Clay or Ruben?
That question will be answered tonight as Fox's
The stakes are high, considering the fact that the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, has already launched a successful career with her best-selling debut album "Thankful." But tonight's runner-up won't be in bad shape, either. Last year's second-place finisher, Justin Guarini, will also be releasing an album soon.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Greenspan's Magic Eight Ball
- Quote of Note
- HP: Not an Integration Story?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Hewlett-Packard
- What Type of Investor Are You?
- Coke Defends Itself
- Quick Takes: Altria, Mad cow disease, Amazon, more
- And Finally...
Greenspan's Magic Eight Ball
When Alan Greenspan speaks, the nation listens... and the press interprets. Here's how various outlets are describing the Fed chairman's view of the economy after his testimony before a congressional panel today:
- Mildly upbeat
- Guardedly optimistic
- Mixed message
- Outlook still clouded
- Too soon to gauge
- Faster growth possible
All we need is a "Reply hazy, ask again later" and "Better not tell you now," we'd have our own Greenspan Magic Eight Ball.
At any rate, and speaking of rates, Greenspan says the Federal Reserve is ready to cut them again if the economy needs it. What's more, even if interest rates approach zero, the Fed has other weapons at its disposal, such as the ability to buy long-term Treasury notes to push long-term rates lower.
In short, Greenspan expressed no serious concerns: "We see no credible possibility that we will at any point run out of monetary ammunition to address problems of deflation or anything else that disrupts our economy."
Quote of Note
"Inflation is now sufficiently low that it no longer appears to be much of a factor in economic calculations of householders and businesses." -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, appearing Wednesday before the congressional Joint Economic Committee.
HP: Not an Integration Story?
"HP is no longer an integration story," preached Hewlett-Packard
HP? No longer an integration story? Then, why did the company announce that it would be cutting 3,500 more jobs later this year? And if Compaq has been completely absorbed into the HP bloodstream, can we now hold the company accountable for the controversial merger?
While HP posted operating profits of $1.1 billion this past quarter, $0.9 billion came from its flagship imaging and printing business. Merger cynics have every reason to wonder what Compaq brought to the table.
There's a fine line between "integration" and disintegration, Fiorina. But, to the company's credit, it has been able to blow past its initial profit projections over each of the past two quarters, mostly because of its cost-saving initiatives. The liquid center of reality is that HP generated $2.5 billion in cash from operations this past quarter. Nice.
So, even if we dismiss Fiorina's claims that the integration process is history and fault the company for not growing as quickly as rival Dell
Discussion Board of the Day: Hewlett-Packard
Did Hewlett-Packard do the right thing in buying Compaq? What can it do compete against Dell or IBM? All this and more -- in the Hewlett-Packard discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Coke Defends Itself
If you can't trust the friendly red-and-white reputation of Coca-Cola
A wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former employee on Monday has the beverage giant on its toes. Matthew Whitley, who was let go in March, alleges that the company fraudulently massaged its revenues, overstating them by millions.
Coca-Cola's internal audit committee hired an outside auditor and law firm to investigate Whitley's claims. According to The Wall Street Journal, the investigation began two weeks ago and should finish sometime this week.
In a statement, the soft-drink giant described Whitley as a "disgruntled former employee." After being let go, but prior to filing his suit, Whitley demanded $44.4 million in hush money. In an April 28 letter, Whitley's attorney said that this represented about a third of the damages he would seek if a suit were filed. Nothing like a little blackmail to grease the wheels of justice, eh?
Coca-Cola, unsurprisingly, wouldn't allow itself to be extorted. It balked at the demand and promptly started its own inquiry into the allegations.
Whitley alleges that the company faked syrup revenues, that it used marketing fraud to reel Burger King into a $65 million deal, and that it recorded some marketing allowances as expenses rather than rebates. He also claims he was laid off after alerting Coca-Cola to the presence of metal shavings in some of its Coke products.
Of course, we won't know if it behaved as Whitley alleges until the investigation is complete, but his own sketchy actions put his claims in serious doubt. This looks like a bitter ex-employee who thought that, in today's environment of corporate scandal, he could take advantage of a company like Coca-Cola by merely threatening to "expose wrongdoing." Coca-Cola didn't blink, though, and is fighting back. Stay tuned as the story develops.
What Type of Investor Are You?
Take the first step to perfecting your portfolio: Find out what type of investor you are. Then, based on your rating, you'll know how best to diversify your portfolio for long-term wealth.
Tobacco stocks lit up today after a Florida appeals court reversed a $145 billion punitive-damages verdict against Altria's
The U.S. and several other major countries have temporarily banned beef shipments from Canada after an animal in Alberta was found to have mad cow disease. "We hope and we pray and we have all the indications that it is one cow in one herd," said Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
In local news, Samual Lazard remarked, "I just never realized how many people were interested in pottery."
Today on Fool.com:
- For updated stories throughout the day, bookmark our ever-changing News section.
- Robert Brokamp reminisces about his big fat cheap wedding.
- Zeke Ashton offers up guidelines to lower your risk and increase your returns.
- David and Tom Gardner play "Buy, Sell, or Hold?" with Ask Jeeves CEO Skip Battle.
- Advantages of Bankruptcy: Southwest Airlines CEO Jim Parker admits he's at a disadvantage, but prefers his position.
- Cellular service provider Nextel gets it right.
- Which builder stocks are vulnerable to a slowdown?
- Country crooner Laura Cantrell does time on the Street to fund her real career.
- In Fool's School, home-buying resources galore.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim