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  America's bond markets are due for scrutiny--and competition

  CURIOUSLY, bonds were the first products traded on the New York Stock Exchange NYSE back in 1792. It took the exchange 30 years to put the "stock" in it

  s name. The exchange lost any significant stake in the bond business generations ago. Now, though, caught in a war over the cost of trading shares, the NYSE quite rightly is looking at other markets with fatter spreads. And its attention has settled on old haunts. It has begun talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC over permission to trade thousands of unlisted corporate bonds.

  The obvious attraction of the bond market is its size: some $10 trillion-worth of corporate bonds traded in 2003, a quarter more than the trading volume on the NYSE. And yet the bond market's size and maturity ought to mean that there are no rich pickings left. It has been hard, though, to tell how efficient bond markets are. In contrast to equities, information on the price of dealing in bonds has been scarce.

  That began to change two years ago when the National Association of Securities Dealers began collecting transaction prices. This month the SEC released a study, based on these data, by its own Amy Edwards and Michael Piwowar, and Lawrence Harris of the University of Southern California. For all but the largest investors, trading bonds is many times more expensive than trading stocks. This is odd. In theory bonds should be no more expensive to trade than equities.

  Even before sales commissions, the spread between what investors receive when selling $20,000-worth of corporate bonds and what they pay when buying is about 1.4%, or about one-quarter of a year's return. Costs are still higher in the convertible-bond market. And in the municipal-bond market, the spread reaches 2%, according to a similar study published by the SEC in the summer. All told, this is at least four times as expensive as a typical retail equity trade. The prices of most corporate bonds are reported soon after trading. But for the portion of the corporate-bond market where prices are still not required to be reported, a $2 trillion segment in 2003, the study reckons investors paid an additional $1 billion in trading costs.

  When trades are reported through the NASD, according to the study, trading costs fall by 10% to 14%. And that is only a start, because the NASD system is glacially slow, reporting prices with a 30-minute delay. Meanwhile, only dealers know where the market is trading. With immediate disclosure, says Mr Harris, transaction costs would undoubtedly fall farther. The benefits, he notes, would not be just to investors but to companies, because lower sales costs would make their debt more attractive to buyers. Bond dealers have long resisted efforts to shine a light on their markets. The study indicates why. For the NYSE, opportunity knocks.

  Economist; 10/16/2004, Vol. 373 Issue 8397, p70-70, 1/2p


  bound market 債券市場

  due adj.常與for連用適當的;合適的;被期望的;約定、預期的

  scrutiny [5skru:tInI; [email protected] 5skru:tEnI] n. 細閱;詳細檢查;仔細研究

  New York Stock Exchange NYSE 紐約證券交易所

  Securities and Exchange Commission 美國證券交易委員會

  National Association of Securities Dealers NASD 美國全國證券交易商協會

  spread n.差額;進出差價

  haunt n. 常去的地方; 動物等的棲息處; 罪犯等的巢穴

  pickings pl n. 外快,臨時收入

  all told 一共;總計

  market n. 證券或商品的交易,買賣

  shine a light on sth. v. 使某事清楚明白地顯示出來

  opportunity knocks機不可失,失不再來;鴻運當頭




  奇怪的是,早在1792 年,債券就是紐約證券交易所NYSE交易的第一個品種。紐約證券交易所用了30 年時間才給它起了個“股票”的名字。紐約證券交易所早在幾十年前就在證券交易方面損失了任何有分量的股票。不過,深陷股票交易成本之戰中的紐約證券交易所目前正以相當正確的態度看待其它進出差價較大的市場。現在,它把注意力集中到了原來的老地方。它已開始與美國證券交易委員會商討,請求它允許自己的交易所經營未上市公司債券。

  債券市場顯而易見的吸引力是它的規模:價值約10 兆美元的公司債券在2003年進行了交易,這一數字比紐約證券交易所的交易額高四分之一。然而,債券市場的規模和成熟程度必須有明顯的跡象表明,這個市場還有豐厚的油水可撈。然而,債券市場的效益到底有多高還很難下定論。與公司股權相比,有關債券交易價格的資訊還很缺乏。



