Duck! No I don't mean a quack, quack. I meant get down, look out for a huge blob of brown stuff is heading your way.
This one is so large it is going to make Enron and Worldcom look like Boy Scouts stealing cookies at a picnic. As a result of these latest revelations we are going to have to find someone new to blame. So far the blame has been on the World Trade Center tragedy and dishonest executives at a few large corporations. These are a pittance when you see what is coming.
Does your company have a defined benefit pension plan? Did you know that 234 companies listed in the S&P500 index do? Did you also know that they owe their retirement plans $78 billion (yes, that's a B)? Wait a minute. I thought they were supposed to put funds into it every year. They are, but they haven't. How come these companies are showing big profits and not meeting their obligation to their employees?
It's all legal and has the blessing of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).
This is how they do it. The company says they are going to make 10% return on retirement plans, but in 2002 they lose 5%. The SEC says they are allowed to project that profit over the next 10 years. If the company has a $100 million pension fund they put in their financial statement that they made $10 million in 2002, 10%. What happens to the $5 million loss? They deduct the $5 mil from the bottom line of the financial statement that now includes the $10mil phony profit and keep the $5mil as if it was actually there which it isn't. In reality the company now owes the pension plan $15mil which the SEC says they can amortize over the next 10 years. Talk about smoke and mirrors!
General Motors owes about $15.5 billion to its pension plan that is an amount equal to one half of the value of the entire company. Technically the employees own half the company, but my guess they will not see much, if any, of it. Do you think GM has the ability to make its current pension contribution plus another $1.5bil every year for the next 10 years? Quack, quack, quack. Not a chance. If the talking heads know about this they aren't quacking.
Once this becomes known not just about GM, but also the other 233 companies (and maybe yours) the stock market will be taking another dump. P/E ratios are now about 30 for the S&P500. When money is taken from their bottom lines it will result in pushing those ratios much higher which will further weaken the market.
Here are 3 questions for the owner, Treasurer or Controller of your company: What is the company's projected rate of return? Will there be funds paid into the plan this year? Does the company owe any money to the plan?
Don't let him give you a quack, quack.
Al Thomas' book, "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" has helped thousands of people make money and keep their profits with his simple 2-step method. Read the first chapter at http://www.mutualfundmagic.com and discover why he's the man that Wall Street does not want you to know.
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