Milwaukee Companies Taking a Beating

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Milwaukee-based companies.

Things started with Harley-Davidson. On April 13th, the motorcycle maker announced earnings were up 11% but that sales were flat. They lower 2005 earnings expectations and said they would cut production. The stock has dropped 22% since the announcement.

Yesterday, the highly recognized Midwest Airlines announced losses of 91 cents per share for the first quarter. They said fuel prices are up 36% over last year. On a positive note, they saw revenues grow almost 11%. Midwest’s stock is down almost 10% since the announcement.

Harley got hit because people didn’t expect the flat sales. They’ll be fine.

Midwest on the other hand I am worried about. They lost $15.9 million dollars this quarter. The company is only worth $31 million at this point. I am not sure how they can survive in this environment of high fuel costs and no ability to raise prices. I am flying with them in both June and July to do my little bit. There is improved quality of life here by having a local airline that flies direct to big cities. There is nothing that beats their Signature service. I wish them luck in the months ahead.

Online Accounting Course

I haven’t run across many online resources for accounting. I came across this site from West Virgina University and thought I would pass it along. There are 23 lessons. Each lesson contains content and questions to test your new knowledge.

These are the rules for keeping score. Best you know them.

Ginseng – Wisconsin’s Cash Crop

My home state is well-known as America’s Dairyland (contrary to what those commercials say). You may also know that Wisconsin is #2 in cranberry production. Cheeseland is also third for potato production.

One of the more interesting production crops in ginseng. It not unusual to see a couple of acres covered with the signature black mesh. It seems that our ginseng growers are having problem with counterfeiting; not of the root, but of the seal designating the product is from Wisconsin. Forbes has the whole story.