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Archive for November 2008

FYE 9/30/2008 Pension Investment Return

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For S&P 500 companies with fiscal years ending September 30, the aggregate actual rate of return on assets for global defined benefit pension plans as of the end of the 2008 fiscal year was approximately -7.90%, a year of negative pension investment return after five consecutive years of positive return. Since these companies’ fiscal years ended before the worst investment losses of 2008, experienced during October and November (see, for example, the APM), the 2008 rate of return for the majority of S&P 500 companies, for which the fiscal year will end on December 31, will be even worse unless the investment markets recover significantly during December. Recent historical experience for the FYE 9/30 subset –

  Fiscal Year Ending   Actual Rate of Return
  9/30/2008   -7.90%
  9/30/2007   13.97%
  9/30/2006   9.13%
  9/30/2005   11.69%
  9/30/2004   12.90%
  9/30/2003   6.14%
  9/30/2002   -6.38%
 

Among the subset of S&P 500 companies with fiscal years ending September 30, every single company had a negative rate of return on pension assets for the year ending in 2008. The company with the worst pension investment return was Franklin Resources, with an estimated -18.99% rate of return, while Rockwell Collins was close behind at an estimated -18.53% rate. The company with the best pension investment return was Walt Disney, with an estimated -0.77% rate, with all other companies worse than an estimated -3% rate.

For this summary, rates of return are calculated via the formula used for the Form 5500 (although of course technically a pension plan’s Form 5500 and the corporation’s 10-k financial report are separate and independent).

(Remember, as I’ve previously disclaimed, posts such as this represent efforts of my favorite pastime. My formal work does not involve any of this, and none of it represents any position or comment that should in any way be attributed to my employer. Likewise, as always, it represents general personal impressions and should not be treated or used as formal professional advice.)

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Written by macheide

30 November 2008 at 2:40 pm

Posted in άctuary

Threesome

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Keeping all three of my babies busy this morning.

That’s Harry on the left, getting a few things together for the coming workweek. Being a secure government computer, the work I’m doing on Harry isn’t allowed to come over to either of the other two; nor are any of the personal computing activities being done on either of the other two permitted to come over to Harry.

To the right is Susan‘s Sony. Since I don’t have a good, up-to-date version of Office operating on the ancient workhorse that shoulders most of my own personal computing activities, I’ve booted the Sony up for doing a requested review of a powerpoint presentation Nat has prepared. If I didn’t hate the Sony’s keyboard so much, I’d have other personal computing going on in other windows on that machine.

And then there’s Sheeba daring me to throw her off my lap onto the floor again. She’s been having another rough morning. Another crash or two, and instead of using her for today’s blogging and whatnot, I’ll haul out the spare keyboard and run all non-work traffic through the Sony.

So, why all three within reach simultaneously? Why not just one at a time? Well, for one thing, I don’t even need to get that all-too-common we-did-it-again WordPress failscreen to know that I can get a hell of a lot done on either or both of the other two ‘puters simply while waiting around for WordPress to store and load up any new or revised post or page. One of these days, I’ll record a video of one of these sessions, and you can stop laughing.

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Written by macheide

30 November 2008 at 11:52 am

Posted in golem

Not As We Did

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Did the poster flow and was free from grammar/stylistic errors?

one of the grading guidelines
for a poster project for a UH class

Teaching by counter-example.

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Written by macheide

30 November 2008 at 9:24 am

Posted in vagblanc

Ta Ta, ChaCha

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Except for that strange 3-day vacation Sheeba recently took, she’s been crashing quite frequently this month. And on maybe one out of every 40-50 crashes – which means about about once every week – the crash gobbles all my browser cookies. Meaning I have to go back and unlock every single one of the various rooms I play in. Which means I have to haul out all my skeleton keys.

But [insert yet another Sheeba crash at this point in drafting this post] noodlenoggin that I am, I haven’t been making my passwords as memorable as I used to since turning into a security-conscious g-man. Yet although there remain scattered pieces of me chained to obsolete accounts that can never again be re-opened, luckily most of my current haunts will simply e-mail me a new password upon request, not even fussing at me for having to do so as frequently as I do.

