Japanese Gaming Could Mean Billions More for Las Vegas Sands and Melco Crown

Home Depot rallies on an upgrade; the Dow keeps its head up as housing pullback slows.

Apr 22, 2014 at 6:26PM

Wall Street suffers from a cartoonishly short attention span. A fortnight ago, money managers, talking heads, and individual investors alike were frenetically prepping for an economic Armageddon. "Momentum stocks are going to zero!" they'd yell. "Remember what 2000 was like? Yeah, well imagine 2000 on steroids!" they'd warn. "Russia wants to take over the world! Is that the sky falling, over there, off in the distance?"

Right on cue, Mr. Market stepped in. He dispatched Corporate America to battle the unqualified bears on Wall Street. "Look," said Corporate America, "check out my earnings." The bears paused; the earnings were better than they expected. Hands boldly placed against his hips, Mr. Market had another weapon in his arsenal. Narrowing his eyes, he gave the ominous command, "Hit them with the jobs data." Spreadsheets and graphs pelted the confused bears, who, upon seeing that employment was improving more quickly than they expected, began slinking back into the sewers, or wherever it is they live when they're wrong.

But Mr. Market wasn't done; he wanted this retreat to hurt the bears.

"Call Yellen." Faithfully, his minion scurried off in search of the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. Then, Janet Yellen told the bears on Wall Street that rates were likely to stay low for a very long time. They have not been seen since; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) added 65 points, or 0.4%, to end at 16,514.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) shareholders should thank Mr. Market the next time they see him. Shares rallied, gaining 2.8% on Tuesday as the home-improvement retailer finished as the top performer in the Dow. Investors, seeing headlines that existing home sales are on a three-month downtrend, might miss the fact that March's pullback wasn't nearly as rough as analysts expected. Home Depot was also upgraded by analysts at BMO Capital Markets today, and major upgrades and downgrades often have huge effects on short-term stock prices. Keep in mind, however, that Wall Street Analysts don't often have your best interests in mind when they make their recommendations. 

Lasvegassandsvenetian Macau

Interior of the Las Vegas Sands Venetian Macau. Source: Company website

Now for some big-winning casino stocks: The consumer services sector was the second-best performer in the market on Tuesday and, within it, the gambling industry really shined. Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) beamed like one of the famed neon signs on the Las Vegas Strip, roaring 5.7% higher in trade. Shares of Melco Crown Entertainment (NASDAQ:MPEL) also went bonkers, as the world leaders in casino and gaming eagerly await next month's Japan Gaming Conference. The conference, the first of its time, will be held in Tokyo, less than a month from now, between May 14 and May 16. The rich, densely populated nation is considering whether to legalize gambling, and will vote on the question in the coming months. Legalizing gambling would be great for both Las Vegas Sands and Melco Crown Entertainment.

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John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

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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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