Forecasting Markets: The Capital Update for 2005
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Not a whiff of irrational exuberance escapes from this panel, veterans all of the economic rollercoaster of the 1990s. Carol Vallone, CEO of a well-capitalized, web-based higher learning company, has words of caution and advice on how to build a company to the pre-IPO stage. “Be a category killer in your primary market,” she counsels, so don’t disperse energies into other markets. Focus not on new customers but on “how many customers you can keep.” Also, it’s not the partners with deep pockets who matter the most, but “deep partners” from whom you can borrow technologies, and who lend visibility.
Daphne Dufresne deems 2004 something of a comeback year for venture capital funding. Ninety three companies raised $11 billion in public market – almost half of those companies in information technology, with life sciences a close second. Her predictions the coming year: “Technology will still drive the majority of investment dollars” and a “growing economy will foster open IPO markets and merger and acquisition opportunities.”
Oscar Jazdowski detects a momentum shift – as investors become more confident, debt financing of young, emerging companies will grow. He sees “a phenomenal injection of capital” in businesses with no revenues, and frets about a building debt bubble, “precursor of disaster to come.” Yet he remains bullish on 2005, predicting an 11% increase in the Dow and a 30% increase for the tech heavy NASDAQ.
T.L. Stebbins anticipates a weakening dollar, broadly affecting the economy: “This is getting to a point where people will not continue to invest foreign currencies into the U.S. market.” In spite of massive tax cuts, the U.S. experienced only a “tepid recovery.” Expect higher interest rates, says Stebbins, and economic growth “moderated by financial constraints and a volatile international situation.”
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