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GFD Blog

The Biggest Railroad in the World

Although few people remember it, the London and Northwestern Railway (LNWR) was the largest corporation in the world for over two decades. The London and Northwestern Railway is the only railway to rank as the largest corporation in the world.  No less than Charles Dickens pointed out that the LNWR was “wealthier than any corporation in the world.”  The railroad became the largest corporation in the world in 1865 when its rapid growth and acquisition of other railways made it bigger than the Bank of England. The LNWR kept this position until the rise of Standard Oil in ...

A Billion Dollars Just Ain’t What It Used to Be

There are several people who have lost over $1 billion in the markets, with two people, Bruno Iksil and Howie Hubler alleged to have lost $9 billion, but I know of only one person who managed to lose over $1 billion twice.  The winner of this award is Nelson Bunker Hunt who lost his first billion in oil and his second billion in silver. And in each case, it wasn’t just one billion dollars that he lost, but several billion. And in both cases, Hunt blamed the government, rightfully so, for the losses he incurred.

Nelson Bunker Hunt was the son of oil wildcatter H.L. Hunt, ...

Ticker Mnemonics in the Global Financial Database

One of the questions I hear from customers is how to find a particular file among the 150,000 files that are included in the GFDatabase. Is there any shortcut or rule of thumb I can use to find the file I’m looking for? The answer is yes. Global Financial Data has made the search for some files easy by using codes that will enable users to put together with some degree of accuracy the tickers that are used for different files.  This tutorial is designed to help you understand how codes are put together to create many of the most-often used tickers that are used in the GFDatabase< ...

The Company That Paid Dividends in Bars of Gold and Silver

We recently wrote a blog on Tom Moore’s Distillery which along with Park and Tilford and the National Distillers Products Corp. paid dividends in whiskey to their shareholders. Companies are not required to pay out cash dividends, and they can pay out in-kind dividends in any way they want. Back in the 1980s, Ranchers Exploration and Development Corp. paid their dividends in bars of gold and silver!

From Uranium to Copper to Silver

Ranchers Exploration and Development Corp. incorporated in New Mexico in 1954.  The company operated several uranium mines in Ne ...

Sears: The Amazon of the Twentieth Century

Sears Holding Co. filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 15, 2018 to avoid a $134 million debt payment.  Thus, an American icon which issued its first catalog in 1887 and opened its first store in 1925 came to an end.  Between 1906 when the company had the largest retail IPO in the United States up until that time and 1972 when the stock peaked, Sears’ stock market capitalization increased over 1200-fold from $15 million in 1906 to $18 billion in 1972. The stock price rose 2000-fold providing a 12% annual return between 1908 and 1972.  After reinves ...

Moore Whiskey Dividends

Although most dividends are paid in cash, companies are free to provide their shareholders with any type of dividend they want, including shares of stock or dividends in kind.  Although the people on Wall Street often behave like they are a bunch of drunks, that doesn’t mean they are drinking, or that the companies they have ownership in are giving away free liquor, but we have found three cases where that did happen.  Two of these, by National Distillers Product Corp. and Park and Tilford, have been covered in other blogs.

Whiskey Dividends

On October ...

Communications or Telecommunications?

S&P Global and MSCI are making some major changes in the GICS sectors which will be enacted at the end of September.  Under the old GICS, Telecommunications was one of the 11 GICS sectors which included primarily telephone companies.  S&P Global and MSCI are changing the Telecommunications Sector to the Communications sector which includes not only Telecommunication Services, but Media and Entertainment stocks, which includes Advertising, Broadcasting, Cable & Satellite, Publishing, Movies and Entertainment, Interactive Home Entertainment and Interactive Media Services ...