2 Companies Disappoint Wall Street, Only 1 Plunges 22%

2013 was a strong year for both Spirit AeroSystems and General Motors, but 2014 looks to be a bumpier ride.

Feb 6, 2014 at 3:00PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is trading 166 points higher today, or 1.08%, at 3 p.m. EST after initial unemployment claims and earnings data hit the news feeds. Initial unemployment claims fell by 20,000 to 331,000 last week, a slightly larger drop than anticipated. Tomorrow will bring new data on U.S. payroll and unemployment. Meanwhile, some companies are making big moves after earnings reports.

Outside the Dow, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings (NYSE:SPR) plunged 22% after it reported a net loss in the fourth quarter stemming from charges related to its program for supplying parts to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Spirit reported a net loss of $587 million, or a whopping $4.15 a share, compared with a net income of $61 million, or $0.43 per share, during the same period last year. Despite the rough quarter and stunning charges recorded, President and CEO Larry Lawson said he sees hope.

"We are entering 2014 with a strong cost discipline and relentless focus on performance and accountability that should begin to yield consistent cash generation," Lawson said in a press release.

There's no doubt that the fourth quarter was rough, but this 22% sell-off may give some investors reason to jump in to Spirit. Boeing still has plenty of demand for its 787 Dreamliner, and has just recently upped the production rate of the airplane, which should help Spirit grow its revenue going forward.

Furthemore, strong growth is projected over the next two decades in the world's single-aisle commercial airplane market -- an area where Spirit has consistently delivered strong operating margins. Those two factors may help Spirit rebound both its top and bottom lines over the long term. With 2013 in the books ending on a sour note, Spirit expects revenue of $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion and earnings per share between $2.50 and $2.65 in 2014.

Today also brought Wall Street disappointing results from once-troubled automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM). America's largest automaker reported 2013 net income, attributable to common shareholders, of $3.8 billion, or $2.38 per fully diluted share -- down from $4.9 billion, or $2.92 per share, in 2012. Initially, the results sent General Motors trading nearly 4% lower in pre-market trading; however, as the day progressed, the company's stock rebounded to 0.7% in the green in late trading.

The main thing for long-term investors to remember here is that while General Motors did receive major benefits from its unique bankruptcy, it still owned the industry's least fresh portfolio of vehicles. The company's program to replace, redesign, or refresh 90% of its vehicles by the end of 2016 comes at a cost to its bottom line.

Another thing for investors to consider is that GMIO, its "international operations" catchall region, is its second most profitable region and was severely crippled by a weaker yen that allowed Japanese automakers to surge back after a yearlong backlash from Chinese consumers regarding a territorial dispute.

Source: General Motors fourth quarter presentation.

Investors who were fooled once during GM's bailout are correctly cautious in not wanting to be fooled twice. However, I believe there is much upside for General Motors as it continues to improve profitability in its two strongest regions: GMNA, and GMIO. Look for its refreshed full-size pickups to help drive margins and average transaction prices in the U.S. higher, as well as a surging Cadillac lineup to do the same overseas. While much upside exists, investors should note that GM is a long-term play in a cyclical industry that will require patience. 

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Daniel Miller owns shares of General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors and Spirit AeroSystems Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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