Slap-up research
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Slap-up research

High-yield bond analysts usually resign themselves to a constant treadmill of visits to engineering firms, chemicals plants and pet food factories as they tirelessly assess the worth of the world's corporates.

But one man has a better deal. Howard Goldberg, high-yield analyst at Salomon Smith Barney in the US, researches supermarkets and restaurants, and has become a connoisseur of eateries all over America.

In the name of accurate analysis Goldberg and the Salomon high-yield team have toured chains such as Denny's and Jack in the Box, culminating in a visit to Planet Hollywood in Manhattan. "I'm now very much attuned to menu prices," he says.

Goldberg likes to inject some colour into the traditionally dry world of bond research, employing descriptive methods usually associated with equity analysis.

His latest publication on Perkins Family Restaurants, a chain of upmarket diners covering the eastern states, contains details of the restaurants' appearance, ambience and menu.

For instance, the flagship Minnesota branch has a "brick-structured tower, glass-enclosed sun patio, and stone chimney". "It gives the investor a better idea of what the business is about beyond the numbers," Goldberg says.

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