The combined effects of the hedge-fund incident, the SEC rumors and slightly messy accounting in the latest quarter have taken their toll. The result, though, is an opportunity to buy a highly profitable, fast-growing company at a relatively low price. Concord should earn a little over $400 million this year, or about 75 cents a share, on revenues of $2.2 billion. For 2003, the Street is figuring on roughly 25% earnings growth, to about $500 million, or 95 cents a share. Labry says he's "comfortable" both with the current range of Street estimates and with the notion that the company can keep growing at 25% a year for the foreseeable future. With the stock a shade under 20, you're paying about 20 times 2003 earnings -- not bad for a company growing that fast.Olga Kharif writes a similarly upbeat story in Business Week.
What is less obvious is one of the report's central conclusions: that financial institutions are contributing to the theft by failing to take obvious steps to prevent it. "The majority of credit card fraud is the result of financial institutions' leniency in the account-opening process," according to the report. It said thieves used victims' identities to open fraudulent accounts and then used those accounts, for example, to launder money.
Starting Jan. 1, 2005, the 12-digit bar codes retailers use to identify everything from cars to candy bars will go to 13 digits. The additional number (and associated bars and spaces) is enough to make checkout scanners seize up and make computers crash, perhaps disrupting entire supply chains. But many retailers have yet to focus on a problem that will require significant investments in time and capital.
First Data First Data Corp. (FDC-NYSE) By JMP Securities (31.85, August 6, 2002) We are downgrading our rating on shares of First Data to Market Perform from Market Outperform, as we continue to accumulate data that suggest the quality of First Data's earnings is deteriorating in every segment. The deterioration is due to a combination of increased competition, stepped-up pricing pressures, an over-reliance on acquisitions, and questionable acquisition prices being paid by the company.