or acquiring the firms outright, says Edward Rogoff, director of Baruch College’s Field Center for Entrepreneurship. The key, of course, is to have a strong enough balance sheet to absorb the cost of such moves. “This is one of these cash is king periods,” asserts Rogoff. “If you have money or borrowing capacity, you’ve got tremendous opportunities to make acquisitions, to purchase assets, and to expand.”
Due to Congress’ wrangling, the eventual passage of the $700 billion financial bailout package, and investors’ lack of confidence in the global financial system, the Dow Jones industrial average has been on a roller coaster ride. Economic uncertainty has driven investors to sell their holdings, leaving once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for those who are not faint of heart.
Bold investors with some cash set aside for investment opportunities should be following media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and, of course, be to learn which domestic and global companies and industries have been beaten down below their true value, says J. Michael Salley, an investment adviser in Summerville, South Carolina.
Real estate is a maligned asset class where fantastic bargains can be found, Salley says. He recommends investment-grade real estate investment trusts, or REITs, that take positions in solid commercial properties.
For those with plenty of intestinal fortitude, Bank of America Corp. (BAC) is worth a look, he adds. Since the beginning of the year, it has bought two distressed financial powerhouses: Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. Once the market panic subsides, Bank of America could emerge as one of the world’s dominant banks. The stock has lost half its value this year, dipping below $20 on Oct. 9, but analysts predict the stock could reach $30 within 12 months.
Salley also expects the Chinese market’s recovery to be followed by above-average returns in years to come. He recommends diversification and stresses that in China, real estate and financial companies are on the risky end of the spectrum.
Regardless of the business climate, corporate professionals must manage risk in order to advance. In his book, Good Is Not Enough (Portfolio Hardcover; $24.95), Keith R. Wyche, president of U.S. operations for Pitney Bowes Management Services, identifies this element as a key component in creating a blueprint for one’s career. For example, he asserts that executives who are unwilling to relocate may limit their careers. “You need to consider what the best move is for you, what changes should you be making in your career to achieve your ultimate goals? In other words, do not let your current success limit you,” he writes.
Even in this turbulent environment, there’s still plenty of opportunity for career advancement. Talented workers will continue to shine, maintains Stefanie Smith, who heads Stratex, an executive consulting and coaching firm based in New York. “This is not the time to sit at your desk and lay low,” she says. “Make an appointment with your boss and ask, ‘What can I do in this quarter to deliver the results you need to achieve?’ ”
However, don’t ask for a promotion.