  根據這項研究,當全國證券交易商協會NASD報告了交易額後,交易成本下降了10%到14%。而這僅僅是開始,因為全國證券交易商協會系統執行的速度是極度緩慢的,價格報告要滯後30分鐘。在這段時間, 只有經銷商才知道證券在何處交易。哈里斯先生說,如果當即披露價格,交易成本無疑還會下降。他注意到,受益的不僅僅是投資者,公司也同樣受益,因為較低的交易成本會使他們的債務對買家更具吸引力。長期以來,債券經銷商一直不遺餘力地抵制一切試圖使這一市場更加透明化的努力。這項研究報告道出了箇中的奧祕。對紐約股票交易所來說就是機不可失,失不再來。

  :Fast-food succession

  Another change at the top

  CHARLIE BELL became chief executive of McDonald's in April. Within a month doctors told him that he had colorectal cancer. After stockmarket hours on Nove

  mber 22nd, the fast-food firm said he had resigned; it would need a third boss in under a year. Yet when the market opened, its share price barely dipped then edged higher. After all, McDonald's had, again, shown how to act swiftly and decisively in appointing a new boss.

  Mr Bell himself got the top job when Jim Cantalupo died of a heart attack hours before he was due to address a convention of McDonald's franchisees. Mr Cantalupo was a McDonald's veteran brought out of retirement in January 2003 to help remodel the firm after sales began falling because of dirty restaurants, indifferent service and growing concern about junk food. He devised a recovery plan, backed by massive marketing, and promoted Mr Bell to chief operating officer. When Mr Cantalupo died, a rapidly convened board confirmed Mr Bell, a 44-year-old Australian already widely seen as his heir apparent, in the top job. The convention got its promised chief executive's address, from the firm's first non-American leader.

  Yet within weeks executives had to think about what to do if Mr Bell became too ill to continue. Perhaps Mr Bell had the same thing on his mind: he usually introduced Jim Skinner, the 60-year-old vice-chairman, to visitors as the "steady hand at the wheel". Now Mr Skinner pictured, an expert on the firm's overseas operations, becomes chief executive, and Mike Roberts, head of its American operations, joins the board as chief operating officer.

  Is Mr Roberts now the new heir apparent? Maybe. McDonald's has brought in supposedly healthier choices such as salads and toasted sandwiches worldwide and, instead of relying for most of its growth on opening new restaurants, has turned to upgrading its 31,000 existing ones. America has done best at this; under Mr Roberts, like-for-like sales there were up by 7.5% in October on a year earlier.

  The new team's task is to keep the revitalisation plan on course, especially overseas, where some American brands are said to face political hostility from consumers. This is a big challenge. Is an in-house succession the best way to tackle it? Mr Skinner and Mr Roberts are both company veterans, having joined in the 1970s. Some recent academic studies find that the planned succession of a new boss groomed from within, such as Mr Bell and now arguably Mr Roberts, produces better results than looking hastily, or outside, for one. McDonald's smooth handling of its serial misfortunes at the top certainly seems to prove the point. Even so, everyone at McDonald's must be hoping that it will be a long time before the firm faces yet another such emergency.

  Economist; 11/27/2004, Vol. 373 Issue 8403, p64-65, 2p, 1c

  注1:本文選自Economist;11/27/2004, p64-65, 2p, 1c;

  注2:本文習題命題模仿2000年真題text 1第1題1,1995年真題text 1第2題2,2002年真題text 2第2題3,1998年真題text 2第2題4和1999年真題text 1第4題5;

  1.The main reason for the constant change at the top of McDonald is ________.

  [A] the board’s interference

  [B] the falling sales

  [C] the health problems of the chief executives

  [D] the constant change of its share price

  2.Which of the following was NOT a cause of the falling sales of McDonald?

  [A] the change of the chief executive

  [B] people’s concern about junk food

  [C] dirty restaurant

  [D] indifferent service

  3.The phrase “heir apparent” Line 7, Paragraph 2 in the article most probably


  [A] someone who has the same ideas, aims and style with a person

  [B] someone who has the unalienable right to receive the family title

  [C] someone who is appointed as a heir of a person

  [D] someone who is likely to take over a person’s position when that person leaves

  4.In terms of succession at the top, McDonald_________.

