Bezos is no Bozo
Was I the only one surprised to see shares of (NASDAQ:AMZN) surrender 14% of their value after a lackluster third-quarter report? Shouldn't a retailer be weighed on its holiday showing? Oh, that's right. Amazon talked down its seasonally potent fourth quarter, too. Bummer. However, dig deeper and you will find a company still growing and working on some compelling initiatives.

The knock on Amazon has always been that even if it's the dot-com equivalent of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), it will suffer from low margins. That's why I think the market shouldn't be discounting Amazon's initiative to take on Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) by selling digital downloads.

No, I don't think Amazon has the moxie to move 500 million song downloads the way Apple has. Not now, anyway. However, making a move toward digital delivery is one way for Amazon to beef up its margins and change the market's perception. The online giant started out selling books before moving on to CDs, movies, and video games, and the digital delivery of all of those formats is approaching quickly. From next-generation video game consoles with massive storage to the speedy connections necessary to transmit fat data files, there's money to be made in the emerging and margin-rich turf of the digital delivery of goods that are today being exchanged in their physical formats.

Because Amazon is seen as the top dog in online retailing, I would be wary of ignoring the company even if it weren't taking the initiative of exploring Web-based delivery. The fact that investors are talking down the price of the popular Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation may make this third quarter sell-off the mother of all holiday shopping sales.

Fed to the lions
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has a little more than two months before he officially retires. Pending his confirmation, Ben Bernanke will take over come January. It will be an interesting transition to watch. Under Greenspan's tenure, investors, speculators, and borrowers have been treated to rock-bottom interest rates until inflationary concerns and an improving economy led the longtime Fed chief to trigger a series of rate hikes.

The economy is always a work in progress, yet this seems like an overly awkward time to hand off the baton. With consumer confidence teetering and the housing market nearing a bubble burst, Bernanke will have his hands full in helping to orchestrate the Fed's policies in the coming months. I certainly wish him luck. I'd rank this job one notch shy of alligator wrestling in my book of desirable work environments.

The headlines behind this week's stories:

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has never tried running the Fed or wrestling with alligators. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. 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.