The news is making us itchy. Health officials today said they believe tens of thousands of Americans have actually contracted the West Nile virus, but most experience few or no symptoms. So far, over 2,000 people have been diagnosed, and 94 have died.
Local public service campaigns advise wearing full body armor -- perfect for a summer with the hottest temperatures since the '30s -- and daily showers in Deep Woods Off. Bug zapper stocks are reaching all-time highs.
The Motley Fool 50, locked indoors til the first freeze, was down about 1.5% today.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- P&G's T.P. Profits Flushed?
- Shameless Plug:TMF Money Advisor
- Quote of Note
- Siebel Suggests Reforms
- Think You're Smarter Than Us?
- Palm Needs a Hand
- Discussion Board of the Day:Nanotechnology
- Quick Takes: Dell, Wyndham, Stride Rite, more
- And Finally...
If you've ever had doubts that there are big profits to be soaked up in the toilet paper business, consider the fact that Procter & Gamble
The lawsuit says Georgia-Pacific hired an employee from P&G who possessed "confidential information" regarding "Through-Air-Drying (TAD) paper-making technology and processes." When P&G discovered the employee was assigned to a job where that knowledge would directly benefit Georgia-Pacific, it saw profits being flushed down the toilet. "We can't sit by," said chief legal officer Jim Johnson, "and watch years of hard work and creative thinking go to benefit a direct competitor."
Georgia-Pacific pooh-poohs the idea it's breaking any non-disclosure agreements, saying it has "taken all appropriate steps to ensure this employee does not reveal any Procter & Gamble trade secrets, regardless of the duties he has." The company may feel it's the butt of a joke but it's not cracking, saying the lawsuit has "no basis in fact."
There's really no telling how it will all come out in the end, but we have some advice: Wipe the slate clean and shake hands. After washing first, of course.
Knowledge is power... or so we've heard. So arm yourself for world domination with TMF Money Advisor! Ask a financial planner anything you want to know. Map out a financial plan. Then check out TMF seminars and newsletters for continued advice. OK, so maybe you won't rule the world, but you can pretend you do. We won't tell anyone.
"Only the curious will learn, and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient." -- Eugene S. Wilson, former dean of admissions, Amherst College
Worst stock options offender and customer relations management software maker Siebel Systems
Speaking yesterday at a Banc of America investor conference, CFO Ken Goldman reportedly said Siebel is considering canceling some existing employee stock options and would issue fewer options in the future. It's about time. According to one observer, Siebel has issued more stock options as a percentage of shares outstanding -- 50% -- than any other company in the S&P 500.
Step one came in late August. The company announced in an SEC filing that it would offer employees $1.85 per share in cash and stock for options with a strike price over $40, and it would take a $64 million charge to pay for it.
We are hopping mad about stock options abuse, so we think this is positive. The best corporate governance prefers stock grants to options, not the least because they're expensed. Also, when employees know that underwater (below strike price ) stock options will be repriced or exchanged for those with lower strike prices anyway, it's hardly an incentive to align their interests with the performance of the company.
In another refreshing dash of reality, CFO Goldman reportedly said Siebel "is managing itself on the basis of a not-improving economy." With the company's beleaguered stock hitting a closing high of $37.20 in March, and closing at $6.50 yesterday, perhaps managers are turning their eyes from the ticker to the business.
Think you know more about this finance stuff than we do? Think you might as well work here, given all your comments and analyses on our discussion boards? Good! We're looking for a couple of smarty-pants Fools to join our team as writer/analysts. Head on over to jobs.fool.com, and see the listings under Editorial. Show us what you can do, and we might just agree with you!
Is there a little less hand-holding in store for the handheld sector? While industry pioneer and fledgling penny stock Palm
Fighting two years of unfulfilled hype, botched rollouts, and inventory overloads, Palm and rival Handspring
Even Research in Motion
On the Palm front, new products and an enhanced operating system are on the way. And while sales fell short in the company's first fiscal quarter, Palm was able to grow its top line back in August. Sure, most of that came courtesy of dramatic markdowns, as the company continued to shovel out its dated inventory, but at least the units are moving and penetrating the marketplace.
The risks here are as huge as the handhelds are small. Until the sector gets back into the black, it's a gamble. Still, keep an eye on how holiday sales shape up. A lot is riding on Palm's newest wares, and the company is expecting to break even this quarter. It's do or die time for the fallen darling.
Feeling small? While handhelds are great pocket-sized gadgets, there's a real buzz over even smaller technology. Have you heard about nanotechnology? All this and more -- in the Nanotechnology discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Dude, you're printing on a Dell
Apparently you can trade hotels, even when you're off the Monopoly playing board. Wyndham
The back-to-school season was a bit of a heel for Stride Rite
There's a divergence in the home appliances sector. While Maytag
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