Today celebrates an important anniversary in the history of the Net: On Sept. 19, 1982, computer programmer Scott Fahlman typed colon, dash, closing parenthesis, making :-) on a primitive Internet bulletin board and showing us how to show emotions in cyberspace. Since then, 1.5 billion emoticons have been unleashed on an unsuspecting public (OK, maybe not that many, but there have been quite a few), causing soccer moms and day traders alike to spend countless hours trying to figure out what all the little slashes and semicolons mean (you can find out definitively here).
The Motley Fool 50, down 2.5% today, prefers face-to-face conversation and never uses instant messaging.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Electronic Data Cut in Half
- Shameless Plug: Refinance and Save
- Call Your Boss a Fool!
- Top 15 Other Casualties of the Dot-Com Bust
- Quote of Note
- Pixar's Monster Day
- Discussion Board of the Day: Pixar
- Quick Takes: FedEx, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, more
- And Finally...
Electronic Data Cut in Half
Electronic Data Systems
Electronic Data said it would likely earn only $0.12 to $0.15 a share in the third quarter, nowhere near the $0.74 it expected. Much of the shortfall is the result of reduced spending from existing customers, fewer new sales, and the company's increased spending on "sales pursuits and processes to leverage an increased business pipeline." Also hurting earnings is a writedown related to the bankruptcy of US Airways.
Electronic Data stock was down about 50% this afternoon, and investors have been punishing other companies in the sector as well. The world's top provider of computer hardware and services, IBM
To be sure, Electronic Data has serious problems. But perhaps Wall Street is overreacting with the rest of the sector, especially IBM. After seeing earnings estimates cut today by several analysts, a spokesman for Big Blue told Bloomberg, "Based on what we understand, and given the substantial miss, the key issues appear to be unique'' to Electronic Data.
Now near a four-year low, this Big Blue chip might warrant a spot on your watch list.
Shameless Plug: Refinance and Save
Does saving potentially hundreds of dollars per month on your mortgage sound good to you? Mortgage rates remain historically low, so now might be the time to refinance and save yourself some dough. Our Home Center can help.
Call Your Boss a Fool!
Think you could mix it up with the likes of Bill Mann (TMF Otter), Matt Richey (TMF Matt), and Tom Jacobs (TMF Tom9)? We're looking for a couple of cool Fools to join our team as writer/analysts. Click on over to jobs.Fool.com to see the listings under Editorial. Apply right now. You could find yourself in the inner sanctum of Fooldom in lovely Old Town Alexandria, Va., faster than you can say "discounted cash flow analysis."
Top 15 Casualties of the Dot-Com Bust
A couple of days ago, Bear Stearns
Businesses like Bear Stearns loosened their dress codes a few years ago to keep employees from leaving for more relaxed Internet environments. But with so many dot-coms imploding, the stuffed shirts are gleefully making their workers uncomfortable once again.
The stricter dress code is not the only change we're seeing these days. For instance, here are the:
Top 15 Other Casualties of the Dot-Com Bust
15. Someone replaced couch in "nap room" with a conference table.
14. Pets.com sock puppet no longer cute or charming.
13. Toys "R" Us completely overstocked with Nerf guns.
12. Employees must rediscover the alarm clock.
11. Bean bags are out; bean counters are in.
10. Domain now pronounced Doh-Main rather than Dough-Main.
9. Overdue repair bill has kept Foosball table in the shop for months.
8. Children named after websites sue parents for pain and suffering incurred from playground bullies.
7. Businesses must somehow survive without Grand Master Pooh-bahs of Bootylicious BizDev.
6. Gold-plated espresso maker in reception area replaced with refurbished copy machine.
5. Corporate hot tub filled in with planter dirt and shrubbery.
4. Executive firefighter pole used to slide down to office lobby now serves as support column.
3. Dog-walking service canceled.
2. EBITDA is now EAITDA -- Earnings AFTER Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization.
1. Stock options now used as wallpaper.
Quote of Note
"Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around." -- Henry David Thoreau
Pixar's Monster Day
The all-time second-highest grossing animated theatrical release, starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman, captured both the child and adult audience with its eclectic tale of monsters who frighten children to power their town with screams. But who would've expected the computer-rendered Oscar nominee to set a new record with five million units sold on its first day?
A lot of people. With DVD players selling briskly, it's a wide open market for film entertainment companies. The Consumer Electronics Association reports that 8 million DVD players have been sold stateside so far this year, bringing the format's cumulative sales to the 35 million mark.
But why should this matter? Aren't DVD disc sales simply replacing units that would've otherwise been sold on the tape-based VHS format? Not exactly. The average DVD owner bought 15 discs last year. That's twice as many movies as the typical VCR owner. And Monsters, Inc. is a DVD goldmine. It's a two-disc set with a playground full of bonus candy that finds the second disc running more than twice as long as the movie itself.
It's also animated. That seems to matter, as kids love to subject themselves to repeat viewings of the same subject matter. Although that may be a sore spot for AOL Time Warner
Discussion Board of the Day: Pixar
Looks like there's more life after Toy Story for Pixar. Have you picked up your copy of Monsters, Inc., and what do you think about computer animation? What about the fact that Pixar plans to fully fund its 2006 film project? Can the company patch up its relationship with Disney? All this and more -- in the Pixar discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley
The Federal Trade Commission and Citigroup
The nation's No. 1 rehab hospital operator, HealthSouth
Housing starts nationwide fell for the third month in a row, this time 2.2%, but they varied by region. Starts fell 18.7% in the Midwest and 1.6% in the West, but rose 9.4% in the Northeast and 3.1% in the South. Builders cited the rains in the Midwest for the drop there. At the same time, the average rate for a 30-year conventional mortgage loan fell to 6.05% with 0.7 points -- an all-time low since Freddie Mac
Today on Fool.com: The author of Conquer the Crash offers a different investing perspective.... 10 Tips to Save McDonald's.... In Hot Topics, will Greenspan become irrelevant?... What you can put in an IRA, in Fool's School.... And Bill Mann says, don't be afraid of Spiders.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim