Why SunEdison, Rent-A-Center, and Scientific Games Jumped Today

The broader stock market again climbed steadily as earnings season continued to go well, and these three stocks managed to do even better than the market. Find out more about what made them soar.

Apr 22, 2014 at 8:05PM

Tuesday brought a continuation to the positive trend on Wall Street, with major-market benchmarks again climbing just less than half a percent as key earnings releases from a number of popular companies stocked bullish sentiment among investors. But many stocks managed to find much stronger positive momentum than the overall market did, and SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE), Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII), and Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS) all found themselves among the best performers in the market today.


Source: James Corner Field Operations.

SunEdison gained almost 12% as hedge fund Greenlight Capital disclosed that it had taken a position in the solar-module maker. In a letter to investors, Greenlight and manager David Einhorn said that it had bought into the solar developer, paying $15.55 per share -- or about 22% less than the current price. Greenlight believes that SunEdison could be worth as much as $35 per share based on its analysis of the company, and that gave investors new reason to buy the shares after their recent drop. Solar stocks will remain volatile, but with the backing of a well-known hedge-fund manager, SunEdison's pop should last for at least the short term.

Rent-A-Center soared 11% after the furniture and electronics rental specialist reported its quarterly earnings last night. At first glance, the results didn't look all that favorable, with same-store sales falling by 0.8%, and overall revenue rising at a pace of just 1.8%. But earnings per share came in $0.03 better than expected, and Rent-A-Center said it would close underperforming stores as a cost-cutting measure. Investors were also pleased that Rent-A-Center gave relatively positive guidance, calling for same-store sales growth of 3% to 5.5% based partly on strength in its partner-kiosk and Mexico segments. The big question for Rent-A-Center is whether results will get better or worse if the economy improves, as some marginal customers might choose to buy outright rather than committing to a rental arrangement.

Scientific Games picked up 8% after the gaming- and lottery-services company announced a new contract with the operator of the French national lottery. The contract with La Francaise des Jeux will last for three years, with options to extend the term for up to three additional one-year periods. Scientific Games already has an extensive relationship with La Francaise des Jeux, and with the company offering the only 10-euro instant-game lottery ticket available in France, Scientific Games has demonstrated its value in the French market.

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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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