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Media Contacts

Idalene Kesner
Kelley MBA Program

Theresa Williams
Center for Education and Research in Retailing

Frank Acito
Kelley Doctoral Programs

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Market Line

Business and economic news from Indiana University

EDITORS: Contact information for expert sources is included. If you would like photos or further information on any of these story ideas, contact George Vlahakis of IU Media Relations at 812-855-0846 or

At IU's Kelley School of Business, MBA students regularly learn about ethics through an exercise similar to what top executives must do in every major company today. As part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, chief executive officers, chief financial officers and chairpersons of board audit committees are required to sign an "attestation" confirming the accuracy of their financial statements (quarterly and annual). Before every exam and presentation, Kelley School students are required to sign a "deliverable affirmation," which confirms that they have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on the assignment. It is a confirmation that the deliverable was prepared in a truthful and ethical manner. "Our 'affirmation' is the same as this 'attestation.' As such, we feel it prepares our students for what they will face when they graduate from the MBA program and enter top leadership positions," said Idalene F. Kesner, chairperson of the Kelley MBA program and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of strategic management. Upon entering the program, all students also are required to sign a 16-page code of conduct, which is enforced with the involvement of their peers. Kesner can be reached at 812-855-2707, 812-855-8006 or, and she can also direct reporters to students.

Holiday season retail sales will be robust and increase by 4.9 percent over the fourth quarter a year ago, according to a forecast released by the Center for Education and Research in Retailing in IU's Kelley School of Business. The forecast focused on traditional retail sales, but did not include automobile, grocery or restaurant sales. "This fourth quarter forecast is approximately the same rate of increase observed for 2003 over 2002 -- which was slightly over 5 percent -- but is substantially lower than predictions of 6 percent or greater increases released by other retail analysts in late summer of this year," said center director Theresa D. Williams. Frank Acito, professor of marketing and chair of Kelley School doctoral programs, added, "Since May, month over month increases have been positive, but trending downward. Assuming that this slight downward trend in the rate in increase continues, the increase in GAFO sales for the entire year should be about 6.1 percent over 2003. Compared to last year's 3.5 percent change from 2003 over 2002, this represents a more positive environment for retail sales this year." Williams can be reached at 812-855-1289 or and Acito can be reached at 812-855-1013 or

Political risk is often cited as a factor influencing financial markets, yet it is more difficult to empirically measure its value on asset valuation. A new paper published in the Journal of Banking and Finance attempts to do this by studying the stock market's reaction to announcements of business relocations of corporate headquarters, divisions or plants from the politically unstable province of Quebec to other Canadian provinces. "The ongoing political instability in Quebec, resulting from the province's separation drive over the last three decades, provides us with a unique opportunity to investigate empirically the impact of political uncertainty in a G-7 country," wrote the authors, who include Ugur Lel, a graduating doctoral candidate in finance in IU's Kelley School of Business. "Our results demonstrate that political risk plays an important role in asset valuation." Lel and two faculty members at Montreal's Concordia University reported evidence of significant positive stock price response to business relocation announcements from Quebec. Announcements of relocations from Quebec seemed to be anticipated, and there were significant price run-ups in the two-week periods prior to announcements. In contrast to business relocations from Quebec, firms moving out of Toronto did not exhibit any significant stock price responses around announcements, but did experience a negative drift in the stock price in the four weeks surrounding the announcement. Firms moving to Toronto showed a significant positive stock price reaction around the announcement, while the small sample of firms that moved to Quebec experienced negative abnormal returns, though insignificant. Lel can be reached at 812-855-0102 or

Upcoming economic events (with recommended IU expert):

The statewide tour of the IU Business Outlook Panel will continue in Evansville, Nov. 16; New Albany, Nov. 18; and South Bend, Nov. 23. (Jerry Conover, director of the Indiana Business Research Center, 812-855-5507,

Friday, Dec. 3 -- U.S. employment and unemployment data for November released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Bill Witte, IU associate professor of economics and a director of the IU Center for Econometric Model Research, 812-855-2080,

Wednesday, Dec. 15 -- Release of Gross State Product by Industry 1977-2002 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (Carol Rogers, Indiana Business Research Center, 317-274-2205,

Friday, Dec. 17 -- Release of November Consumer Price Index data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Bill Witte, IU associate professor of economics and a director of the IU Center for Econometric Model Research, 812-855-2080,

Some useful online IU resources for business reporters:

Stats Indiana -- An information service of the Indiana Business Research Center that is a constantly updated repository of data on the economy, population and workforce. Features include comparative profiles of U.S. counties and states, and maps. It is located at

Center for Urban Policy and the Environment -- A topical and wide-ranging resource of research and other information about policy issues, such as those involving land use, economic development and non-profit, located at IUPUI's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and online at