  [A] has had to made rather hasty decisions

  [B] prefers to appoint a new boss from within

  [C] acts in a quick and unreasonable way

  [D] surprises all the people with its decisions

  5.Toward McDonald’s reaction to emergencies at the top, the writer’s attitude can be said to be___________.

  [A] indifferent

  [B] doubtful

  [C] objective

  [D] praiseful

  答案:C A D B D




  colorectal: [9kEJlE`rektEl] adj. [解]結腸直腸的

  franchisee: [9frAntFaI`zi:] n. 總經銷商, 有代銷權的人或團體

  veteran: [5vetErEn] n. 老資格;老手

  heirs apparent: 有繼承權的人;公認的繼任者

  like-for-like: 同類的

  revitalization: [] n. 振興;復興

  in-house: [in5haus] adj. 內部的

  groom: [^ru:m] v. 培訓;培植


  1. Mr Cantalupo was a McDonald's veteran brought out of retirement in January 2003 to help remodel the firm after sales began falling because of dirty restaurants, indifferent service and growing concern about junk food.

  主體句式:Mr. Canalupo was a McDonald’s veteran.

  結構分析:這是一個複雜句,表語veteran後面有一個過去分詞短語brought out of retirement作後置定語,這個定語還帶有自己的兩個狀語,一個是不定式短語做目的狀語,另外一個是after引導的時間狀語從句,這個從句中還有一個because of引導的原因狀語。bring sb. out of retirement的意思是“將某人從退休狀態召回”。


  2. Even so, everyone at McDonald's must be hoping that it will be a long time before the firm faces yet another such emergency.

  主體句式:everyone must be hoping that…

  結構分析:這個句子中包含一個由that引導的賓語從句和由before引導的狀語從句。這個句子的難點在before這個詞的理解上。通常before可以譯為“才”。例如:It had been two days before I realized the problem. 過了兩天我才意識到這個問題。



  1. 答案為C,屬事實細節題。文章第一段提及Charlie Bell辭職的原因是他患了直腸癌;接著又在第二段說他升任總裁是因為他的前任在準備講演時因為心臟病突發而去世。這樣,麥當勞在一年內就不得不尋找第三位總裁。可見麥當勞高層頻繁更換人員的原因是這些總裁的健康問題。

  2. 答案為A,屬事實細節題。可參見文章第二段第四行because of…後面的部分。

  3. 答案為D,屬猜詞題。根據上下文,Charlie Bell被Jim Cantalupo提拔為營運長之後,被廣泛視為是他的heir apparent,接著作者在第四段發問,現任的營運長會不會是現任總裁的heir apparent呢?顯然,這個片語的意思應該是“接替某人職位”的人。

  4. 答案為B,屬推理判斷題。根據文章,三位總裁都是在麥當勞內部管理人才,而且下一位繼任者也已經內定,這種內部選定繼任者的辦法幫助麥當勞在一連串不幸事件發生後能夠平穩交接。可見麥當勞更願意從內部任命新老闆。

  5. 答案為D,屬推理判斷題。作者在第一段末評論麥當勞的行動時說道:“麥當勞又一次顯示了其在任命新老闆方面的快速決斷能力。”在文末對麥當勞的內部接任方式進行總結時,作者引用某些學術研究的成果,認為這種方式的效果更好,並以“麥當勞在高層發生一連串的不幸事件後能夠平靜地交接似乎清楚地證明了這一點。”來加以說明。可見作者對於麥當勞處理類似發生在高層的突發事件的反應是持讚揚態度的。



  貝爾先生本人是在吉姆·坎塔盧波Jim Cantalupo死於心臟病突發之後得到這一高層職位的。當時坎塔盧波正準備在幾個小時之後的麥當勞特許經銷商會議上致詞。坎塔盧波在麥當勞工作過多年,在公司因為餐廳環境不衛生,服務態度差,以及人們對“垃圾食品”的不斷質疑導致業績下降之後,2003年他被從退休中召回,幫助公司進行改革。他制定了一項在大規模營銷基礎上的振興計劃,並且將貝爾先生提拔為營運長。坎塔盧波先生去世後,董事會很快開會確定任命貝爾先生,這位早就被公認為其繼任者的44歲澳大利亞人擔任這一首席職位。這次會議從該公司的第一位非美國籍的領導人那裡得到了其許諾的公司執行長的講演。