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By Jason Stipp | 01-06-2012 12:00 PM

Opening the Lid on Five Disclosures

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser unpacks announcements this week from the Fed, a faded blue chip, a struggling bookseller, and more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to the Friday Five.

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser said that several new disclosures came out this week that should be on investors' radars. He is here with me to share the rundown. Thanks for joining me, Jeremy.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome Jason. It's always good to get things off your chest to start the new year.

Stipp: So what do you have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well this week, we are going to talk about the Fed, Kodak, Yahoo, Barnes & Noble and finally, retailers.

Stipp: So the Fed actually is going to give us a little bit more information about interest rates, with perhaps some more communications. What does this mean for investors?

Glaser: This has been a big push for Chairman Ben Bernanke for a while now. To bring more transparency to the Federal Reserve, he has started doing press conferences, which is something that Alan Greenspan, of course, never did. But he also now wants to have each of the members of the Federal Reserve say, this is what they think the future path of interest rates is going to look like. So, not only a vague promise that rates are going to stay low until the middle of 2013. They will say, I think the rates are going to stay low until the fourth quarter of 2014 or 2015, or however long they think that these rates are going to stay low.

This is going to be interesting for investors in a few ways. First it's going to show just how much divergence there is among the governors. I think it's easy to think of the Fed as a monolith, but it really isn't. It's individuals who have different ideas--some people are more hawkish, some people are more dovish--on when we should start to raise rates again and how worried we should be about inflation. So we will see how big that spread is, which could give somewhat of a hint of how long it's going to take for rates to rise, and I think it might give us more of an early warning of when those rates are going to come again.

But I think that we need to keep in mind that although they are going to be giving these predictions, they are just predictions. They are not fact. If the facts on the ground really start to change, those interest rates could move very quickly; there could be surprise moves. So it gives us a little bit more information, but it certainly doesn't take away the uncertainty of the future path of interest rates.

Stipp: In corporate news this week, Jeremy, you might say that there were some negative developments for an iconic company. What does that mean for investors and what does it mean for the industry in general?

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