If you're looking for a job, we've got a few tips and related links for you. If those fail, here's some more advice: Sell yourself short.
That's what 30-year-old Angelika Wedberg did, and it worked for her. Tired of rejections, the Swedish health-care worker placed an unusual ad in the daily Goteborgs-Posten. "I want a well-paid job. I have no imagination, I am anti-social, uncreative, and untalented."
The phone, according to published reports, began ringing off the hook, and now Ms. Wedberg has an interview lined up tomorrow for a job that would pay her a third more than she's now making.
Please read on; we think you'll find the rest of The Motley Fool Take boring, uninteresting, and a general waste of your time.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Pfizer's Foggy Financials
- Quote of Note
- Diapers Chafe Kimberly-Clark
- Searching for Stock Ideas?
- Cheesecake Factory Sliced
- Discussion Board of the Day: Recipes/Cooking
- Quick Takes: Coach , Lockheed Martin, J2 Global Communications, more
- And Finally...
The world's largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer
Adjusted earnings from continued operations rose 15% to $0.45 per share, with net income up 13% to $2.7 billion on revenue of $8.5 billion.
International pharmaceutical sales led the charge, rising 18% to $2.8 billion, while U.S. drug sales climbed 8% to $5.0 billion. Ten Pfizer drugs are on track to top $1 billion in annual sales, including cholesterol-battler Lipitor -- the Bible of drugs, the best seller in the world. Lipitor's first-quarter sales alone topped $2 billion (23% of Pfizer's total sales), up 13%.
Here's where we break from the usual news coverage. It's instructive how many news organizations are praising Pfizer's quarterly results, despite only having the company's press release statements and income statement to go by -- neither of which addresses the equally or more important cash flow statement and balance sheet.
For one, Pfizer has a subpar cash conversion cycle (CCC), which measures the time required to turn a dollar spent on goods sold back into cash. The company's slow CCC makes us watch its accounts receivable and inventory levels closely, but we're forced to wait until SEC statements are released because management doesn't issue additional preliminary financials with earnings. It could. It should.
Today's quarterly release is the last one to exclude Pfizer's closing $60 billion purchase of Pharmacia, so perhaps future releases will include the balance sheet and cash flow statement. It's a good time to change this practice, Pfizer. If not, we'll be disappointed again next quarter.
Meanwhile, we ran Pfizer's 2002 CCC and found it was 154 days. It took Pfizer 154 days to turn a dollar spent on goods sold back into cash. This was up from 144 days in 2001. For comparison, Johnson & Johnson
Pfizer earned $8.4 billion in free cash flow in 2002, up 20% from 2001. Its $243 billion enterprise value puts it at 29 times 2002 free cash flow, a premium to peers and the total market average. At $31.50, the stock trades at 17 times 2003 earnings-per-share estimates, which project 13% growth. The stock has been in a price range since 1998 (Viagra hype), and it looks like earnings and free cash flow still have some catching up to do.
"A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot conscientiously be regarded as a thing of beauty." -- Mark Twain
Diapers and gas turned out to be a bit messy for Kimberly-Clark
Diapers rubbed the company the wrong way because of intense pricing pressure from competitors such as Procter & Gamble
Also soiling performance was the rising price of natural gas and other energy, which the company uses to manufacture its products.
In the end, however, the diaper wars are not chafing investors. Earnings were slightly above expectations, and Kimberly-Clark is maintaining its full-year profit forecast of at least $3.36 per share. Sales rose about 4%, and though they were helped along by favorable currency exchange rates, the increase also reflects 2% volume growth. With the stock up 4% today, it seems investors were expecting worse.
The company is trading at a trailing price-earnings ratio of 15, which is about half the industry average and near a five-year low. By comparison, Procter & Gamble's P/E stands at 25.
However, while Kimberly-Clark may be worth considering in the consumer products sector, it is no relative bargain. P&G's P/E is also near a five-year low, and both trade at about 25 times trailing-12-month free cash flow... a much more accurate measure of a company's profitability.
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor, written each month by co-founders David and Tom Gardner, features an easy-to-follow stock scorecard so you can monitor the performance of their head-to-head investment picks in a multiyear battle. (You should hear them going at it here at Fool HQ...).
Is the first cut always the deepest? Casual-dining chain Cheesecake Factory
Posting 42 consecutive quarters of same-unit sales growth, an amazing run dating back to the company's 1992 stock market debut, one had to wonder if the restaurateur was even mortal in a world of fickle dining tastes.
But, alas, Joe DiMaggio had to play that hitless 57th game, and Cheesecake Factory couldn't weather the elements in its 43rd quarter. Somewhere between the California rains and the late-season East Coast snowstorms lies the reasons for the 2% slide in March quarter comps. The company was also quick to point out that the Easter season fell in April this year, negating another chunk of holiday traffic.
Calendars and storm clouds are perfect scapegoats. After all, it throws the hounds off the scent of introspection. But we won't let Cheesecake Factory off that easily. It was part of this year's Stocks 2003 collection, so we'll be kicking the tires all year long.
The company's average check inches up every quarter. It's now up to $15.78. Is it pricing itself out of the casual-dining market? Is its expansion in established markets starting to cannibalize sales? Cheesecake Factory may be the last to admit it, while weathervanes and perpetual calendars are there for the blaming. But looking back at the paltry 0.3% gain in same-store sales back in the December quarter seems to indicate that the chain's popularity is in a rut relative to its previous quarterly gains.
To its credit, Cheesecake Factory was still able to grow diluted earnings by 19% on thicker profit margins. The 65-unit chain is set on opening 14 new locations this year with most of those serving new markets.
But while the stock is now marked down to trading at little more than 20 times next year's projected earnings, the eroded premium is just. This is no longer the Teflon concept.
This current quarter is crucial. The weather's starting to get nice. Easter came in April. Cheesecake Factory will have no excuses this time. The new hitting streak better start now.
With 200 items on the Cheesecake Factory menu, is there room for the recipe for success? Do you have any tasty meal secrets you would like to share? All this and more -- in the Recipes/Cooking discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
President Bush said he would support reappointing Alan Greenspan for another term as Federal Reserve Chairman. Wags had thought that Greenspan's apparent opposition to the Administration's tax cuts would scuttle his chances.
Shares of luxury goods maker Coach
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin
Messaging and communications service provider J2 Global Communications
Today on Fool.com:
- For updated stories throughout the day, bookmark our ever-changing News section.
- A Future IPO? Tom Jacobs visits the vanguard of security software.
- Dayana Yochim offers six tips to make the most of your time and money.
- Activision boosts guidance, giving the stock a lift -- but are investors really served?
- Krispy Kreme vs. Starbucks -- Rick Munarriz compares their daily grind.
- In Buy, Sell, or Hold? PetSmart CEO Phillip Francis talks raincoats and rodents with David and Tom Gardner.
- In Fool's School, you can invest on a shoestring budget.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim