Why Shares of Williams-Sonoma Inc. Popped

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Mar 13, 2014 at 9:32PM

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.

What: Shares of Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) were dazzling investors today, gaining as much as 12% after a strong fourth-quarter earnings report.

So what: The maker of specialty home products said that even-calendar sales increased 10%, to $1.47 billion, beating estimates of $1.43 billion, on a 10.4% spike in comparable brand sales. Earnings, meanwhile, improved to $1.38, topping the consensus at $1.36. CEO Laura Alber said the company "outperformed the retail industry over the holiday season, gaining market share, and demonstrating the structural advantage" of Williams-Sonoma's model.  

Now what: Sales at Pottery Barn and West Elm were particularly strong, growing by 14.6% to 18.3%, respectively. Revenue guidance for the current year was also impressive as the company sees full-year sales of $4.63-$4.71 billion against the consensus of $4.64 billion. Separately, the company raised its dividend 6% to $0.33, giving the stock a dividend yield of 2%. While comparable-brand sales are expected to moderate to 5%-7% this year, Williams-Sonoma's brand strength should ensure solid shareholder returns and continued outperformance.

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Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Williams-Sonoma. 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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