Fools were out and about this past week in an investing world jam-packed with actions and ideas. Here are three articles you might find useful as you decide how to invest your money.
Retail Smackdown: Mac vs. PC
Fools Rex Moore and Joe Magyer took their show on the road to get insight into Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) foray into retail stores. "I think it's a bit of an experiment for them," said Joe, the advisor of Motley Fool Inside Value, where Microsoft is a recommendation. "Actually getting out there, trying to generate some buzz and interest in person is the real goal," Joe said. Microsoft might be looking for some of the mania that has Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) fans camping out at its stores when a new product goes on sale.
Rex was impressed by his visit to a Microsoft store near Fool HQ in Virginia. However, he and Joe noted that Apple tops Microsoft in terms of (1) number and geographic reach of stores, (2) familiarity of customers with its stores, and (3) products that excite consumers.
Watch the video to get the full picture of Microsoft's taking it to Apple in the malls.
This Sector Is the Dividend Juggernaut of the Future
Hold on to your hats. Fool analyst Sean Williams' pick for the sector to be the "dividend juggernaut of the future" does not include dividend stalwarts like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble nor the mortgage REITs that are all the rage among investors looking to line their pockets. Sean has instead turned his gaze to the credit card services industry, starting with MasterCard (NYSE: MA ) and Visa (NYSE: V ) . "As simple transaction facilitators, these two should grow like wildfire as consumers are increasingly turning to plastic to get their transactions done," Sean wrote.
There's a ton of potential for the companies to grow their businesses in emerging markets, which sets up the possibility for "enormous" dividends, Sean wrote. MasterCard recently doubled its dividend and has nearly $5 billion in cash, Sean reported, while Visa has $2.7 billion in cash and no debt.
Read the article to get Sean's full rundown of the potential bursting from this sector.
The Alternative Warren Buffett
Fool analyst Morgan Housel did a little wondering and a little math, looking at how Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-B ) Warren Buffett might have fared financially if he hadn't had such an awesome career as a stock picker. "What if the skinny kid from Omaha with $127,000 in 1955 didn't spend the next half-century devoted to stock-picking, business-building, and market-beating," Morgan asked. "What if Buffett instead did something more traditional with his money, like put it in an index fund, Treasury bonds, gold, or cash?"
In one of those scenarios, perhaps akin to your own asset allocation, Morgan looked at a $127,000 1955 portfolio that's half in stocks, half in Treasuries. Today, it would be worth $17.8 million, for an annual return of about 9%, which is $43.98 billion less than Buffett actually earned, Morgan calculated.
The lesson here isn't that Buffett-like returns can be yours. The lesson is one about the power of compounding. "[T]he difference in earning 3% a year versus, say, 7% or 9% a year, compounded over a few decades, is no less than life-changing," Morgan wrote.
Read the article to get a fuller picture of what Morgan's analysis means for your portfolio.
If you're less adventurous than Buffett, keep in mind that dividend stocks are a good foundation on which to build your portfolio. To get started, read the Fool's special free report, "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks."