I have read most of the postings on this board and there is a trend of employee (if people are being honest in their identification)disatisfaction with the 401K plan and the payment of dividends directly as taxable income.
Will Ferro management or benefits administration ever give an update or feedback to the employees? As an investor it is important to me that Ferro keep an open dialogue with their employees.
Has ferro done any communication with employees on the 401 K, the growth plan for the company or overall plans to boost the stock? They may have done this internally and it is not represented on this board.
Ferro stock is a steal at 19.00 but only if present management can do what previous management has done and excite both the employees and the analysts.
Is Ferro letting analysts into their plants as they did in the past to meet employees directly? In the past I have seen analyst reports that included evidence gathered at site visits and they were very positive.
I would not expect Ferro management to use this board to respond. A press release would be more appropriate. Ferro historically is a strong company that shows profit growth even in bad times. They have solid product lines and decent market penetration. I do not see a need for an overhaul but minor strategy and communication tweaks may go a long way.
I rate Ferro a hold with a conservative buy for long term investors.
Two separate subjects. I was commenting on something positive: that management is trying to develop business strategies to keep pace with our customers in the e-commerce arena, moving ahead with the SAP implementation, etc.
You bring up some interesting ideas and if I may, I would like to add some comments.
First, Ferro can just send an e-mail message to all employees explaining what the 401k changes are and how they will affect their investment. In the interest of fairness, the return of the 401k plan must be clearly compared with a standard indicator such as the S&P500 Index. This is a simple matter to fix.
Now, we get to the interesting part of how to move the stock price in the right direction. It's true that in the past, analysts would visit Ferro and talk to the employees. However, we are in a completely new ballgame now.
The marketcap of the entire US market was just $3 to $4 trillion just a decade ago. Now, it is $17 + trillion. During, this period, the market cap of Ferro has gone up by perhaps 50 to 100%. Thus, the relative importance of Ferro as investment in the US stock market has gone down by a factor of three to four.
A decade ago, the US market was dominated by US companies. Now, hundreds of foreign companies trade in the US further reducing the analyst attention available for Ferro.
Another factor is the rapid growth of technology companies. The market cap of Microsoft is so large that only a 0.14 point change in it corresponds to the entire market cap of Ferro. And the growth in the market cap of technology companies is astonishing (if not insane). Cisco has added the equivalent of 300 entire Ferros since late October of 1999. Is it any surprise that analysts do not spend the time and effort to monitor Ferro closely? How are you going to create excitement with Ferro when faced with such overwhelming competition?
Let's face the unpalatable truth. Ferro as a stock story is virtually irrelevant in the current environment. Perhaps, a massive stock correction will change the situation. Current Ferro management will have to change their tactics if they wish to get any significant analyst attention. A stagnant top line and constant cutbacks to achieve benefits to the bottom line is the only dog and pony show that Hector can deliver (this is my personal and probably biased view). It's not working. And the new 52 week low that we set today confirms it.
The tragedy here is that the 401k plan is overloaded with Ferro stock. How are we going to fix this problem? How are we going to create a demand for this stock? You and I may see the value of this stock which is trading at an astonishingly low PE of 9. But why should Wall Street care?
Somehow we have to create a real demand for this stock instead of a synthetic one from the 401k plan. I object to the huge options awards that management awards itself since they dilute the existing stock and force expensive buybacks. But that's another story for later.
Full disclosure to Ferro employees and the opportunity to ask hard questions about the 401k plan without the fear of reprisals is the least that Ferro management can do.
>environment. Perhaps, a massive stock >correction will change the situation.
A massive correction back to reality in the Internet stocks would probably also have huge negative effects on consumer confidence, housing starts, new car sales, etc. Demand for Ferro products would drop across the board, and this certainly would not do us any good.
If one looks at the values of a lot of manufacturing (i.e., old fashioned companies of Ferro's age that actually make a tangible product) companies, many are at or near lows at the moment. There a few exceptions, but I think the sad truth is that the pre-InfoAge parts of the market stopped growing briskly a while ago, perhaps during the so-called "Asian flu."
I think the more relevant question is how can Ferro improve its products and sales and make money and grow and take care of business rather than all this discussion about the share price. Yes, it is important to retirement. However, I think the future of social security is very overhyped by the press, and one can always make other investments to diversify one's portfolio.