Stock Market Today: Sony's PC Exit and Costco's Hot January

Why Sony, Costco, and General Motors stocks are on the move today.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:00AM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Investors can expect a positive start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained 68 points, or 0.4%, in premarket trading. Global stocks were up in overnight trading, with emerging markets flat, and European stocks higher ahead of a rate-setting meeting of the European Central Bank. Closer to home, investors are looking ahead to tomorrow's jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is expected to show a gain of 185,000 jobs in January.

Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on several stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including Sony (NYSE:SNE), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), and General Motors (NYSE:GM).

Sony today said sales of its new PlayStation 4 console helped overall revenue rise by 5% in its fiscal third quarter, to reach $860 million. The Japanese tech giant also booked a profit of $0.22 a share, compared to a loss in the year-ago period. But the biggest news for Sony investors was the company's announcement of a major restructuring plan: Sony is exiting the PC market and spinning off its TV unit in a bid to streamline its business. The company also said that profit for its full fiscal year ending in March will be less than half of what it had projected, due to restructuring charges and weakness in its mobile product division. The stock is down 4.8% in premarket trading.

Costco today booked a solid rise in sales for the month of January. Revenue improved by 6% last month, to nearly $8 billion. Despite cold weather across much of the country and a generally tough selling environment, the megaretailer saw comparable-store sales jump by a healthy 5% in the U.S, and by 6% company-wide. Costco's stock is up 2.5% in premarket trading.

Finally, General Motors announced this morning that fourth-quarter sales increased by 3%, to $40.5 billion, slightly below the $41 billion that Wall Street had expected. Adjusted profit was $0.67 a share, also lower than the $0.88 that analysts were targeting. CEO Mary Barra said the automaker is entering 2014 in "execution mode" after a year of tough decisions that have helped shore up the balance sheet and strengthen GM's product portfolio. The stock is down 3.7% in premarket trading.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale. 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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