Dow but not out
In a week of major earnings reports -- and you cancertainlyreadaboutsomeofthem here -- one that caught my eye was Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ). OK, so I wasn't all that caught up in the nitty gritty of the actual numbers. The nugget that really intrigued me was how ad revenues for its flagship The Wall Street Journal were in a funk.

This is a financial site. The Journal -- which I read daily -- should be a pretty good gauge of interest in Wall Street news, right? If WSJ sees its September ad revenues tumble by nearly 6%, I should be worried, right?

But wait a minute. Over at its sister publication, Barron's -- which I read weekly -- ad revenues were up a much healthier 20.4% for the month. So what gives? Well, pick up an issue of WSJ. Depending on the day, you can often count on pages loaded with real estate ads. Whether it's ads for a hot new golf course development, a rustic mountain getaway, or an invitation to join an exclusive destination club, a lot of the ads in that business daily would seem to rely more on a booming real estate market than the finicky eating habits of equity-grazing bulls and bears. And real estate? Well, you know how that's been going over the past few months. It will bounce back eventually -- and with that, WSJ's ad slump -- but I'd stick to Barron's as the truer metric of print advertising as it relates to stock market journalism.

Or if you're hungrier for a different kind of gauge to weigh the same niche, consider the fate of discounter brokers. You had E*Trade (NYSE:ET) and Stock Advisor recommendation Charles Schwab (NASDAQ:SCHW) both showing healthy gains this past quarter. I'm resting a little easier -- and grateful that I don't have a vacation home on the market.

Have you Hurd the news?
How refreshing is it to find Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) in a positive story these days? Marketing research firms IDC and Gartner are reporting that HP has overtaken Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) in the number of PCs being shipped.

Well done, HP. Even as the snooping scandal just won't go away, it seems as if folks are having no problem buying up HP and Compaq machines. Because 85% of Dell's business is on the corporate side, one would think that HP's retail gains would not be consequential. However, HP's recent wave of notoriety is apparently not making a dent in the company's credibility as a corporate supplier, either. Talk about a turnaround! CEO Mark Hurd sure knows how to please an audience with a little juggling.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Charles Schwab and Dell are Stock Advisor selections. Dell is also an Inside Value pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.