November 2, 2007
If you focus on the more serious stories in the financial press, such as Monsanto's (NYSE: MON ) monster year or iRobot's (Nasdaq: IRBT ) bumps and bruises, you might miss the more unusual financial news. Here's a brief recap:
- Spirit makers such as Diageo (NYSE: DEO ) and Fortune Brands (NYSE: FO ) may have a new market: hospitals. It seems that a hospital in Australia gave vodka to a patient intravenously, after running out of the pharmaceutical-grade alcohol it would usually use.
- Applebee's (Nasdaq: APPB ) might have a new spokesperson: A 6-year-old Colorado boy wanted to go to a restaurant so much he decided to drive himself there. If child-driving becomes a trend, booster-seat makers such as Newell-Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL ) might want to come out with extra-high seats to help tots see over the dashboard.
- A $10 gold coin has just traded hands -- for $5 million! The 1834 coin is one of only four of its kind known to exist. It was minted for President Andrew Jackson to give away on trips to Asia. While this might get you excited about gold as an investment, remember that overall, over long periods, gold doesn't have the best track record. Between 1982 and 2007, for example, gold's compound average annual return was 3%, vs. 11% for the S&P 500.
- Here's a dubious measure of marketing success: Of 1,000 Americans surveyed, more could name the ingredients in a McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) Big Mac than could name the 10 Commandments. (Only about 70% remembered "Thou shall not steal.") This is surely disheartening to many, but how often do we see lists of the commandments, and how often do we see and hear ads for fast-food sandwiches? This is a great lesson in how effective advertising can be. McDonald's actually has the world's eighth most-valuable brand, according to a Business Week-sponsored survey.
Enough silliness, though. We at the Fool aim "to educate, amuse, and enrich." I invite you to read any other article in Fooldom for at least a little education and perhaps some enrichment, as well.