It's funny how, throughout the daily noise of our lives and the market, we forget the simplest things. The media has conditioned us to want an instant fix -- instant results. Yet that's completely contrary to how the most successful investors operate.
Guest columnist Mohnish Pabrai has learned that very lesson. In Buffett Succeeds at Nothing, Pabrai means that, literally -- Warren Buffett's successful because he's willing to stand pat and do nothing while he waits for the right opportunity.
So, work on your bridge game (Buffett reportedly plays 10 to 20 hours per week) or go trick-or-treating (you're never too old!) this week if you're unsure of your next investing move. You don't need all the answers right now.
The FOOL 50, impatient and always living in the moment, gained just over 1% today.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Citi Groups Analysts
- Quote of Note
- Amazon's New Outfit
- Shameless Plug: The Motley Fool Stock Advisor
- Activision Scores Well
- Discussion Board of the Day: Video & PC
- Quick Takes: Dynegy , Monsanto , Qwest, more
- And Finally...
In a move sure to get under Eliot Spitzer's publicity-lovin' skin, Citigroup
Under the plan, Citigroup will create a new division to house its stock research and private client brokerage business. Known as Smith Barney, the group will drop the "Salomon" and any associations with the Liar's Poker way of conducting business. Smith Barney should be fully independent from Citigroup's investment banking and underwriting business.
Citigroup chief Sandy Weill tapped the beyond-reproach Sallie Krawcheck to head up Smith Barney. Hailing from the independent boutique research firm Sanford C. Bernstein, where she was chairman and chief executive officer, Krawcheck will report directly to Weill. She'll get the job done and has much more credibility and visibility than anyone he could have promoted from within Citigroup.
Krawcheck has been a vocal critic of the traditional coziness of banking and research. She was instrumental in growing Sanford's business, and is a staunch believer in the value of independent research. When asked in an interview with Fortune magazine this past summer if she'd consider adding underwriting business at Sanford to increase revenues, she said, "They're going to have to take me out of here on a board, toes up, before that happens. No way."
What this means for Citigroup in relation to the proposed settlement remains to be seen. Some regulators still want a move to freestanding research firms, rather than divisions within the overall company, but that possibility now seems remote. Most likely, the companies involved will pay to fund an oversight board to regulate research and ensure its independence. Meetings continue today to reach a final solution, and at first glance, Citigroup's announced separation won't affect the settlement.
Settlement or no, we applaud Citigroup's move toward separation. We're waiting now for other Street heavyweights to do the same -- but we're not holding our breath.
"The world is so fast that there are days when the person who says it can't be done is interrupted by the person who is doing it." -- Anonymous
Reports are surfacing, in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required, free trial available to Fools) and elsewhere, that Amazon.com
According to the Journal, "In its most significant effort to expand its product line in a year, the Internet retailer is developing an online apparel store in partnership with major clothing retailers, and will introduce the store in time for the holiday shopping season." The retailers in question include the Gap
This seems to be a promising win-win arrangement. Amazon will offer its millions of shoppers the chance to purchase clothing (and footwear) from the catalogs of major apparel retailers. The clothing retailers will maintain the inventory (thus sparing Amazon much overhead and money) and process orders. Combining the effective Amazon online shopping environment and tools with the deep product lines of major old-guard retailers sure sounds like a smart idea. Amazon has actually already been forming similar partnerships with Toys "R" Us
The Journal notes that clothing is one of the top online sales categories, expected to generate $5.2 billion in sales this year, 18% more than last year. It also points out that, "In the third quarter, 23% of the goods Amazon sold in North America were through transactions with third parties, including brand-name merchants and individual sellers of used goods." As this part of its business grows, Amazon becomes more like eBay
Considering that several of these new partners have been struggling of late (think Gap and Sears), this new deal could help boost their bottom lines. Is there any way Kmart
If you're interested in advice that's geared toward average investors instead of rich hotshots, check out David and Tom Gardner's newsletter, The Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Each issue features a Tom and David tête-à-tête, during which they explain their stock ideas.
Video game diehards play to win. Apparently, so do video game publishers.
At that time, Activision went from projecting $1.10 a share in profits for the full fiscal year to $1.25. Now it's raising that mark once more to $1.29 a share on $934 million in revenue. It's looking to top the billion-dollar mark on higher profits next year.
While the company is a distant second to Electronic Arts
As Nintendo, Microsoft
There's no harm in working all three controllers with the same hand. Last week, Electronic Arts upped its fiscal 2003 outlook, as well. While PlayStation2 is still the platform of choice, they're all gaining new users.
Rolling into the holiday shopping season, Activision and the rest of the players are hoping the economic funk won't rain on their parade. The sector has weathered the storm so far, but that doesn't mean every game publisher is winning.
Activision is scoring well right now. Let's hope that history keeps the company in the game.
Which is the ideal holiday purchase: Xbox? PlayStation2? Nintendo GameCube? All this and more -- in the Video & PC discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow could be indicted as early as today on criminal fraud charges. Among other things, Fastow is accused of hiding millions in debt in off-balance sheet transactions.
Thanks to slowing sales of its Roundup herbicide, Monsanto
Still looking for that perfect Halloween costume? Check out the scary CEO masks at Forbes.com. The printer-friendly masks include Bernie Ebbers, Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, Sam Waksal, and yes... Martha Stewart.
Today on Fool.com: Warren Buffett says his best investment strategy is "sitting on his butt".... Online travel is back in line, according to Rex Moore.... A headhunter explains why you shouldn't send out hundreds of resumes.... In Fool's School, learn from others' investing mistakes.... The Fool Community discusses the future of big biotechs.... And the Post of the Day: Cree.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim