In recent speeches, President Bush insists that our economy is creating jobs -- and let's assume he doesn't mean for export. One familiar protest is that while high-paying white-collar jobs head overseas, we're left with those low-paying jobs one might be tempted to sum up in a word: McJob.
Traditionally, we resist for three reasons: First, why say anything with one word that you could say with 10? Second, that seems a bit unfair to Ronald and friends. More importantly, if it's not in Merriam-Webster, it doesn't get past Reggie -- our esteemed editor known affectionately as The Hammer.
Well, you guessed it: The upcoming edition of Merriam's Collegiate Dictionary defines McJob as "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement." Needless to say, McDonald's is not amused.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Home Depot Does Windows
- Shameless Plug: 3-in-1 Credit Report
- Activision's True Crime
- Quote of Note
- The Domain Name Game
- Discussion Board of the Day: Green Gene Stocks
- More Fool News
- And Finally...
Home Depot Does Windows
If you're wondering what the big orange giant is up to, look no further than the firm's description of itself in its press releases:
Founded in 1978, The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer and the second largest retailer in the United States, with fiscal 2002 sales of $58.2 billion. The company employs approximately 315,000 associates and has 1,644 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, eight Canadian provinces, and Mexico.
If you're already in all 50 states and raking in about $60 billion per year in sales, how do you keep growing? Sure, you can keep adding stores -- though at 1,644, you are probably already in most of the places you'd ideally want to be. You can also expand internationally, which the company has begun doing.
Another valid strategy is to broaden the scope of your business, as Home Depot and main rival Lowe's
According to one report, Home Depot is enjoying sales growth of about 40% per year in its home installation services. Not too shabby! Learn more about Home Depot in this Dueling Fools battle from earlier this year and in this later one that pits Home Depot against Lowe's.
Shameless Plug: 3-in-1 Credit Report
You don't have to listen closely to hear that Americans are taking on record levels of debt. This may, as they say, have absolutely nothing to do with you. Or it might. Either way, you want to know what creditors are looking for and credit agencies are looking at. Head over to our Credit Center and see the big three credit reports creditors use to judge you. And save five bucks while you're there.
Activision's True Crime
Despite David Gardner's recommendation of the stock in Motley Fool Stock Advisor, Activision
Its other products certainly don't command a premium valuation. For example, Street Hoops -- Activision's answer to Electronic Arts'
Thus, it should have come as no surprise that, along with earnings, Activision announced that it had cancelled the development of 10 games, including sequels to the Shaun Palmer snowboarding game and Street Hoops 2.
Last week, Rick Aristotle Munarriz suggested that investors look past Activision's second-quarter results and into the holiday season. But unlike its other titles, last week's release, True Crime: Streets of L.A., might just give Activision an ace-in-the-hole -- a potential second blockbuster franchise, and a reason to look even further into the future.
At first, True Crime looks like a knockoff of Take 2 Interactive's
As a loose-cannon cop in a clichéd-but-entertaining storyline, you are treated to a good fighting game, a good action game, and a decent driving game. In one episode you're fighting strippers; in another you're chasing a limo incognito. Though True Crime doesn't do any one thing exceptionally well, its attributes really do come together in aggregate, with an authentic atmosphere in an authentic environment.
You ever been to Santa Monica, or downtown L.A.? How about the Staples Center?
Further accentuating that authenticity is a soundtrack powered by West Coast rappers, including the likes of Snoop Dogg, Jay-O Felony, and Warren G. This is sure to resonate in a Hip Hop generation.
I'm still not an advocate of Activision as a company, but even if True Crime actually is a Grand Theft Auto knock off, it is a pretty damn good one. And the fact that it plays second fiddle to the original won't diminish its chances for success. Unlike sports games, there are few penalties for being second best in this genre.
Think about it: We might end up having "True Crime" in every city. And for Activision investors and video game enthusiasts alike, that could be a very good thing.
Quote of Note
"Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down." -- Jimmy Durante
The Domain Name Game
It was easy to liken domain registrations in the 1990s to the California gold rush a century earlier. Folks would dig a little, stake their claim, and hope for the best. And some of the early birds who managed to register popular generic words like Business.com and Autos.com did walk away with millions.
With starry-eyed hopefuls willing to scoop up the names left behind, stock investors turned to domain registration sites like Register.com
Surely, the dot-com speculators would pony up their annual registrations fees to keep their hoarded domains current. Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. The woman in Boise who had registered a hundred misspellings of Amazon.com
Investors gave up too. Things got so bad that Register.com was once worth less than the cash on its balance sheet. It's actually not far from that today. Back in September, the company used more than half of its cash in a self-tender offer to repurchase 43% of its outstanding stock. Today the company has $90.2 million in cash and 23.5 million shares -- or $3.84 a share. The stock closed at $4.69 yesterday before hurdling past the $5 mark in after-hours trading.
Why did this cash cow jump over the penny-stock moon? Well, while the registration business continues to fade, the company did manage a third-quarter profit. Register.com earned $0.06 a share on essentially flat revenues of $25.8 million. Over the past year, the company's domain registration business has fallen from 93% to 86% of total revenues.
Yes, speculation has cooled. Nowadays only half of the domains registered at Register.com are renewed. However, the company is starting to capitalize on those users who plan on actually building sites on their acquired names. That's far more tangible than any cyperspace gold rush. Real people spending real money. For Register.com, that's real good news.
Discussion Board of the Day: Green Gene Stocks
Do you own stocks that are rich in cash but poor in market loving? Would you like to? To learn about companies trading near their cash balances, head on over to the Green Gene Stocks discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
For all of today's stories, see Today's Headlines.
Welcome back to the show that never ends, our friends... step inside, step inside. Into the Money Confessional, that is. Wondering just what the heck is the money confessional? Dayana Yochim will show you. Like we said, step inside. And while we're welcoming back, you'll be happy to know that Tom Jacobs is back in residence. Back from Latvia (of all places), rested, relaxed, invigorated, and, best of all, bearing 5 Stocks You Can Understand.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Jeff Hwang, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Alyce Lomax, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Dave Marino-Nachison, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim