These Tech Stocks are Beating the Market

Shares of Microsoft, Facebook, and Pandora are moving higher even as the Dow Jones falls.

Mar 12, 2014 at 11:20AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI)rallied from an early morning drop to rise seven points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT, despite a lack of economic data. A few tech stocks were outperforming early on Wednesday, including Dow Jones component Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), as well as Pandora (NYSE:P) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) . The moves in all three stocks weren't particularly notable, but investors in the names may have been reacting to some recent reports.

Stocks fall despite lack of economic data
There were no major economic reports on Tuesday that might have been expected to move the market. The Dow's initial drop appeared to be part of a larger move to the downside as investors around the globe sell stocks. Concerns continue to linger about the Chinese economy: Last night, the bonds and stock of Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric were suspend from trading after the Chinese company reported a large net loss. Copper prices, seen by some investors as a measure of economic activity, continue to decline, as China's economy remains one of the largest consumers of copper.

Any weakness in the second-largest economy in the world could hit U.S. companies, weighing on stock values here.

Microsoft names new board member
Microsoft shares posted a modest 0.8% gain after the company named activist investor Mason Morfit to its board of directors. Morfit's directorship has been known about for some time -- his firm, ValueAct, began amassing a stake in Microsoft early last year, and the tech giant said late last summer that it would give Morfit a seat on the board.

ValueAct has argued for Microsoft's shares on the value of its cloud computing technology, making it likely that Morfit will encourage Microsoft to focus on cloud-related products, particularly Windows Azure.

Facebook gets another upgrade
On Tuesday, a UBS analyst argued that Facebook shares could soon hit $112. Although the firm only has a $90 price target on the stock, it sees $112 as a possible upside as momentum continues to grow in the name. UBS likened Facebook to a "snowball" that could build momentum as it continues to move higher.

Facebook investors may also be weighing reports that COO Sheryl Sandberg could be on her way out. The New York Post reported that Sandberg was considering leaving the company to head up Disney, although Business Insider has disputed that report. Sandberg's departure could force Facebook shares down, but talk of her impending exit (possibly to run for office) has been around for months.

Pandora dominates the streaming market
Pandora shares rose 3.3% after a survey showed that it was dominating the streaming music market. According to Edison Research, 31% of Americans over the age of 12 polled used Pandora within the last month, compared to just 8% who used iTunes Radio and 6% who used Spotify. The results of the study are a great sign for Pandora shareholders, suggesting the company is still relevant despite an ever-growing list of competitors.

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Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Pandora Media. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Microsoft, and Pandora Media. 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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