IPO REVENGE Shareholders have filed a record number of class actions this year, with nearly half the suits alleging IPO foul play. Investors can watch the bloodbath on securities.stanford.edu which offers weekly e-mail updates. But for potential plaintiffs, a partner at Milberg Weiss, one of the largest class-action firms in the U.S., offers a bit of advice: "We don't want grumbling or speculation. We need specific facts and inside information."
Federal securities-fraud class actions
'96 110 '97 178 '98 236 '99 205 '00 211 '01* 282
*Through Aug. 24, 2001 Source: Stanford Securities Class Action Clearinghouse
GOODWILL HUNTING A change in accounting standards is boosting earnings estimates and lowering P/E ratios for early adopters. The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1 for most companies, alters the way bookkeepers tally goodwill, a balance-sheet item created when a company is acquired at a premium over its net asset value. But don't let this accounting sleight of hand fool you. Stay focused on the free cash flow generated.
DOMINO THEORY Consumers juggling credit-card debt, beware. Your creditors may be ganging up on you. Even if you pay Citibank on time, the company may jack up your interest rate for falling behind on another bill. Citibank routinely checks customers' credit reports, and late payments on retail cards, auto loans, mortgages and even a few utility companies can trigger the hike. The rationale is that if you're late paying one company, you may slack off with another. Thanks for the solidarity.
--By Julie Rawe