WSJ By The Numbers - Sept.16

A compendium of revealing stats and the key leading economic and business indicators based on today's Wall Street Journal stories:

The rate of CEO succession in US has reached 16% last year, up from 11% in 1995, according to Booz Allen Hamilton.  Just 16% of Americans think highly of business executives, down from 25% in 2001, according to a recent Gallup poll. 

About 28% of CEOs at the nation's top 100 companies have been with the same company for longer than 25 years, according to Spencer Stuart. That's down from 64% in the 1980s.

Last year, 1 in 7 of the world's largest companies made a change in leadership, up from 1 in 11 in 1995, according to Booz Allen Hamilton. About 35% of CEOs leaving a U.S. company were forced out last year, up from 12% in 1995. (Why Corporate Boardrooms Are in Turmoil - WSJ)

After falling for decades, the number of Americans who smoke is stuck at about 45 million. More than 400,000 Americans die each year of smoking-related disease, making cigarettes the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. Surveys show that most smokers want to quit and about 40% each year make a serious effort to do so.

Smokeless tobacco is considered 98% safer than combustible tobacco. The U.S. smokeless tobacco market now exceeds $3 billion a year, compared to the $70 billion market for cigarettes. Only about 2% of Americans use smokeless tobacco, compared with about 22% who smoke. (Should Snuff Be Used as a Tool To Quit Smoking? - WSJ)

45 Mil.  US Smokers
The concept of a U.S. Big Three -- GM, Ford and Chrysler -- is obsolete. Toyota has pulled ahead of Chrysler by 200,000 vehicles in U.S. sales through August, and in July even outsold Ford. Ford expects its U.S. market share between 14% and 15%. Toyota's U.S. market share stands at 15%, compared with 14.2% for DaimlerChrysler as a whole, according sales figures compiled by Autodata Corp. There are more than a million auto workers in the U.S., about the same as in 1990. (Ford and Chrysler Show Dark Outlook For U.S. Car Makers - WSJ) 1 Mil.
US Auto Workers

Freescale Semiconductor agreed to sell itself to a private-equity group led by Blackstone Group for $17.6 billion, at 36% premium over Freescale's average share price in the prior 30 trading days, in a deal that would be the largest-ever leveraged buyout in the technology sector. 

KKR-Bain group, which includes Apax Partners and Silver Lake Partners, recently paid $4.3 billion for control of the semiconductor operations of Philips Electronics. Meanwhile Symbol Technologies, a wireless-equipment company, is winding up an auction to sell itself for about $3.2 billion. Motorola will be the likely winner in the bid.(Freescale Agrees To Blackstone Offer Of $17.6 Billion - WSJ)

$17.6B
Largest Tech LBO

Hedge funds now play a dominant role in the stock market, with 30% or more of daily volume coming from hedgies. But they're also taking a prominent role in bond trading. A study by consulting firm Greenwich Associates says that "hedge funds now generate 45% of annual trading in emerging-market bonds, 47% of annual volume in distressed debt, about one-third in leveraged loans and one-quarter" of all junk-bond trades. Not surprisingly, hedge funds account for more than 55% of all credit derivatives trading. (Bond Hedging - WSJ)

$55% 
Hedge Funds share of Credit Derivatives Trading

Residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities account for 45% of the fixed-income universe, according to Mortgage Bankers Association.  Mortgage-backed securities are bonds that are backed by pools of mortgages. (Housing Market Hits Portfolios - WSJ)

45%  Mortgage-backed securities
Natural-gas futures are off 68% from the Nymex-record high of $15.378, reached on Dec. 13, and off 56% for the year to date, hitting their lowest point in two years, $4.65 per million BTU. About 57% of U.S. households use natural gas for home heating. 57%
Natural Gas Households

Hedge funds now hold about $1.2 trillion in assets, more than twice what they had five years ago.  In 2005, the average hedge fund returned 9.3%, below the 11.4% average for the past decade, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc. By comparison, the S&P 500 index returned 7.7% last year. A record 848 hedge funds closed up shop in 2005, many of them hobbled by poor performance, according to Hedge Fund Research. 

There are about 7,000 hedge funds competing for investment ideas and good stock investments. The $10 Billion SAC Capital's trading accounts for 2% of overall stock-market activity. SAC pays securities firms more than $400 million in trading commissions each year. (The Hedge-Fund King Is Getting Nervous - WSJ)

7,000 
#Hedge Funds 

WSJ By The Numbers - Metrics 2.0

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