Why Covidien, Williams Companies, and CarMax Soared Last Week

These stocks did even better than the S&P 500.

Jun 21, 2014 at 11:32AM

The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) pressed higher last week, closing at yet another all-time record high and more than making up for its losing performance the previous week. Even though concerns about Iraq and ongoing anxiety about the high valuations of the market still weighed on sentiment, economic strength continues to push stocks higher. In particular, company-specific issues helped make Covidien (NYSE:COV), Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB), and CarMax (NYSE:KMX) the leading stocks in the S&P 500 for the week.

Covidien soared 25% as the Irish medical-device maker received a buyout offer from industry peer Medtronic, which involved a combination of cash and stock that represented an almost 30% premium to its price at the end of the previous week. Most analysts focused on the potential tax advantages for Medtronic in allowing the U.S.-based company to take advantage of more favorable tax laws abroad. But Covidien also offers a different yet complementary line of products that the combined entity could use to bolster its joint growth, and a larger company will be able to compete more effectively against the remaining players in the medical-device market. With hospitals and other health-care providers facing budgetary pressures and the challenges of health-care reform, Covidien was in the right place at the right time to receive this lucrative bid.

Wmb Access
Source: Access Midstream Partners.

Williams Companies jumped 22% after the midstream company announced that it will acquire complete general-partnership control and a 50% limited-partnership interest in natural-gas gathering and processing specialist Access Midstream. The $6 billion cash deal will give Williams a commanding presence in most of the major shale-production regions of the country, including the Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Utica, and Niobrara plays. In addition, the larger scale of the combined Williams-Access entity should give it more leverage to make future acquisitions and make deals with exploration and production companies to bolster its growth.


CarMax climbed 19% in the wake of the used-car giant's latest earnings report. Solid sales and earnings made investors more confident than ever in the company's future, but even more importantly, CarMax demonstrated substantial growth in its online business. Given that a large part of CarMax's appeal is in offering hassle-free car purchasing, the e-commerce venue is particularly well-suited to its customer base. If CarMax can demonstrate that it can make online buying even more painless than its dealerships, then it could end up pioneering a new way for consumers to buy vehicles.

Despite trading at record highs, the S&P 500 has many investors looking forward to the possibility of breaking the 2,000 milestone in the near future. Watch closely to see if these three stocks can keep leading the index higher in the weeks to come.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends CarMax and Covidien and owns shares of CarMax. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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