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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Ohio 'Slyder' Stock Index: Share Prices Vs. The Cost Of A Sackful Of White Castle Burgers

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The burgers are icons familiar to nearly all Americans. A takeout menu from the White Castle restaurant on William Howard Taft Road in Cincinnati -- yes, he was a president from Ohio -- shows a sackful of 10 hamburgers costs $5.45. The Daily Bellwether is inventing a new stock index today. For example, at today's closing price of $10.78, a share of General Motors is worth 1.98 sacks of White Castles. The New York Times comes in at 2.76 sacks; Procter & Gamble at 11.67.

White Castle has trademarked the word "slyder," as the nickname for its burgers. But everybody seems to think it is spelled s-l-i-d-e-r, from the root word slide, which means to slip down a slope. So the index is perfect for tracking interesting market trends involving Ohio's publicly traded corporations.Today, for example, Cincinnati-based newspaper and TV giant E.W. Scripps Co., rose 24 cents on the New York Stock Exchange. That would buy just over half a burger. The share price at the final bell, $3.32, is valued at 61% of a sackful of White Castles.

Across the U.S., Scripps (NYSE:SSP) has about 7,200 employees at newspapers and TV stations in cities from Denver to Phoenix, Cleveland to Tampa. The fact that Americans seem willing to pay more for a sackful of White Castles than a share in their company certainly must be encouraging and comforting news to the journalists, executives and all others who toil for the Ohio-based media corporation. Are the salaries of the executives at E.W. Scripps in line with what White Castle managers earn? Is it possible that local news TV anchors -- a breed known for self-importance -- are on a par with burger flippers, or perhaps really not as valuable to society as those who stuff "slyders" into the paper sacks? At White Castle, a large milk shake costs $3.29. That's just three cents less than a Scripps' share today.

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