After a rainy spring, we bet your mind is turning now to beaches, barbecue, and stocks. We can't help much with the first three, but you've come to the right place for investing help.

We have -- with the approval of the postmaster in Cut Off, La. -- designated June as Stock Up for Summer month, and compiled everything you need in one handy place. So put on your sunscreen and settle in for the best advice on investing strategies, how to value stocks, finding a broker, and beating the market with the Gardners.

Oh, and better flip those burgers now -- they're getting a little crispy on one side.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Palm Gets a Hand

What do you do when demand for your product is waning, the competition's stiffening, and your company's in the red? Why, you buy a smaller company that's also in the red and suffering from slowing demand and increased competition! Welcome to the world of Palm(Nasdaq: PALM) and Handspring(Nasdaq: HAND).

The long-rumored marriage between Palm and Handspring is finally happening. Palm offered Handspring shareholders 0.09 shares of Palm's hardware division, following the summer spin-off of PalmSource, the firm's software unit. Palm will issue 13.9 million common stock shares to complete the deal, which at yesterday's closing prices would be valued at $169 million.

The combination of the two handheld device makers is expected to produce $25 million in annual cost savings, assuming that 125 jobs and overlapping technologies (among other things) are eliminated. Greater manufacturing efficiencies and increased production and distribution volume should also help streamline operations.

By buying Handspring, Palm gains access to the company's popular Treo line of combination PDAs/cell phones, as well as Handspring's agreements and contacts among different wireless providers. Palm was slower to market a comparable product in this space, so having Treo in-house should be a good thing for it.

It should help Handspring, too, which once commanded the second-largest share of the PDA market behind Palm before deciding to focus more on the Treo line. That shift in strategy has been bumpy for Handspring, causing quarterly loss after quarterly loss.

Overall, however, the market for PDAs is suffering. According to market research group IDC, PDA shipments in the first quarter were down 21% to 2.45 million units. Increased competition from computer heavyweights like Dell(Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard(NYSE: HPQ) is also driving a commodity-like pricing environment.

There's no quick fix for either Palm or Handspring. Any substantial benefits will take a while to work through the system. In the meantime, several of Handspring's top brass will hopefully enjoy returning home, in a sense. Handspring founders Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky started Palm in 1992, and then left to start Handspring in 1998.

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Martha Stewart Indicted

Martha Stewart was charged today with securities fraud, obstruction of justice, and making false statements -- all in connection with her sale of ImClone(Nasdaq: IMCLE) stock in 2001.

Stewart, described by Reuters as "wearing a tan rain coat and under cover of a matching umbrella," surrendered to authorities at the federal courthouse in Manhattan. If convicted, she could face more than 10 years in prison.

Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone stock the day before it announced its application for the cancer drug Erbitux had been rejected. Then-CEO Samuel Waksal, a close friend of Stewart, has already pled guilty to tipping off his family to the news.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia(NYSE: MSO) actually rose 5% on today's news, even though the possibility looms that Stewart will resign her position as chairman and CEO. Why? Fool co-founder David Gardner, who has recommended the company in the Motley Fool Stock Advisor, points to two reasons:

"First, the stock market always looks ahead and trades ahead," he said. "In Martha Stewart Omnimedia's case, the stock dropped 15% yesterday because it was a virtual certainty Martha would be indicted. Sellers, therefore, had already sold. The sellers were gone replaced by opportunistic buyers today who believe, like me, that both Martha and her company will survive. (I personally don't believe she'll do jail time.)

"And second reason: I think Martha Stewart stock is a good bet here. That's another reason it went up today. It is still cash-rich with no debt, and remains a worldwide brand with high-quality products. The founder may be disliked by many, and they get all their quotes in the headlines these days. But Martha is also loved by many others. I first recommended the stock at $6 because I believe the market dramatically overreacted to this story. I would buy more, here."

Quote of Note

"This criminal case is about lying... Lying to the FBI. Lying to the SEC. Lying to the investors... Ms. Stewart is being prosecuted not because of who she is, but because of what she did." -- U.S. Attorney James Comey, Jr., rejecting criticism by Martha Stewart's lawyers that she was singled out for prosecution because of her celebrity

Ta-ta, Teaser Rates

The market has hit the bottom. Yes, you heard us correctly. Though we Fools aren't ones to make market predictions, this is a call about which we're pretty confident.

You know those 0% balance transfer rates -- called "teaser rates" in the lending industry -- that have been clogging your mailbox for the past few years? They're about to become extinct. The full-throttle credit card interest-rate war is coming to its inevitable end.

Recently Citigroup(NYSE: C), the country's largest card issuer, announced that it will rely less on low-interest rate offers to woo new credit card customers. Mark our words, Nos. 2 and 3 in the industry -- MBNA(NYSE: KRB) and Bank One(NYSE: ONE) -- will soon follow suit.

Blame their reticence for continuing to offer low, low teaser rates on our savvy use of them. What was once a tool to lure new customers -- and keep them -- has backfired on the big banks. Consumers now commonly use 0% balance transfers to pay down their loans, then casually toss the card aside once the rate expires to take advantage of the next lender's teaser. Yeah, we encouraged that behavior, too. Sorry about that, Citigroup.

What's more, most of the outstanding balances on credit cards happen to sit on these low-interest rate cards, putting banks in the business of handing out free loans. Where's the profit in that?


We noticed interest rates starting to creep up around January. Now there's a proliferation of teaser rates in the 2% to 3.5% range. If you're lucky, you can find a 1.9% balance transfer rate that lasts nine months to a year.

Even our own six-month 0% balance transfer offer on The Motley Fool Visa Card (through MBNA) can't last forever, but we can guarantee that the sweet deal will stand through August. After that, MBNA, like all other credit card companies, will review its pricing on a monthly basis.

Don't worry, we'll be rooting for an extension on our 0% deal, and hope that you find the other rewards of carrying a Fool card enough to keep one in your wallet. But beware if you currently carry a balance on your credit card. You might want to snap up that 0% offer sooner rather than too late after the teaser-rate market completely bottoms out.

Discussion Board of the Day: Disney

Rick Munarriz listened in yesterday as Disney CEO Michael Eisner reflected on his company's past and future. If you were Eisner, would you have done anything differently in the last five years? Is the company well-positioned for an economic recovery? Will Disney command a seller's premium if the Anaheim Mighty Ducks win the Stanley Cup? All this and more -- in the Disney discussion board. Only on

Quick Takes

Good news from the U.S. services sector meant good news for the stock market today. The Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index -- which measures about two-thirds of the country's economic output -- grew much faster than expected. That pushed stocks up in early trading, and the Dow topped the 9,000 mark.

About 2,000 baby cribs sold at Babies R Us(NYSE: TOY) are being recalled. Federal regulators and the manufacturer, Babi Italia, say the "Tiffany" and "Josephine" model cribs could trap a baby or allow it to fall. You can get more information on the company's website or by calling (877) 440-2224.

An earnings warning from DaimlerChrysler(NYSE: DCX) caused the Big Three auto stocks to drop. The company said its Chrysler unit would lose $1.17 billion in the second quarter, and lowered its full-year forecast as a result.

Shares of Sirius Satellite Radio(Nasdaq: SIRI) sank nearly 10% after it said it would issue 75 million common shares. The company is battling XM Satellite Radio(Nasdaq: XMSR) for subscribers, but is also trying to stave off bankruptcy.

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, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim