Barron's Recap (3/24/12): Profiles of the World's Best CEOs
This weekend in Barron's online: the annual listing of the top 30 corporate chiefs, a look at Deere, International Game Technology and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, as well as growth in Latin American airlines.
“World's Best CEOs” by Andrew Bary. Barron's offers up its annual listing of the top 30 corporate chief executives around the world. You can expect to see names like Warren Buffett on this list, and indeed he is there. But this year's list includes a dozen new names from a variety of industries. Great leaders combine commitment, creativity, passion and an entrepreneurial drive, or as Buffett has put it, the best CEOs always think like business owners. The article takes a look at how each of these chief executives has mastered the job, as well as what they see ahead.
“Profiles of the World's Best CEOs” takes a look at the likes of Alan Mulally of Ford (NYSE: F), Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) to see how they earned their places in the ranks of the world's top chief executives. For example, Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) made the list because he was the visionary who built a business around cloud computing long before anyone else. The delivery of software via the Internet, rather than having it locked up on servers in some back room, has since swept corporate America.
In “Big Green Finds Fertile Fields Abroad,” by Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal, the focus is on Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE). The Moline, Ill.-based maker of heavy equipment for construction, agriculture and forestry has proffered seven straight quarters of record earnings. “Our business remains very strong, especially in large agriculture equipment products tied to corn and soybeans,” CEO Samuel Allen told Barron's. And he sees significant growth opportunities in construction and agriculture in South America, especially Brazil, and in central Europe and Russia. Deere has announced plans to build seven new plants around the world. The Barron's bottom line: Shares could rise from near $80, where they currently sit, to $100 in a year.
“IGT Doubles Down” by Sandra Ward suggests that, as more states legalize gambling and Asian casinos gear up, slot-machine-maker International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) could see an end to its long losing streak and start to pay off for shareholders. New casinos in Toledo and Cleveland recently took delivery of slot machines, the first of four new casinos approved by the Ohio legislature. Slots are also headed for new casinos in Wichita, Kan., and Oxford, Maine. And additional states are set to allow casino resorts, as legislators scramble for new sources of revenue. That can only be good for IGT.
In “A Pricey One-Trick Pony,” Neil A. Martin takes a look at Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN). Shares have soared -- they are up about 250% in the past two years. This despite the fact that the company depends on sales of its signature -- and only -- product: Soliris, a therapeutic product for the treatment of patients with a particular blood disorder. The company reported strong earnings growth in the most recent quarter, driven by soaring sales of Soliris. But the tough call for analysts is whether that is sufficient to recommend buying the stock.
Chris Kraul's article “Flying High in the Latin Sky” points out that Latin American airlines have seen rising demand. Economic and political stability in the region have led to an expanding middle class and a boom in business. According to the International Air Transport Association, the region is the fastest-growing airline market in the world, with passenger-demand growth of 10.2% last year. That is good news for shareholders in the likes of Copa Holdings (NYSE: CPA) of Panama, GOL Linhas (NYSE: GOL) and TAM (NYSE: TAM) of Brazil, and LAN Airlines (NYSE: LFL) of Chile.
- “Big Opportunities in Big-Cap Stocks” by Lawrence C. Strauss. An interview with Mark Finn of T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ: TROW).
- “Thriving Amid Volatility” by Eric Uhlfelder. A profile of Michel Dominicé of Cassiopeia.
- “Cutting Down the Cherry Trees,” an editorial commentary by Daniel C. Munson.
Columns in this weekend's Barron's discuss:
- Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) payout and buybacks
- President Obama vs. high gas prices
- Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) Larry Ellison vs. Salesforce.com's Mark Benioff
- The state of the health care sector
- A contrarian on Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM)
- And more ...
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