Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who Would Have Thought...?

NewsFlash:  America is changing.

Let me back up a bit.

I bought a bunch of New York Times stock while that company owned WNEP.  The stock remained with the companies NYT chose to administer the plan, UBS and Morgan Stanley.  UBS recently informed me that it will charge me $75 a year for the privilege.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I transferred the stock to my Merrill Lynch account, and while I was at it, I did the same thing with the NYT stock in my Morgan Stanley account.

I met with my broker last week, and we talked about what to do with the NYT stock-- hold or sell.  I'm inclined to sell.  It's been a loser, and it's worth a lot less than what I paid for it.  Unfortunately, I don't see it coming back.  As radio talk show host, and former Washington Post columnist, Tony Kornheiser says, "print newspapers are dead."

The one division of NYT that was making money was the TV stations, and it sold that.

During my discussions with my broker, I asked "Who would have thought America's greatest newspaper would be struggling so much?"  She sympathized with me, because her company has had its share of issues recently.

By the way, we didn't come to a final decision on what to do with the NYT stock.

Then, along comes Kodak-- perhaps the greatest name ever in American photography.  There had to be a time when there was at least one Kodak camera in every American home.  Kodak stock plunged Friday after rumors the company would declare bankruptcy.  Kodak denied the rumors.  Kodak stock Friday traded for 78 cents a share.  Heck, NYT stock is worth more than that, and no, Kodak is not part of my portfolio.

Kodak has struggled during the transition from film to digital photography.  It does have a solid line of consumer cameras, with a variety of other professional digital imaging devices.  A noted former investor, Carl Icahn, said a few years ago that the Kodak changes came too late.  It looks like he was right.

As we all know, bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean going out of business.  Still, watching Kodak circle the drain is just plain sad.