history -- it sealed its fate: the investment was failure. And speaking of leveraged buyouts... that may be one of the keys to understanding the Heinz acquisition and its price tag. Indeed, this is not a traditional Buffett acquisition in which Berkshire pays in cash or a combination of cash and shares and the target joins the fold. Instead, Berkshire and 3G Capital are equal equity partners, each putting forward $4 billion in equity; Berkshire will also invest $8 billion in preferred shares paying 9%. The balance of the financing will be provided by rolling over existing debt and raising new debt -- keep in mind that high-grade corporates are issuing bonds at near-historic low yields. Buffett also told CNBC this morning that 3G would supervise the business, saying: "Heinz will be 3G's baby." By the numbers I looked at completed acquisitions in the food and beverages sectors with an equity value in excess of $10 billion. Acquirers paid an average enterprise value-to-EBITDA multiple 14.7 (Note: Enterprise value is total value of the firm, which sums market capitalisation and net debt. EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Depreciation and is a proxy for cash flow.) At $72.50 per share, the acquisition price for Heinz equates to an enterprise value-to-EBITDA multiple of 16.4, so we are not far off our benchmark. While the deal doesn't look wildly cheap, it doesn't have to be: even struck at or slightly above current fair value, the quality of the business and the structure of the deal should ensure satisfactory returns. Give him the benefit of the doubt: Uncle Warren still knows a thing or two about value. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is known for his uncanny ability to spot a bargain and act decisively. After buying quality names at cheap prices during the financial crisis, last year he invested almost $1 billion in one of the UK's best-known blue chip brands -- a FTSE 100 giant in which Buffett now has a 5% stake. If you'd like to know which UK company tempted the legendary investor to make a rare investment outside the US, then this free Motley Fool report has all the details. What's more, you may still be able to buy the shares Buffett bought at the price he paid! Indeed, the company in question has increased its dividend every year for 28 years and currently offers a yield of 4.2% -- potentially making the share a very attractive long-term investment for income-seekers. > Alex does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway ShareholdersWarren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. LoomisBuy new: $16.66 / Used from: $11.95Usually ships in 24 hoursWarren Buffett's 3 Favorite Books: A guide to The Intelligent Investor, Security Analysis, and The Wealth of Nations by Preston George PyshBuy new: $12.99 / Used from: $16.04Usually ships in 24 hours
By Sean Bellamy McNulty:Wal-Mart (WMT) was all over the news today over a leaked memo stating that they were off to the "worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company." I first caught wind of this through Seeking Alpha's market current alerts, which if you're not subscribed to already, I highly recommend you do so. They are the best in the business for retail investors who want to know what is happening in the financial markets.Looking at WMT's stock chart, they have had quite the run. Below is the 5 year, 1 year and year to date (YTD) performances: (click to enlarge) (click to enlarge) (click to enlarge) The big move was made back in May of 2012, oddly enough around the Mexican bribery scandal and the attempted ouster of CEO Mike Duke, but not surprisingly also around the announcement of Complete Story »
By Little Apple:According to NASDAQ's latest data from the end of Q4 2012, Institutional Ownership of Sirius XM (SIRI) jumped 141 million shares. Currently, 482 institutions own 1,957,953,534 shares, up from 456 institutions that owned a total of 1,817,333,613 shares in Q3. Top 15 Institutional Owners of Sirius XM Owner Name Date Shared Held Change (Shares) Change(%) Value(in 1,000s) VANGUARD GROUP INC 12/31/2012 172,865,323 27,210 .02 547,983 WELLINGTON MANAGEMENT CO LLP 12/31/2012 140,713,322 12,403,250 9.67 446,061 SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS LP 09/30/2012 131,376,600 16,897,064 14.76 416,464 FMR LLC 12/31/2012 127,023,677 42,264,166 49.86 402,665 WINSLOW CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC 12/31/2012 124,012,478 124,012,478 New 393,120 BARCLAYS GLOBAL INVESTORS UK HOLDINGS LTD 12/31/2012 80,314,251 (7,273,397) (8.3) 254,596 COOPERMAN LEON G 12/31/2012 71,479,203 7,546,900 11.81 226,589 STATE STREET CORP 12/31/2012 60,022,765 1,049,754 1.78 190,272 INVESCO LTD. 12/31/2012 56,266,945 7,889,974 16.31 178,366 COATUE MANAGEMENT LLC 12/31/2012 45,794,813 (4,437,368) (8.83) 145,170 FRED ALGER MANAGEMENT INC 12/31/2012 45,224,130 17,004,984 60.26 Complete Story »
The U.S. equity markets closed Friday on a mixed note as investors juggled a battery of economic data that did not paint an overall positive picture.
Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HE) Q4 2012 Earnings Call February 15, 2013 5:00 p.m. EST Executives Shelee Kimura – Manager of IR and Strategic Planning Connie Lau – HEI President and CEO Jim Ajello – HEI EVP, CFO and Treasurer Robbie Alm – EVP, Regulatory Dick Rosenblum – Hawaiian Electric Company's President and CEO Rich Wacker – American Savings Bank President and CEO Analysts Charles Fishman – Morningstar Paul Patterson – Glenrock Associates Presentation Operator Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2012 Hawaiian Electric Industries Incorporated Earnings Conference Call. My name is [Anne] and I will be your coordinator for today's call. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.[Operator Instructions]. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session following the presentation. I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today's call, Shelee Kimura, Manager Investor Relations and Complete Story »
Warren Buffett's $23bn purchase of the food giant prompted a feast of trading and an SEC investigation. Will it find anything? Heidi Moore guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 February 2013 20) Heinz has been bought by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images When Warren Buffett, the investor known as the Oracle of Omaha,agreed to buy beloved ketchup and baked-beans maker Heinz for $23bn on Thursday, it seemed like the perfect corny American love story. Buffett, a billionaire many times over, is known for his unassuming style and his love of Cherry Coke and hamburgers, while Heinz is synonymous with cookouts and mankind's most perfect food, french fries. Unfortunately, it did not take long for thunderclouds to gather over this festive barbecue of a deal. On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating whether someone was tipped off about the deal early and tried to make money on the information. When someone connected to a big merger gets information before it's public, and then buys a company's stock to make money on it, that's known as insider trading. It is part of the SEC's job to chase people who commit the crime, but it's not easy. Insider trading is rampant and the SEC has long been too poor to do the job right. As a result, it has often caught the smallest fish – the guys dumb enough to get caught – instead of the brilliant masterminds among big hedge funds and investors that could outsmart the law. Over the past three years, prosecutors including New York's Preet Bharara have had more success tracking down alleged insider trading at hedge funds including Galleon by approaching it as they would a mafia case: elaborate, technology-savvy operations that include email scanning and wiretaps. Still, you don't need a Homeland-like setup of surveillance screens, Bloomberg trading terminals and flowcharts to know if a merger shows suspicious evidence of insider trading. You can play along and spot the main forensic giveaways at home. You only need the internet and the free stock charts you can get through Google Finance, Yahoo Financeand MarketWatch's BigCharts.com. Let's call it CSI: Heinz. The best part is that you don't need any math to be the star of this show. You just need the ability to spot unusually big numbers lurking among smaller ones. The first number is usually the stock price. The first thing that gives away potential insider trading is a giant jump in the stock the day before a merger is announced. The number of shares bought and sold – which is known as the volume of the stock – is also important. Heinz's stock price has been pretty pokey; it may well have been the most drama-free major stock in America before all of this excitement. For instance, here is a stock chart showing Heinz stock over the past five days. What it shows is that Heinz was completely flat at around $60 a share until the morning when Buffett's investing conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, agreed to join with investment firm 3G to pay $72.50 a share. There is an immediate sharp upward "cliff" in the stock on the morning of the announcement. That indicates that no one was moving the stock on inside information. Heinz doesn't show much evidence of insider trading by the criteria of stock price. (That doesn't mean there wasn't any, just that we have to keep looking harder.) However, there's another stock-related number to check. All of the stock-trading sites have a category called Vol/Avg, which tells you the number of shares traded that day, as well as the average number of shares traded over time. Heinz's stock chart shows that on average, 3.56 million of its shares are traded on any given day. On Friday, however, more than 6 million shares traded hands; yesterday, when the deal was announced, more than 64 million shares of Heinz were zooming back and forth across stock exchanges. That shows that a lot of people were interested in buying and selling the stock, which is completely normal when a big deal is announced. The key is to look at the volume on the day before the deal is announced. If no one knows a merger is coming, then the volume should be around the average. If we're looking for obvious evidence of insider trading, we're out of luck on the stock volume too. MarketWatch's BigCharts.com has "historical quotes", which tell you how the stock traded on any given day in the past. On 13 February, before the merger announcement, there were 3.48 million shares of Heinz changing hands. That's below the average volume, which indicates sluggish interest in the stock. No clear evidence of insider trading there. At this rate, CSI: Heinz looks close to being cancelled. A boring stock? Not necessarily It also doesn't help us that Heinz has been such a boring stock that speculators, like hedge funds, have not been very much interested in it before now. In this case, according to Yahoo and Google, the top 10 holders of Heinz stock are venerable firms like Vanguard, BlackRock and Federated Investors. These firms, which you may find in your 401k, tend to buy stocks and hold them. Heinz has been too dowdy to attract hedge-fund thrill-seekers, which explains why the stock price and the volume have been so flat for so long. OK, so the stock price, the volume of shares and the owners don't give us much evidence that there was insider trading. It's all very Mayberry RFD, just another pokey week in a pokey stock. Do you give up? Change the channel? No. Hang in there. The juicy part is yet to come. At this point, the professionals look at something a little more complicated: the options. Options are a way for sophisticated investors to speculate on the future of a stock. Options let them bet on what the price of Heinz – or Dell, or Exxon – will be in a given month. An investor may believe, for instance, that Heinz stock will be near $55 in June. The $55 is known as the "strike price". The other number you need to know about options charts is "open interest". This indicates how many options contracts are bet at that price. It sounds complicated, but it's an easy number to understand: it's like counting the number of chips on a poker table. The more open interest, the more bets are being placed. The key with options, like with stocks, is to look for numbers that look unusually high. In this case, the big numbers are going to be in the "Open Interest" column of the Heinz options charts, which are called options chains. Now you have to use some forensic reasoning. Buffett's offer was $72.50, so if anyone was tipped off about the price of the deal, they'd want to buy a lot of Heinz options at a strike price of $70. ($60 would be too low and $75 would be too high.) But that didn't happen. You can click on the February, March and June options charts and find that the $70 price didn't have too much unusual activity – maybe a little more, but nothing crazy. However, what stands out in the stream of numbers is this: all of a sudden, the day before the deal, the Heinz options snoozefest suddenly started to snort to life. A lot of people showed interest in buying Heinz at $65 a share in June. An easy chart at ZeroHedge highlights what happened on 13 February, the day before the Heinz deal was announced: 2,593 options contracts were opened, betting that Heinz stock would be worth at least $65 in June. (The ZeroHedge chart shows a slightly higher number, but 2,593 is where it ended up). According to the estimates of one trader, that number of contracts would have affected about 250,000 shares of Heinz – a pretty significant number. Maybe it was just a lucky guess? Maybe someone just had that much faith in the stock? It could have been. But there didn't seem to be much reason to believe that Heinz, that pokey, sleepy stock, would suddenly turn into a star. Heinz's stock chart over five years shows that it has never lurched higher than around $60 – until the day Buffett announced his offer. Also, there's the timing of it. One Wall Street trader who was watching the options told me that the first bunch of options contracts moved at 2:22pm on 13 February, with another batch at 3:03pm. In trading hours, that was only three hours before the Heinz takeover was announced. Now things are getting warm. To use the terminology of the CSI shows, there's enough there to start asking whether there may have been a premeditated move. "Is it suspicious? Yes. Is it, 'Holy crap I've never seen anything like this before?' I'm not so sure," said a veteran Wall Street trader who bets on the prices of companies involved in mergers and acquisitions. But he saw no reason to assume that the options trading in Heinz was purely coincidental: "The SEC should be knocking on the door." Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free Read the full transcript of the October 24 2012 Squawk Box Interview with Warren BuffettDownload the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Annual ReportDownload the 1977 - 2011 Warren Buffett Letter's to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Warren Buffett @ Amazon Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book by Carol J. 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