The week started with a rumor, but earnings and new product launches grounded it in reality.
Meg goes on a Shopping.com spree
I don't think Meg Whitman is channeling Yoda. However, eBay
It's not just the domain that eBay was after, even though some of the common-word dot-coms that the company has gobbled up, like Half.com and Rent.com, could make you think otherwise. In this case, though, Shopping.com was starting to matter. Through the merger between DealTime, its previous comparison-shopping incarnation, and Epinions, the consumer-opinion site, Shopping.com offered the best of both companies. In short, it had become a platform for small merchants to get noticed. So when eBay board member C-3PO muttered, "I have a bad feeling about this," the world's leading online marketplace decided to tap its massive cash reserves to acquire the upstart before it was too late.
So they finally gathered up some dynamite, blew up the hatch, and then .
Even though Lost ended with a mountain range full of cliffhangers and Desperate Housewives left its viewers with more split ends than a bad hair day, there was little doubt about where ABC was going -- to the bank. Disney's
No, it wasn't much of a surprise. ABC has been gaining viewers, mostly at the expense of General Electric's
Brokers can be had, for a price
Discount brokers are a lot like hormonal teens. They like to dance. They like to talk about their conquests. They also like to date. Ameritrade
Consolidation in the discount-brokerage space can be good and bad. Although combined companies can improve their operating efficiencies and drive costs lower, it can also mean that fewer choices will leave the remaining companies less likely to enter into pricing wars to make trades cheaper for you.
But wait a minute. If merged companies can operate on better margins and at the same time achieve more pricing flexibility, can't the individual investor still win? Yes, of course. There is one way -- buy the discount-brokerage stocks. If you don't have that luxury, well, Meg may be waiting in the wings.
The headlines behind this week's stories:
Until next week, I remain,
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys a good cliffhanger almost as much as, well, he'll tell you next week. He does own shares in Disney. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.