American Express says its balance will rise

The basic business of a credit-card company is pretty simple: Lend money to customers, collect payments and interest, occasionally go after deadbeat debtors. But most financial companies never keep things quite so simple, and American Express (AXP) has made a big business out of the fringe benefits it offers its cardholders, usually in the form […]

Quick Take: A closer look at Amazon’s Q

Yesterday afternoon, Amazon (AMZN) released its third quarter earnings and held a conference call. The company also filed its 10-Q last night, but since it was filed at 7:35 pm EST, it did not show up in the SEC’s EDGAR system until first thing this morning. While we don’t read every filing — after …

Growing conflicts on conflict minerals disclosures

Two years ago, the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation included a provision that has begun to attract a lot more attention lately: A requirement that many companies evaluate, and disclose, the extent to which they rely on specific minerals that are mined in war-torn Congo and surrounding countries. The idea is to shine a light on […]

IBM visits the Friday night dump

On Friday afternoon at 4:38 pm, IBM filed this 8-K that was a classic example of a “Friday night dump”. Direct and simple, it stated that a decision had been rendered earlier that day by the High Court in London over a pension lawsuit that was filed two years ago and has a fairly …

Less independence at NYSE Euronext

This is a quick one, and one we almost missed: NYSE Euronext (NYX) just reduced the number of independent directors it has to have on its board — significantly. Now the threshold laid out in the company’s bylaws is a bare majority, down from 75% previously. In this case, “previously” refers to versions in effect […]

Second-quarter roundup

The filings have been flooding in since last week. As often happens during the rush, they’ve been so heavy that it’s a major task to simply keep up. That said, we’ve found a variety of disclosures that bear a closer look. Rather than dribbling them out, or waiting until 10-Q season is over, we’re sending […]

QuickTake: Alcoa’s mounting legal challenges

If you pay close attention to Alcoa (AA), chances are you may have caught the announcement back in April that it had hired Audrey Strauss as its new chief legal officer effective August 1. As the release announcing her appointment noted, Strauss was a senior litigation partner at Fried Frank and, earlier in …

The federal government and its impact on FedEx

FedEx (FDX) filed its 10-K this week, and several items jumped out at us. Both of these involve potentially significant unknowns stemming from actions by two agencies of the federal government: the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. First, the FAA, which of course regulates air traffic in the U.S. Late last year, […]

New legislation helps Sears, others with pension obligations

We’ve long paid attention to the Friday night dump — the filings that come in after 4 pm on Friday, because they’re often pretty juicy. But the Monday-morning dump is often just as interesting: filings that were technically filed on Friday, but because they came in after 5:30 p.m. EST, they don’t show up in […]

More export problems at 3M

We watch closely for signs that previously unknown criminal and regulatory inquiries are underway, or that existing inquiries have worsened. We’ve had some good success: In February 2012, we warned that investigations into United Technology’s (UTX) role in helping China build an attack helicopter had become a more serious issue for the company [PDF]. …