Sinking Losses for AOL; Turner Jumps Ship

Next time you're busted taking a long lunch break, remind your boss that it's a matter of life or death. If you sit at your desk too long, your computer might actually kill you.

This according to a new study in the European Respiratory Journal, which finds that sitting at your computer for long periods of time can cause massive blood clots, a condition now termed "e-thrombosis" by the study's authors. The 21st century variant of thrombosis results from prolonged inactivity, which has become more frequent as technology ropes us closer and closer to our PCs and workstations. The authors recommend frequent foot and leg exercises and regular breaks throughout the work day.

The FOOL 50 dropped over 2% to touch its toes.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Sinking Losses for AOL; Turner Jumps Ship

When AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL)announced it was unloading its stake in Hughes(NYSE: GMH) yesterday, do you think Vice Chairman Ted Turner -- in his most gracious Southern drawl -- thought they were talking about him?

"Oh no, Hughes! Don't!" he may have said. "I quit!"

The charismatic media visionary who brought us CNN, the swell pitching of the Atlanta Braves, and a series of Turner-branded cable properties will be the latest to move on from the troubled entertainment giant come May. Steve Case resigned as chairman earlier this month.

They're checking out at the worst time. While the company announced a better-than-expected fourth-quarter operating profit of $0.28 a share, it's also taking a jaw-dropping $45.5 billion charge to write down the value of its teetering empire. This comes on the heels of a massive $54 billion hit to goodwill recorded last year.

All said, you might want to cup any impressionable eyes when you add up the damage. For 2002, the company lost $98.7 billion -- or $22.15 a share -- on $41.1 billion in revenue. While that's more than the company is presently worth, the deficit was a result of the two huge, non-cash charges. AOL Time Warner still managed to produce $4.2 billion in free cash flow, and will reduce its debt to $20 billion over the next two years, offering some degree of hope to shell-shocked investors.

The media conglomerate still expects to grow its top line and cash flow in 2003, albeit slightly. The major culprit remains its America Online mother ship. While the subscription side of the online business should hold steady, the company expects a 40% to 50% dip in advertising and commerce revenue this year.

Things aren't going to improve overnight at AOL Time Warner. Turner must've decided he'd rather see the tomahawk chop on Turner Field than in the boardroom.

Discussion Board of the Day: AOL Time Warner

Should investors follow Steve Case and Ted Turner out of AOL Time Warner? Is the company making debt-trimming promises its balance sheet can't keep? All this and more -- in the AOL Time Warner discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Quote of Note

Fiddle Theory: The longer you fiddle around with a deal, the greater the odds that it will never close. -- Robert J. Ringer, Libertarian author

Boeing's Grounded Outlook

When can Boeing(NYSE: BA) expect liftoff? Not for a while, according to the aerospace company's dim outlook. Bundling the bad news with its 2002 and fourth-quarter results today, Boeing doesn't see a commercial aviation upturn until 2005.

Boeing just closed out an ugly year, delivery-wise. In 2001, it delivered 527 commercial airplanes. That number dropped to 381 for 2002, and is expected to fall to as low as 280 for 2003 and 2004.

Correspondingly, revenues from its commercial air division for 2002 lurched 23% to $28.4 billion. The unit's contribution to total revenues declined to 53% from 2001's 60%. That shift will continue, undoubtedly, over the next two years. Thanks to its military and space divisions, Boeing was able to keep its total revenue drop-off to 8%, with sales at $54.1 billion.

For 2003, Boeing expects total revenues to fall to $49 billion. Its military aircraft and missile systems division saw a 12.4% rise in revenues for 2002, and should a war happen in Iraq (Boeing has actually already built that assumption into its forecasts), the division's sales would likely shoot up again. In 2004, the company hopes revenue growth again turns skyward, with $52 billion to $54 billion anticipated.

Interestingly, Boeing produced more free cash flow for 2002 than it did in 2001, generating $3.4 billion -- 25% ahead of the previous year's $2.7 billion. This points to a company that's certainly struggling but definitely not down for the count.

With a P/E of 11 and P/FCF of around 7, shares might deserve a test flight right about now, if you're brave enough to weather the storms implicit in the next few years.

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Teen Inherits Billions (and an Island)

"For my birthday, I'd like to be the richest girl in the world!"

Perhaps Athina Roussel didn't wish for it, but that's about what she got. The granddaughter of the late shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis -- and heiress to his fortune -- turned 18 yesterday and inherited property and cash worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Indeed, the entire island of Skorpios in the Ionian Sea is now hers.

Top 26 Actions of a Teen With $2.7 Billion and an Island

26. Buy five tall lattes at Starbucks.
25. Resign membership on Living Below Your Means board.
24. Take up a really vicious smoking habit.
23. Star in Fox's Who Wants to Marry a $2.7 Billionaire?
22. Buy General Dynamics; fill next year's Christmas list with Gulfstream jets for all her friends.
21. Ditch the 29-year-old "sporting" boyfriend for someone with some coin.
20. Buy a huge "I'm not related to Jackie O" button
19. New shoes!
18. Get together with 36 other equally loaded teens to help cover AOL's 2002 deficit.
17. "Welcome to the Athina Roussel Acropolis!"
16. Pay to have the goddess of wisdom's name spelled with an "i."
15. Heal finger cuts sustained from those coupon-clipping days.
14. Buy 2.7 billion lottery tickets to improve her chances of attaining wealth.
13. Gucci!
12. Return that copy of Bourne Identity to Blockbuster whenever she darn well pleases.
11. Upgrade Pokemon collection.
10. Sign up for TMF Money Advisor.
9. Open a savings account for college.
8. Buy a college.
7. Sign a left-handed starting pitcher to a three-year contract for the Yankees.
6. Become a "teen pop sensation."
5. Can you say lip-gloss?
4. $1,000,000,000 Visa credit lines!
3. Purchase one Van Gogh (that wall there needs something).
2. Buy some privacy.
1. Feed and clothe 10,000,000 impoverished children (no guilt or anything).

Want your favorite teen to make $2 billion? OK, maybe $2 million is more reasonable.... Check out our Teens & Money center, with lots of helpful advice for teens hoping to save and make lots of moolah.

Quick Takes

Ailing drug maker Elan(NYSE: ELN), which is on the hook for up to $2.5 billion in off-balance-sheet debt (but says it needs "only" $1.5 billion for restructuring), raised another $850 million by selling two drugs and a 400-person sales unit to King Pharmaceuticals(NYSE: KG). King immediately tanked 17%, while Elan shares jumped about the same percentage, moving toward $5. Elan has recovered from a low of $1.03 as new management executes the restructuring.

DNA microarray maker Affymetrix(Nasdaq: AFFX) vaulted 15% on news that a unit of Swiss-based drug maker Roche Holding had licensed its technology. Roche will kick in $70 million up front. Affymetrix also announced a GAAP Q4 profit.

It must be biotech day on the markets! MedImmune(Nasdaq: MEDI) jumped 9% after upping EPS guidance for the year to a range of $0.88 to $0.93 and reporting positive FDA news -- though not yet final approval -- for its FluMist inhalable flu vaccine.

Now a nod to the Old Economy: Energy giant ExxonMobil(NYSE: XOM) reported Q4 EPS jumped from $0.39, year over year, to $0.60. The gain came from increased oil and natural gas prices. Duh.

In local news, county residents enjoyed the unusually balmy January weather today. Mrs. Grundy was heard to observe that a January thaw is almost always followed by a monstrous February. She's been very accurate in years past.

And Finally...

Today on Fool.com:

Contributors:
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim


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