What Is Important in the Financial World (5/1/2013)


Global Consumer Confidence

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions for the first quarter of 2013, shows that there is no unanimity in confidence among people around the world. People who are unhappy are unhappy in countries where most experts would expect them to be unhappy. The same holds true for happier populations. In other words, the study does not tell much.

The report on global consumer confidence shows:

"Economic perceptions signaled positive momentum as global job prospects, personal finances, and spending intentions cautiously edged up in Q1 2013," said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. "Encouraged by positive signs in the U.S. economy and moderately steady performance in China, consumer confidence in developed Asian economies rebounded strongly last quarter, as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan posted double-digit confidence increases."


Double-digit consumer confidence declines were reported in Egypt (-20) and Saudi Arabia (-17), compared to Q4 2012. Pakistan declined six index points to a score of 88, and United Arab Emirates dropped five index points to 108, which was the highest index reported in the region.

The likely accuracy about Egypt and Pakistan takes one breath away.

Yahoo! CEO Pay

The media has information about how much money Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer made last year, a sign of how difficult it is to report on compensation based on proxies.

CNN Money reports on Mayer's first-year pay:

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer took home a pay package of nearly $6 million for her first year on the job. In addition to a salary of close to half a million dollars, Mayer received a $1.1 million cash bonus and $4.3 million in stock, according to regulatory documents filed on Tuesday.

The Financial Times adds on Mayer's first six months:

Marissa Mayer was awarded total pay of $36.6 million for her first six months as chief executive of Yahoo, even as the internet company's board made efforts to quell shareholder anger about excessive pay.

In a proxy filing before Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting in June, the California-based internet company said that it would tie remuneration more closely to executive and corporate performance.

Ms Mayer will be incentivized to prioritize revenue growth more than profits or cash flow, according to the filing.

Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

Apparently two things will dominate the upcoming Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) annual meeting, where CEO Warren Buffett holds forth about his company, and almost anything else that is on his mind.

CNBC says about the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting:

Warren Buffett may be on safari for major acquisitions, which he likes to call elephants, but shareholders may wonder if his Berkshire Hathaway Inc has become the biggest elephant in the room.

Berkshire has grown to look more and more like corporate America, as Buffett expands outside its core insurance business into such areas as energy, industrial products, newspapers, and in February ketchup, when he teamed up with Brazil's 3G Capital investment firm to buy H.J. Heinz Co for $23.2 billion.


Some investors will also ask how long a man of Buffett's age, even one who recently beat prostate cancer, can remain at the helm of the company he has led since 1965.

"There is nothing the board can do to halt the aging of the CEO, but it has no higher priority than to prepare for succession," said Thomas Russo, a partner at Gardner, Russo & Gardner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which invests 11 percent of its more than $6 billion of assets in Berkshire.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: BRK-A, YHOO