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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.
Quit Griping About Gas Prices -- It's All in Your Head
Fool analyst Sean Williams tackles four common gripes about gas prices, pointing out the lack of substance behind the complaints. Perhaps you've heard that "gas companies are making too much!" Not so, Sean says.
"According to ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) , in fiscal 2010 the oil and gas giant only made -- get this -- $0.02 per gallon on gasoline!" Sean wrote. "In addition, between 2006 and 2010, ExxonMobil paid $59 billion in corporate taxes to the U.S. government. ... Who is really making the big bucks off of gasoline? Federal and state governments, which are taxing citizens at $0.488 per gallon, or oil companies paying billions in corporate taxes while making about $0.02 per gallon?"
Sean also notes that drivers are paying less per mile thanks to increased fuel efficiency: "This effect is only bound to get more pronounced as General Motors, Ford (NYSE: F ) , and Toyota agreed in July 2011 to double fuel efficiency to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025."
Read the article to learn more about why Sean thinks Americans really don't have much to complain about at the pump.
3 Great Companies That Could Be Run by a Ham Sandwich
Procter & Gamble's (NYSE: PG ) stock has taken some knocks over the past year, but Fool analyst Matt Koppenheffer thinks it remains a strong company that could be, as Warren Buffett says, run by a ham sandwich. It's another colorful Buffett phrasing that illustrates an investing angle that long-term investors should take note of. Being in the ham-sandwich zone means that a "business could run on autopilot and continue earning attractive returns for shareholders," according to Matt.
He notes that investors who sold P&G stock when things were rocky in 2000 ended up getting the short end of the stick. "P&G has actually done really well since that June 2000 sell-off," Matt wrote. "For the 11 years between June 2000 and June 2011, P&G's earnings per share leapt more than 200%, for average annual growth of 11%. Over that same stretch, investors collected $14.17 per share in dividends."
Read the article to find out two other ham-sandwich stocks Matt thinks could be appealing investment counterpoints in a market that tends to waver with short-term news.
It's Time to Recession-Proof Your Portfolio
"When a recession hits, we cut back on a lot of things, but movies aren't necessarily one of them," Fool analyst Travis Hoium wrote, noting that the domestic box office rose during recessions in 2009 and the early 2000s. IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) is one way to play this trend in an attempt to "recession-proof" your portfolio. It's growing its international network of theaters and takes a disproportionate amount of revenue versus normal theaters, Travis wrote.
Stock star Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) makes Travis' recession-proof arsenal because of its cash, dividend yield, and strong position. With a $533.7 billion market cap, Apple has $110 billion in cash and investments and a 1.9% dividend yield, Travis reported.
The Dow is loaded with companies with solid dividend payouts and highly sustainable business models built for the long haul. The Motley Fool has put together a free report on three companies with an X factor that makes them stand out from their illustrious Dow peers. Download your copy of "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need."