Daniel McGinn

Stories by Daniel McGinn

  • The Intelligent Investor

    IN HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY CLASSES, STUdents learn to cut up frogs to find out what's inside. On Wall Street, investment managers do much the same thing, dissecting companies' financial statements in search of a stock's real worth. The most zealous of these practitioners call themselves "value investors." They eschew economics and stock-market predictions and search solely for companies whose stock is underpriced. Their intellectual father is Benjamin Graham, a money manager and professor whose work brought scientific methods to investing. Now, two new books are putting Graham back in the spotlight. One is a biography: the other tells how Graham's most successful protege, Warren Buffett, used Graham's teachings to make billions. ...
  • The Masses As Money Managers

    OPEN YOUR WALLET AND COUNT THE credit cards. If you're a typical American, there are between eight and 10 pieces of plastic in there, and you owe about $3,300 to the banks and stores that issued them. Chances are you're also obsessed with the mutual-fund listings and make regular appointments with your accountant, insurance agent and financial planner. ...
  • Scratches In The Teflon

    You can hear the sound of the pedestal cracking. After 18 years of the best reviews in American business, General Electric chief Jack Welch's status as management idol is slipping. News stories ask whether GE's ethics can stand up to scrutiny and whether GE's strategies make sense. Some of Welch's biggest fans wonder if he still has his Midas touch. Even Fortune magazine joined the revisionist crowd, with a recent cover story proclaiming, "Jack Welch's Nightmare on Wall Street: Like it or not, the scandals at Kidder Peabody were brought on by GE's management." That may not sound like abuse to the likes of Bill Clinton, but Fortune had specialized for a decade in the hagiography of Jack Welch. ...
  • Can't Get No Satisfaction

    In December 1991, Ray DeChaine got an ugly Christmas present. Wrapped in an envelope from his Merrill Lynch broker was some bad news. It seemed the $80,000 he'd invested back in 1985 wasn't worth $80,000 anymore. It wasn't even worth half that. This was a particular shock to DeChaine because he'd been a frequent pen pal of his broker since 1985, and the message was always the same: your nest egg is doing just dandy. "Jesus," DeChaine recalls saying to himself, "I really did get stuck here." ...
  • Hucksters On Air

    IT SOUNDS LIKE A CAN'T-MISS DEAL. INVEST less than $10,000 and get in early on the hottest wave in the Info Highway revolution -- wireless cable television. The technology is promising: experts say it should be more profitable than traditional cable because it uses microwave signals to transmit programming, rather than expensive underground wiring. But the fledgling industry has become fertile ground for scam artists. Authorities say more than 50 crooked wireless companies, adept at evading the law, are bilking investors out of millions of dollars a month. ""I feel like a traffic cop giving a ticket to one car while 20 go speeding by,'' says a government attorney. ...
  • Mutual Funds: Defending Your Bonds

    STOCKS MAY BE DOMInating the headlines, but they're not the only investments that have hit hard times. Bonds have been under siege since early February, when the Federal Reserve jacked up short-term interest rates to smother signs of impending inflation. The market remained in turmoil last Friday, when rates on long bonds took their biggest single-day jump in three years. ...
  • A Guide To The Planning Jungle

    IF MANAGING MONEY SEEMS COMPLICATED. lit may not be nearly as complex as finding the right financial planner. The struggle begins when you try to figure out the string of acronyms, from PFS to CFA, that some advisers flaunt. A handy guide to the alphabet soup: ...
  • What Makes Them Tick

    WHEN PAINEWEBBER introduced its new ad campaign in 1991, retail chief Joe Grano saw several thousand of his brokers do a double take. If you watch any television, you've seen the ads: a happy customer is telling a less happy friend how good they have it. One sixtyish woman tells another, for example, that she can already retire because her broker helped her plan for it. How did he know? "He asked." The campaign was aimed as much at the firm's brokers as at customers, says Grano, and that's where it got interesting. Brokers were thrilled to see themselves presented as important and sensitive. "Then it was, 'Whoa. When did I last ask?"' Brokers ordered 300,000 customer-profile questionnaire forms (that "ask" the right questions) in a year, up from 100,000 before the ad. ...
  • The Search For Mr. Right

    MOST BROKERS ARE AS trustworthy as Boy Scouts and hope to make you rich. Still, you should spend some time investigating a broker's background before entrusting one with your savings. Here's how to conduct the search and make sure you're protected: ...

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