A Fool Looks Back

Woe is thee, economy
The news isn't getting any better on the economic front. Even some of the darlings are starting to show signs of recessionary wear and tear. In this past week alone:

  • Consumer electronics giant Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) talked down its holiday quarter, even as many of its smaller rivals have been scaling back or closing up.
  • Discount department-store giant Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) even lowered its fourth-quarter outlook, despite being typically considered a recession-resistant retailer.
  • Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) has been in a slump for a couple of quarters now, but when you hear the latte-pouring behemoth discuss earnings scenarios in which comps fall by 2% to 7% in 2009, the room gets chillier than a Mocha Frappuccino.

No one expects this to be a banner quarter -- well, no one in their right mind, that is. Consumers will be the ultimate winners as restaurant chains and retailers slash prices to drum up foot traffic; only investors will likely feel the pain. Quality companies are hacking away at their own fundamentals, justifying (in part) the market's markdown over the past year. Even a company like Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , which provides the chips that power most of today's computers, has slashed its near-term guidance.

When the scorecard becomes more about who is losing less than who is winning more, you know you're in for a looonng winter.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Now that the merger is complete, Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) posted results from its first quarter as a combined company. XM and Sirius together grew revenue by 16% during the period. The company's net operating loss narrowed substantially. There are plenty of demons to exorcise in the near term -- like several huge debt-repayment speed bumps next year, and a shrinking conversion rate -- but financial improvement is a blessing at a time when creditors may decide the company's fate next year.
  • Captain America is ready to take orders. Veteran movie director Joe Johnston has been tapped to bring Marvel's (NYSE: MVL  ) to the silver screen. Marvel settling on a director for a self-funded flick isn't typically news, but given the company's blowout success with Iron Man earlier this year, the 2011 release can't come too soon. Johnston's directorial credits include Jumanji, The Rocketeer, and Jurassic Park III.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

Stock news, financial commentary, and your daily dose of Foolishness: Get plugged in to The Motley Fool on Twitter!

Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Starbucks, Marvel Entertainment, and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Best Buy, and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield-wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2008, at 1:47 AM, DemianBohemian wrote:

    Yet another worthless Motley Fool article mentioning SIRI...

    The Motley Fool recommended XM as a stand alone company to their paid subscribers at over $30 a share and have been bashing the combined company down in the pennies day after day. What kind of pump and dump operation are they running? It's quite amazing that they release so many articles day after day with the SIRI ticker symbol in them. They have lost all credibility and are now fishing for hits...

    If you want some real research and reporting, check out siriusbuzz...

    The Motley Fool is a joke.....

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