Major events with global implications? Hardly. But we couldn't pass them up:

In Pine Bluff, Ark., a would-be bank robber was jeered by tellers, who told him the bank was out of cash and that if he wanted to steal money, he'd better deposit some first....

In Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Senate voted 23-1 to protest CBS's showing of The Real Beverly Hillbillies, which it said would make fun of rural folks....

In cyberspace, a website devoted to the suddenly beloved Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf -- -- had to temporarily shut down because of heavy traffic.

Happy Friday... enjoy the weekend!

In today's Motley Fool Take:

HP Wins Over P&G

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) has landed two big information technology outsourcing deals from Procter & Gamble(NYSE: PG) and Ericsson(Nasdaq: ERICY). The move marks a big step forward for HP in its quest to expand its business services, and sticks it squarely into competition with firms such as Electronic Data Systems(NYSE: EDS) and IBM(NYSE: IBM).

P&G decided back in November not to award a $7 billion contract to EDS, and said it would outsource its IT needs piecemeal. HP's $3 billion, 10-year agreement is the largest granted by P&G so far. Terms of the Ericsson contract weren't disclosed, but both deals are solid votes of confidence for HP's ability to effectively manage business networks and computing services.

HP's service revenues in its most recent quarter were $2.96 billion, out of total revenues of $17.88 billion. The segment's operating profits were $341 million, constituting a substantial chunk of HP's $879 million in operating income and representing operating margins of 11.5%. The margins for the services division, then, are more than double the 4.9% operating margins HP enjoys as a whole. Given this, it's easy to understand why HP would want to grow this part of its business.

Research suggests that more companies are moving towards outsourcing their information technology in an effort to save money and keep technology current. However, in the current weak spending environment, big outsourcing contracts have been hard to come by, and the traditional players in the field have suffered. That makes HP's win here even harder for companies such as EDS and IBM to swallow.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

If you're interested in advice that's geared toward average investors instead of rich hotshots, check out David and Tom Gardner's newsletter, Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Each issue features a Tom and David tête-à-tête, during which they explain their stock ideas.

Ode to Starbucks

En route to a year where sales could reach $4 billion, Starbucks(Nasdaq: SBUX) announces quarterly results on Thursday, April 24. Second-quarter revenue is expected to top $930 million, up 21%, while earnings per share should rise 18%, to $0.13.

Starbucks has brewed up strong double-digit sales and earnings growth every year since it went public in 1992. Was it only 1992? This company has been on the market and changed how America drinks coffee in only the past 11 years?

We remember when Starbucks stores were first opening throughout Lincoln Park, Chicago, back in 1993 and 1994. From the start, the company had the markings of an investment winner: Lines at the cash register, a universally enjoyed product, a brand name that stuck with people, a big lead on competing ideas, expansion and profits.

Today, in honor of Friday, of coffee breaks, and of millions of Americans (you?) who regularly stop by Starbucks for that little bit of down time, we're taking a break ourselves to run an ode to Starbucks in the form of -- what else? -- a poem. It was written by John Lee. It's reprinted here with his permission and the permission of the D.C. Way Writer's Journal, where it was originally published. We hope you enjoy it, and have a very motley weekend.

"Seven Ways to Order Coffee"
by John Lee

At dawn, the dark roast scents greet
each visitor as well as the soft
elevator music, bohemian style.
Grande latte for the early
riser next in line. The mid-lifer seeking
every excuse to wake from endless slumber.

For during the nine to fivers rush,
Skim latte, with a touch of cinnamon
and a scone for the businesswoman
sure of herself and her drink preference.

At ten and leisurely on his way to work,
with the chatter of technology
from cellphone rested to ear,
the young executive-to-be orders
the chocolate mocha, rich and creamy,
he's just not into coffee yet, but
seeks the comforts of conformity.

From the mid-morning respite,
office workers make a trek,
two by two or four by four, they
make their way for morning seconds.
Ill to work, they seek the pleasure of a
gingerbread latte break, a special just in season.

Into lunch, the coffee grinds whir,
never ceasing until every last drop is poured.
An assistant pushed to the brink arrives,
sunglasses neatly on top, seeking sugar to burn.
Iced mochachino and an expensive sandwich for her.
She's got another five before it's off to do more.

Black coffee for the afternoon gent.
He's realistic and experienced in the world.
Never embellishing and always forthright,
you can tell he's too honest for his own good.

I stand behind them in line. Waiting
for a chance to order what I covet --
white chocolate mocha -- three pumps of chocolate please,
not four. Wondering what they will think of me.

Quote of Note

"Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries." -- Bill Cosby

How to Soothe Retirement Worries

Americans' confidence in their ability to retire at a reasonable age with adequate savings is sinking. This should come as absolutely no surprise, however, and clearly shows the need for sound planning and more education on this topic.

Mired in a faltering economy, a three-year bear market, and a volatile geopolitical climate, we'd hardly expect the Retirement Confidence Survey to reflect much optimism. Released today by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the American Savings Education Council, here are some of the findings:

  • 21% of workers feel "very confident" about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement and 45% feel "somewhat confident." That's down from 23% and 47% last year, respectively.

  • 24% of workers 45 and older say they plan to postpone their retirement, compared to only 15% last year.

  • 16% say they are "not at all" confident they'll have enough money for retirement, a 6% increase from a year ago.

Perhaps the most troubling finding, however, is that 61% of workers have not calculated how much money they will need to save by the time they retire, and 36% of those who have do not remember the amount!

The best way to gain more confidence in your ability to retire comfortably is to educate yourself on how much money you'll actually need in your golden years and what it will take to save that amount. Oh, and to actually remember it when you learn it.

Fortunately, we have free help in our Retirement Center. Set aside an hour or so to read through it and make use of the various calculators. Or consider our suggestions for how to plan the perfect retirement. We're 99% confident your peace of mind will soar 83% or higher.

Discussion Board of the Day: Retiring Early

Are you worried about your golden years? Would you like to get some tips from Fools who are saving their way to an early retirement? If so, head over to our Retire Early discussion board. Only on

Quick Takes

General Electric (NYSE: GE) reported first-quarter earnings today. The conglomerate earned $3 billion, or $0.30 a share for the period ended March 31, on revenues of $30.3 billion. In the prior quarter, its net income was $2.5 billion, or $0.25 a share. Minus a one-time charge, it netted $3.2 billion. Standout divisions for GE during the quarter were NBC, medical systems, industrial systems, and consumer and commercial finance, which all contributed double-digit earnings growth.

Is Wal-Mart(NYSE: WMT) going shopping? A report from says that the company may offer $1.4 billion for warehouse club retailer BJ's Wholesale(NYSE: BJ). Neither would confirm the rumors. Wal-Mart is said to be interested in BJ's because of its East Coast real estate and presence.

Mutual and index fund company Vanguard is suing Citigroup's(NYSE: C) Citibank and Salomon Smith Barney units over the sale of $70 million of worthless Enron bonds. Vanguard charges that Citibank and Salomon disguised Enron's huge debt and used it to back Enron bonds that were sold to investors. Vanguard also says it was misled by "false" Enron financial statements Citibank and Salomon circulated. The proceeds from the bond offering, around $800 million, were allegedly used to repay Enron's Citibank debts.

Boeing (NYSE: BA) will take a $1.2 billion pre-tax charge in its first quarter to reflect the slumping value of its acquisitions and the difficulties in its jetliner business. The charge will hit earnings by $1.23 a share. The biggest part of the charge, an after-tax $835 million worth, will account for the decreased goodwill associated with Boeing's acquisitions.

And Finally...

Today on

Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim