A Fool Looks Back

Let's take a look back at the news that made waves.

Apr 12, 2014 at 8:30AM

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) kicked off on Friday what promises to be a very challenging earnings season. Instead of sending a unified message, the banking bellwethers showed their divergent ways. Wells Fargo posted better-than-expected results, but JPMorgan fell short.

The market was braced for a ho-hum quarter out of JPMorgan, but after seeing profitability shrink at its consumer banking, mortgage originations, and corporate and investment banking divisions, there was no way it would be able to live up to Wall Street forecasts. 

Wells Fargo held up relatively better, overcoming weakness in its mortgage banking business to deliver better-than-expected results.

Where do we go from here? Wells Fargo and JPMorgan are essentially kicking off the new earnings season. The next few weeks will feature companies stepping up to disclose their financial performances during the first three months of the year, and it could get pretty hairy. Lousy weather earlier in the period slowed retailers, and margins are getting squeezed across several industries. The market itself has already been correcting in some sectors, including tech and biotechnology. Investors can't afford to sleep through the next few weeks of reports. 

Briefly in the news
And now let's look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Carl Icahn is finally letting eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) be. The billionaire activist investor dropped his proposal to spin off PayPal and add two members of his choosing to eBay's board. The online marketplace giant did agree to bring on a former telco executive as a board member to satisfy Icahn, but that's a small concession to silence him.
  • China's Alibaba is buying all of AutoNavi (NASDAQ:AMAP) in a transaction that values the developer of mobile maps at a cool $1.5 billion. Alibaba already owned a minority stake in AutoNavi as the e-commerce leader gears up for its upcoming IPO.
  • Yelp (NYSE:YELP) has been one of the hardest hit stocks in recent weeks, but it got back-to-back-to-back boosts of confidence with analyst upgrades on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It's not a total victory for the leading reviews website, though. The bullish price targets are below where the shares were when it peaked last month. However, after shedding more than a third of its value, Yelp investors will take it. 

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Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, eBay, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo and recommends Amazon.com and eBay. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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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