Except for ChaCha, which just begs for me to mouth the words, “Don’t go there.” I was charmed at first, yes, even proselytized, then even considered putting a little spare time into serving as a ChaCha guide. Only then starting to admit to myself that I’d only really had a passing crush, certainly nowhere near any sort of devotion or love.

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Written by macheide

29 November 2008 at 12:07 pm

Posted in reprobate

FYE 9/30/2008 Pension Funded Status

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For S&P 500 companies with fiscal years ending September 30, the aggregate PBO funded status of global defined benefit pension plans as of the end of the 2008 fiscal year declined from the 2007 peak almost back to the 2006 level, as represented by the solid red line on this chart. As estimated using APM methodologies, the funded status for those same companies has declined further during the two months since their 2008 fiscal year ended, back down to 2004-2005 levels, as represented by the dotted red line.

The particular subset of companies with September 30 fiscal yearends has generally had an aggregate PBO funded status about 10 percentage points below that of S&P 500 companies with other fiscal yearends. This has nothing to do with the timing of the yearend itself, just that the particular set of companies with the 9/30 FYE happen to be among the companies with less well funded pension plans as compared with the rest of the S&P 500 universe. For comparison, the blue line on this chart shows the aggregate pension funded status of global defined benefit plans for S&P 500 companies with December 31 fiscal yearends, showing results for years 2003 through 2007. For all S&P 500 companies, including 9/30 FYE companies, the APM estimates the aggregate funded status to be about 85% at the end of November 2008.

(Remember, as I’ve previously disclaimed, posts such as this represent efforts of my favorite pastime. My formal work does not involve any of this, and none of it represents any position or comment that should in any way be attributed to my employer. Likewise, as always, it represents general personal impressions and should not be treated or used as formal professional advice.)

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Written by macheide

29 November 2008 at 6:45 am

Posted in άctuary

Decorated

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I haven’t been sleeping very much the past several nights. Can’t drift back off after waking about 3am, usually been giving up and getting up to work or read by 4am. Haven’t been finding afternoon naps within reach, except for a very brief one right after Thanksgiving dinner. But then am nodding off earlier than usual in the evenings. Enough days like that, and the whole cycle will shift, like some personal multi-hour version of daylight savings time.

Today, I’ll be checking a powerpoint presentation Nat wants me to review. But will do that on Susan‘s red Vaio laptop. After behaving for three crashfree days in response to being thrown on the floor, Sheeba has been backsliding, so once again can’t be relied upon.

Today I’ll finish decorating the foyer “Hallmark” tree, then maybe experiment quilting a slideshow on it. We need to finish up the week’s pool work, and I might trim a little in the yard while outside. We won’t be going to the UH-Rice Bayou Bowl, but will quite likely watch it on television. And I think we’re meeting Nat afterward for dinner up on that side of town.

In between, I’ll keep decorating the edges around here, probably with an eye toward graphing out some of the other data I’ve collected from S&P 500 companies with September 30 fiscal yearends.

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Written by macheide

29 November 2008 at 6:23 am

Posted in bedhead

Zen Tracks [30] Handel: Amen

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Zen Vision MAmenGeorge Frederick Handel, performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra and The London Philharmonic Choir – The Messiah
[4:20] * * * * *

Putting up the foyer Christmas tree takes up a huge chunk of my day after Thanksgiving. And I like to spend the first hour plus of that time with Handel’s Messiah supplying background music, volume jacked up to the max on my Zen Vision:M.

And yes, technically this finale isn’t from the Christmas portion; but it was still always my favorite in Messiah sing-alongs that did the whole thing beginning to end, and for the one time that excerpts were sung by a church for which I once sang both bass and tenor parts. Get this one anywhere even remotely near where Handel meant it to go, and singing along sends your spirit soaring higher than the angel atop our foyer tree.

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Written by macheide

28 November 2008 at 4:44 pm

Posted in vision:m

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