Every year, various publications come up with lists of the best sports nicknames. Past winners include the Macon Whoopee hockey team and the University of California at Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

With spring upon us, businesses across America are breaking out their bats and balls for softball season. In fine Motley Fool tradition, we thought we'd help the companies below come up with a fitting nickname for their teams.

Top 14 Company Nicknames

14. Goldman Sachs Spinners
13. J.P. Morgan Ladders
12. Microsoft Monopolies
11. Dynegy Round Trippers
10. Berkshire Hathaway Greenbacks
9. Pfizer Pfunny Pfarmers
8. Bristol-Myers-Squirm
7. Krispy Kreme Kolesterol Kollectors
6. Bad Moon Verizons
5. IBM Big Blue Man Group (team cheer: "I BM! You BM! We All BM!")
4. GEICO Amphibians
3. State Farm Secret Agents
2. Dell's Angels
1. Generous Electrics (highest-paid managers in the league)

Got some more suggestions for us? Post them on The Motley Fool Take discussion board!

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Intuit's Tax Break

As we get ready to blast into May and leave the tax-filing blur of April behind, Intuit(Nasdaq: INTU) is counting its beans.

The software giant behind the popular TurboTax program indicated its earnings for the April quarter would come in at the high end of previously announced guidance, while revenue would fall short.

In theory, that's a good thing. It means the company is producing fatter margins than expected, and anytime you can milk more out of the incremental dollar, you're heading in the right direction.

But what about the soft top line? The company took a lot of heat this year over the latest installment of its flagship tax program. From its unpopular copy protection measures to spyware allegations, an online uproar of users swore off Intuit's product. Over on cnet.com, TurboTax Deluxe received a damaging 92% disapproval rating from a voting pool of hundreds.

Intuit is calling the tax season a success, claiming a 12% surge in unit sales to 6.1 million from 5.5 million the year before, along with similar gains in its online tax preparation and filing services. But if the company instituted anti-piracy features to help dissuade the 10 million users whom it claims filed with TurboTax without purchasing the product, isn't selling just 600,000 more units a relative failure?

It is. And while the company claims it "maintained" its unit share at the federal retail level at 68%, isn't that less than the 71.3% unit share it reported in last year's fiscal third-quarter report?

It is.

The stock rose initially on the news, but it may have been more a sigh of relief. This is a stock that has lost over a third of its value over the past six months. The real market share and unit-sales figure to watch will come next year, when we'll find out if any ill will caused by the restrictive measures included in the latest edition of TurboTax linger and drive its user base away.

Discussion Board of the Day: Tax Strategies

It's never too early -- or too late -- to visit our Tax Center. But what are you going to do now to make sure your tax returns are optimized? Will the latest batch of tax changes make a difference in how you plan for 2003? All this and more -- in the Tax Strategies discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Retirement Changes for 2003

We're sure that, right after Father Time rang in 2003, you kissed your beau, considered your resolutions, and wondered whether the contribution limit on your retirement account would increase. The good news is... yes. That is, yes, the contribution limits on many retirement accounts will increase this year. Here's the lowdown:

  • 401(k), 403(b), and 457 accounts, and SARSEPs: The annual contribution limit increases from $11,000 to $12,000 for 2003, and the catch-up contribution limit (for those age 50 and older) increases from $1,000 to $2,000.

  • SIMPLE IRAs: The contribution limit increases to $8,000, and the catch-up contribution (again, for the half-centenarians and beyond) to $1,000.

  • Traditional and Roth IRAs: For 2003, the limit will stay at $3,000, and the catch-up contribution limit will remain $500.

So, if money is taken out of your paycheck and deposited in a retirement account, and that amount is based on 2002 limits, contact your human resources department and have the amount changed.

If these new contribution amounts sound too high for your budget, remember that you don't have to put in the maximum, and that contributions can be spread out throughout the year. Even contributing $100 or $200 a month to an IRA will add thousands to your retirement nest egg.

Don't know how much you should be saving? Then find out how to retire in comfort.

Quote of Note

"He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate." -- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Journal

Bristol-Myers Loses Out

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) exceeded first-quarter earnings targets and reaffirmed that net income should grow as much as 28% this year. But investors should keep their eyes on the bigger picture.

In 2004, earnings growth is likely to stall to single digits (about 7%), as four drugs come off European patent.

Following a swirl of inventory channel-stuffing and improper accounting practices, Bristol-Myers has been halved since early 2002, to a recent $25 per share. The stock pays a 4.5% dividend yield, but arguments for strong capital appreciation in the next 12 months are lacking.

The stock sits at 15.6 times this year's earnings estimate and 14.5 times 2004 estimates. Competitor Pfizer(NYSE: PFE) is hitting on all cylinders, and it trades at just 14.8 times 2004 earnings estimates. Plus, Pfizer should grow net income by double digits in 2004, and it doesn't have the black eye of accounting improprieties.

So, which would you rather own?

In the intermediate term, Bristol-Myers could rise if we see a strong performance from pharmaceutical stocks. But then Pfizer would rise, too -- and likely more so.

Bristol-Myers reported $4.7 billion in first-quarter sales and $761 million in net income; domestic sales fell 6% as generic drugs continued to eat market share. Drug investors have better options available elsewhere.

Save for the Unexpected

Here at Fool.com, we spend a lot of time talking about investing in the stock market. But that's for your long-term savings -- money you won't need for at least five years, right? Right! What about those unpredictable zingers life throws at you at the worst times? Why, that's why you need a stash of short-term savings. Let us tell you how to start saving today.

Quick Takes

Defense company Northrop Grumman(NYSE: NOC) reported strong first-quarter results today. Earnings excluding items rose to $174 million from $149 million. Sales skyrocketed 49% to $5.87 billion. Increased defense spending from the government has helped boost Northrop's operations and will continue to do so. The company raised its operating earnings forecast for 2003 to $3.80-$4.20 from its previous guidance of $3.65-$4.15. It predicts 2003 sales of $25 billion to $26 billion, and 2004 sales of $28 billion to $29 billion.

Janus Capital Group (NYSE: JNS) , a mutual fund firm, felt the stock market's tumble over the last year in its Q1 results. Net income drooped to just $38.6 million from the prior period's $97.2 million. Assets under management sank 26.9% to $136.4 billion. Revenues fell 28.3% to $235.5 million.

Hip shoe company Steve Madden(Nasdaq: SHOO) posted fashionable results today, as first-quarter earnings increased 23.4% to $5 million. Sales jumped 18.1% to $78.7 million. Retail revenues, generated through the company's Steve Madden-branded stores, grew 12.4% to $21.1 million, with comps up 4%. Wholesale revenues improved 20.4% to $57.6 million.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) recorded a profit in its first quarter, thanks to increased sales volume offsetting higher raw material prices. Sales rose 14% to $7 billion, helped by a 7% volume increase and a 6% boost from foreign exchange effects. Earnings, excluding items, grew to $564 million from $479 million. Per share, DuPont netted $0.61 versus $0.55 on a before-items comparable basis.

And Finally...

Today on Fool.com:

  • For updated stories throughout the day, bookmark our ever-changing News section.
  • Schwab wants to be your discount banker.
  • Overstock's Buffett Style: Tom Jacobs finds a manager to admire.
  • One person's $10,000 debt burden is another's borrowing deal. Dayana Yochim discusses when not to pay off debt.
  • In Fool's School, companies with super-slumped stocks prices are vulnerable to a hostile takeover.

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