Market Overview

Barron's Recap (3/23/13): World's Best CEOs

This weekend in Barron's online: the annual list of the best chief executives in the world, and the prospects for Darden Restaurants, Sarepta Therapeutics and Seacor Holdings.

Cover Story

"World's Best CEOs" by Andrew Bary.

Barron's ninth annual list of the 30 best chief executives in the world includes leaders whose companies have outperformed the S&P 500 return during their stints. They are innovative, financially savvy chiefs who motivate employees and develop products that are popular with customers.

For two years in a row now, there has been a lot of turnover in Barron's list. Thirteen new names were included this time, including Yang Yuanqing of Lenovo, Leslie Moonves of CBS (NYSE: CBS), David Cote of Honeywell International (NYSE: HON) and Carol Meyrowitz of TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX).

Howard Schultz of Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), Alan Mullaly of Ford (NYSE: F), Larry Ellison of Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) and Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) made return appearances. And those disappearing from the list include Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), Joe Tucci of EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Lew Frankfort of Coach (NYSE: COH).

Most of the chosen CEOs -- 16 -- come from the United States. Another eight are from Europe, four are from Asia, as well as one each from Canada and Mexico.

The selections were based on the views of Barron's editors and reporters, with input from investors, analysts and industry leaders. Profiles of the 30 best CEOs in the world can be seen here.

Feature Stories

In "Can Darden Fix the Menu?" by Jacqueline Doherty, Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), operator of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains, is featured. As the company gets a handle on its costs and begins to turn itself around, the stock may be worth another look.

Andrew Bary's "A Trying Choice for Sarepta" discusses whether muscular-dystrophy drug maker Sarepta Therapeutics' (NASDAQ: SRPT) decision to seek accelerated FDA approval may have an immediate effect on the hopes of patients and investors.

"A Rewarding Development" by Jack Hough says that one likely outcome of tech and drug companies increasing their R&D spending will be higher stock prices for Forest Labs (NYSE: FRX), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and others.

Seacor Holdings (NYSE: CKH) has grown into a major operator of work boats, says Christopher C. Williams in "Betting on the Buffett of Barges." Here is how Seacor Chairman Charles Fabrikant is "catching the wave" as Gulf drilling increases.

In Michael Shari's "Join Us for a Cuppa?" the hedge-fund management team at Marwyn Value Investors is featured. They believe in keeping its portfolio companies close at hand. "Most of our companies I can actually lean out of my office and thwack with my hand," jokes one of the managers.

"Searching the Globe for Undervalued Jewels" by Lawrence C. Strauss reveals why the chief of the Wintergreen Fund avoids health care stocks and leveraged financials, but loves Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE: CNQ) and others.

"A Knock on the Golden Door" is an editorial commentary by Thomas G. Donlan in which he suggests giving priority to immigrants that the economy needs.

Columns

Columns in this weekend's Barron's discuss:


  • The financial crisis in Cyprus
  • Whether the fourth-quarter's profit rebound is a sign of better days
  • Water-treatment companies to benefit from the natural gas boom
  • The chances for a real turnaround at Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ)
  • A reduction in the number of online brokers
  • Black & Decker's (NYSE: SWK) 4-Volt Max Gyro Screwdriver
  • UBS' (NYSE: UBS) settlement with the SEC
  • Micro exchange traded funds to avoid
  • Whether small business is recovering
  • Growing support for an Internet sales tax
  • The prospects for more dividend hikes

 

Online Exclusives

This weekend's Barron's online exclusives include:

"Stocks Still More Attractive Than at Prior Peaks" by Seth Masters. The S&P 500 has reached 1,550, just like in March of 2000 when the tech bubble burst and again in October of 2007 before the credit crunch hit. See why the chief investment officer of Bernstein Global Wealth Management thinks the third time is the charm, that the stock market still has room to grow.

"Owens Corning CEO's $4.1 Million Sale" by Grace L. Williams. The CEO and chairman of Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), Michael H. Thaman, has sold 100,000 shares of the fiberglass company for $4,083,000. That came to about $40.83 per share. Thaman now directly holds 740,739 shares, which is a stake of less than one percent. This was his first open-market transaction in four years. Shares end the week at $39.72.

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