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Bulls & Bears
This past week’s Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Joe Battipaglia, Stifel Nicolaus; Meme Roth, National Action Against Obesity.
Trading Pit: Omaha Mall Shooting: Why It Won’t Scare America!
A tragic shooting at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska leaving America shaken - especially as the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear. Many fear the shooting will hurt sales and the economy. But do Americans scare that easily?
Gary B. Smith: No we don’t! Maybe if you lived in Omaha you might give pause to shopping at a mall, which is a normal reaction. But we saw something similar to this with the horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech. And after that event, applications to the school were up after the shooting. So if an event like that can’t stop people from going to Virginia Tech, then the shooting in Omaha will not stop people from shopping at malls.
Tobin Smith: We’ve unfortunately -- over the past seven or eight years -- had to talk about a lot of these kinds of events on our program. And the one thing we have learned is that we are not going to let insane people change our lifestyle.
Joe Battipaglia: This shows us that Americans are heroes. This also shows us that in the future (at a place like a mall), people will be more aware and will maybe go to the authorities more readily if they see someone suspicious.
Scott Bleier: What this event shows us is that women will still shop for handbags and men will still shop for electronics: that is the fact of the matter, especially when it is a disturbed person doing it. If this were a terrorist attack, we would have a different situation. And while people will never really admit to not wanting to go to the mall, this could help the online business model grow.
Pat Dorsey: On the margins some people might do more online shopping as opposed to traveling to a mall for shopping. But if that happens, there is no real economic loss. There is a psychological effect called the “vividness bias” where people tend to overweigh these kinds of events that are reported on in the news. But these events are very infrequent.
McDonald’s Giving Free Food for Good Grades: Smart Plan?
Get good grades and get a free Happy Meal! That’s the deal in a Florida County that is allowing McDonald’s to advertise on its report cards. And if the kids do well, they can receive free food.
Smart plan from the fast food giant?
Gary B. Smith: There is one problem with this segment: Meme has never eaten at a McDonald’s before! I love this promotion, and here is the reason: kids are going to go to McDonald’s anyway! Not to mention the fact that they do have some healthy food there. If my kids had this promotion when they were elementary school, they definitely would have had better grades!
Meme Roth: This is a great marketing idea, but it is unfortunately inappropriate and exploitative of children. It is a parent’s right to decide what a child gets for a reward in terms of doing well in school; it should not be Ronald McDonald!
Joe Battipaglia: There is nothing wrong with this, as there is a meritocracy in America up and down the food chain (so to speak). And children should be confronted with a system of receiving rewards if they do well.
Tobin Smith: First off – what incentive is there to getting a tasteless hamburger! This makes McDonald’s look like a drug dealer outside the schoolyard. And really the best incentive is cash!
A surprise 50th birthday party for our own Tobin Smith! The crew antes up with stock presents for the birthday boy. Will Tobin keep the gifts or send ‘em back?