Some of didn’t get your morning delivery of yesterday’s column. It was a thing of wonder. (‘I wonder how anyone could write such a long column – and can’t he even count to 20? He seems to have missed 16.’) Normally, if you set it up with Q-page, at the bottom of the screen, it should arrive at 6am.

SYMZ

One of you who owns a lot of SYMZ wrote in to offer this article from the New York Post (‘SYMS MARKDOWN: Stock Sinks 40% on NYSE Delisting Move’), and to say yesterday’s column missed the mark. They weren’t delisting from the NYSE – and attempting to deregister with the S.E.C. – to save money, but rather to drive the price down, the better to take the company private at a bargain price and eventually profit from its perhaps $20 a share in real estate. We’ll see. A lot of other apparel companies are down sharply, too, even without delisting. But most of them lack this potentially valuable real estate kicker.

Richard Bliss, CFA: ‘Not just leaving the New York Stock Exchange but actually ceasing to be a reporting company. That is, no more 10-K’s, 10-Q’s and I guess no more worrying about the plaintiff bar since they can no longer commit securities fraud. It is remarkable to me that shareholders (and the SEC) sat still for this opting out of the protective umbrella of our securities laws. If you want to do something about this, encourage any fellow holders to instruct their brokers to register their shares in their names (as opposed to ‘street name’). If the number of registered holders goes over 300, they have become a reporting company again. But don’t become a group. I am glad your heart remains strong and not in need of BIDIL.’

NTMD

Bidil! Remember this one? The miracle drug from Nitromed that combined two existing generics into a single more convenient pill at six times the price? The stock was around $20 when we bought our puts, figuring that this one-drug pony just wouldn’t fly (trot?). And then the stock dropped to $2, so we did okay. Now $1.

Fred Campbell: ‘Don’t know if you noticed, but yesterday NTMD announced they had discontinued the manufacture and distribution of Bidil and were immediately laying off 90% of their employees. Based on this, you would expect the stock to drop precipitously on its way to 0. But, the stock was up 13% yesterday (90 cents before the news, one dollar afterward). Have you ever heard of a company’s value going up after admitting that their one product was a failure and basically folding up shop?’

☞ I haven’t looked at it, but, yes, giant lay-offs often buoy a stock because investors see lower losses. Maybe NTMD still has a little of its cash hoard left. Or maybe it’s just retaining a little value as a ‘shell’ – a public company with which a private company could merge, thereby to spare itself some of the hassles and expense of going public the straightforward way.

FLORIDA

Jack Rivers: ‘As a former Iowan I support Iowa’s first in the nation status because I think they do a good job. That being said I think you did a good job of explaining why it hasn’t changed this year, and why it might in 2012. Contrast what you said versus this Associated Press article appearing today. I sure am glad that I am a Democrat -a party that cares about and initiates sincere discussions to include diverse populations, rather than just avoiding them, like the other party:

LAS VEGAS – AP – A last-minute federal court battle over caucus rules demonstrates just how important a tight three-way Democratic presidential contest in Nevada has become in the battle for momentum headed into Super Tuesday’s votes.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are in a statistical dead heat in polling here before Saturday’s caucuses. And Nevada’s sizable blocs of Hispanic, union and urban voters could provide an indicator of where the race is headed on Feb. 5, when hundreds of delegates will be awarded in states with significant minority populations.

By contrast, Republican candidates have stayed away from the diverse electorate and unfamiliar electoral landscape.

WAYS TO MITIGATE THE RECESSION

Live beneath your means. Keep your transaction costs low. Vote Democrat.

 

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