Good news Good news

I love seeing three bits of happiness about Northwest business on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Yesterday’s (4/24/08) edition in the “What’s News” column:

  • Amazon’s net income climbed 30% on a “healthy jump” in sales.  Shares up $3 today to $81.  Lots of Amazon investors and employees in Seattle who are loving the stock’s jump from $40 a year ago;
  • “Boeing posted a 38% gain in profit” on strength in its commercial airline biz
  • Liberty Mutual agrees to buy Safeco for $6.2b in CASH.  While this will mean some lost jobs in Seattle, eventually, it means lots of cash for Safeco investors — of which many shareholders in Seattle have been behind the company for decades.  My father worked for Safeco briefly in the 50’s, and my wife’s first job out of Stanford was at Safeco (she got laid off…but managed to bounce back by taking a position at Microsoft).  Fisher Broadcasting (FSCI), whose founding family bought 3m shares in SAFC back in the 30’s, stands to have a huge cash infusion from this sale of their remaining 2.3m shares — over $150m for Fisher to pay down debt or to make other strategic investments.

To be fair, there as also a hit to a Seattle company noted on this same page:

  • Starbucks warned of lower earnings…citing weak economy

But I think it’s notable that in one day’s WSJ there were a half dozen mentions of prominent Seattle companies, including the above, and also Costco and Microsoft. 

We have a real economic engines here, which will continue to produce not only jobs, but also gains for a huge group of their shareholders.

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