Well, this headline certainly caught our eye: "Zookeepers Suspended for Eating Animals." We kid you not, but two keepers in Germany are in trouble for having "slaughtered and barbecued five Tibetan mountain chickens and two Cameroonian sheep" in the children's section of the Recklinghausen Zoo.
And speaking of headlines (nice transition, eh?), we've compiled a few for you below that conveyed an unintentional meaning in a humorous way. We hope you get at least a chuckle or two out of them.
The Motley Fool 50 added to its 3% gain yesterday with another 3% surge today. After such a fine effort, we're giving it the weekend off. See you Monday, Fools!
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- GE's Tight Q3
- Shameless Plug: Refinance and Save
- Veni, Vidi, Vivendi
- Discussion Board of the Day: Vivendi
- Top 10 Humorous Headlines
- Quote of Note
- Quick Takes: Starbucks, Target, Lucent, Monsanto, more
- And Finally...
GE's Tight Q3
After two fiscal 2003 earnings estimate cuts drove its stock down to five-year lows earlier in the week, General Electric
The mega-company matched third-quarter expectations, thanks largely to strong results from its NBC unit and the selling-off of its GXS Internet commerce business. It took the one-time special event to meet estimates, but the market seems to be saying, "Hey, we'll take it."
GE's revenues rose 11% to $32.6 billion, nearly enough to cover retirement payments to ex-chief Jack Welch. (Oh, we jest.) Net income grew 25% to $4.1 billion. The company kept its fiscal 2002 EPS guidance of $1.65 in place.
The performance of the different business units varied in the quarter. The plastics, lighting, and aircraft engine divisions experienced declines, while profits from sales of appliances grew 21% and NBC earnings shot up 59% compared to a year ago. The company's power systems unit grew profits 16%, down from the second quarter's stellar 66% growth.
From here, GE is facing a difficult 2003. Its third-quarter results, while certainly not horrible, really banked on the success of one or two of its more minor business units. There's still a lot of weakness floating around that's affecting the major divisions. Plus, add into that the estimate-meeting impact of the one-time sale of the Internet commerce business, and we're looking at a company that had some fortuitous third-quarter events help it out. Will it be so lucky in 2003?
GE itself recognizes that the current business climate spells trouble for 2003 unless it can keep lean and cut costs even further. Indeed, that's what CEO Jeff Immelt said today, telling investors and analysts that GE will grow next year, but that it will undertake aggressive cost-cutting moves and restructurings in order to get the job done.
For GE investors sitting on shares that are at lows not seen since Rachel Green was still sporting that shaggy 'do and Chandler and Monica were but only friends, we hope Mr. Immelt's plans for growth and efficiency work.
Shameless Plug: Refinance and Save
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Veni, Vidi, Vivendi
To the fashion minded in Paris, a pink slip is something you see sashaying down a catwalk -- not in your office mail. But that's exactly what is going on at Vivendi Universal
Vivendi's problems have been known for some time. The debt-laden entertainment and environmental services giant has been reeling from its own acquisitive debauchery. Its entertainment stock brethren can't be quick to judge. Companies like Disney
While all four stocks are trading lower than they were three years ago, Vivendi's shares have been hit the hardest. Yes, even AOL's tumble is child's play compared to Vivendi's slide. Viacom has held up the best, thanks in part to a strong slate of cable properties and improvement at CBS.
It doesn't make much sense at first. In times of economic and political strife, we crave entertainment. Each company has produced a box-office champion, as movie theaters continue to ring up record results.
While the ad market may be soft, television ratings have been solid as we have morphed into a world of homebodies. But you can't underscore the struggling ad market. With companies holding back on their marketing budgets, the entertainers have little choice but to earn less for the same work.
Like a street performer caught in the deluge, talent is nothing if the crowd just isn't there. And, for a few more displaced workers at Vivendi, the downpour continues.
Discussion Board of the Day: Vivendi
It's clear the Vivendi will need to sell some of its assets to help get its finances back in order. What would you sell if you were Vivendi? Is now a good time to buy back into the entertainment sector? All this and more -- in the Vivendi discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Top 10 Humorous Headlines
If you're a news junkie like most of us here at Fool HQ, you've no doubt seen some very strange headlines before. The kind you read once, blink twice, and then read several more times... just to make sure. We've collected a few of these headlines and thought we'd share some very recent ones with you, along with some all-time classics. Enjoy!
Top 5 Recent Strange Headlines (with comments)
5. Stocks Stumble, Greenspan Lies Ahead
(If Greenspan lies, stocks should stumble.)
4. Goodyear to Stop Labeling 10% of its Workers as Worst
(Instead, it will call them "resource-draining buffoons.")
3. Iraq Says Will Repel Any Attack With Knives, Stones
(This pretty much disproves the "weapons of mass destruction" theory.)
2. Doctors Grow Pig Teeth in Rat Intestines
(We'll let you insert your own joke here.)
1. Carter Wins Nobel Peace Prize in Swipe at Bush
(If this is the main criterion, Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle must have been first runner-up.)
Top 5 Classic Headlines (no comments needed)
5. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
4. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge
3. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
2. Include your Children When Baking Cookies
1. Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
Quote of Note
"If you can look into the mirror without laughter, you have no sense of humor." -- Unknown
Lest you think it impossible to cram more Starbucks
Appliance maker Maytag
Things keep getting worse at Lucent Technologies
Meanwhile, rival Nortel Networks
Blaming a decline in sales of Roundup herbicide in the U.S. and lower overall sales in Argentina, Monsanto
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