In qualifications-obsessed Germany, the baby-faced stockpicker Markus Frick stood out. When his first book in 2001 claimed the former baker had turned 100,000 euro into a million in the space of a year -- and that he could tell investors how to do the same, if they signed up for his seminars and e-mail newsletters -- Germans listened.
As a rule, life insurance is sold, not bought. Hence the plethora of geckos, ducks, and perky saleswomen in ad campaigns. Then there's New York Life Insurance Co., the $34-billion-in-revenue life insurer that leads its category in Fortune's 2010 ranking of the World's Most Admired Companies. It has played up its stodgy image, boosting ad spending by 24% with messages such as "We are built for times like these" and "We're Main Street, not Wall Street."
Whether it's watching Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart trade blows on Hulu, or catching up on the latest from the Disruptors series (shameless plug, I know) more and more video is getting delivered via the Internet.
After a week of pointed verbal barbs, host Jon Stewart sat face-to-face with financial analyst Jim Cramer on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and continued the assault Thursday. Stewart blamed Cramer and cable network CNBC for being irresponsible cheerleaders in the lead-up to the stock market meltdown.
Tontine Associates, the once gilt-edged hedge fund that collapsed rapidly over the past two months in the wake of the market's carnage, was renowned for its massive and highly contrarian bets in industries like home-building and steel manufacturing.
It was only five months ago that Cerberus Capital Management bought 80% of Chrysler from Germany's Daimler but already the vultures are circling. Stock market pundit Jim Cramer has become the latest to forecast disaster for the struggling automaker. In the January 7 issue of New York magazine, Cramer riffed on Chrysler's weakened condition and the skills of its CEO, Bob Nardelli of Home Depot, declaring: "Call the Chrysler failure [in 2008] a lock."
If you're struggling to find something that symbolizes the transition from the old-fashioned markets of yesteryear to the seemingly inexplicable wildness of today's derivative-driven, conduit-imploding financial complex, you need look no further than the contrast between old television's Louis Rukeyser and thoroughly modern Jim Cramer.
SIGN THE GUEST BOOK: Had some great visits last week. First, sorry to have missed Kiril Sokoloff, a man who knows markets and the Dalai Lama, who came by to speak with some folks at Fortune early last week. Thanks Kiril.... Then we were thrilled to have Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson drop by. Hammerin' Hank, was as you might expect, upbeat, yet cautious. Think about the spot he's in. You have to be thrilled with the economy and all, but just terrified knowing that it's going to end somehow, and not knowing how.... Dined with Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, at the Four Seasons. They've taken their sweet (suite!) time building that company and it looks like it's beginning to pay off. Saw Sandy Weill there, and said hello to Ralph Schlosstein, prez of BlackRock and Paul Fribourg of ContiGroup. Ralph expressed amazement that I was picking up the tab. (Nice one Ralph!) Also saw Steve Rattner, whose Quadrangle is the new owner of Dennis (Maxim) Publishing....
Question: I contribute to my 401(k) and also have quite a bit invested in mutual funds. I now have $10,000 to invest. I plan to invest $3,000 of it in an index fund and to purchase individual stocks with the rest.
I'm 26 years old and contribute 6 percent of pay to my 401(k), which my company matches. Aside from a menu of 18 different mutual fund options, my plan also has a self-directed brokerage account option that allows me to invest in stocks and other investments. I have the desire to invest and I follow the market news intently, but the minimum fees to trade seem high. Would I be wasting my time investing my 401(k) money through this brokerage account, or is this something that's worth a try?