Despite her indictment on charges of obstruction of justice and securities fraud last week in relation to the ImClone
If Martha is convicted, however, it might mean jail time. Because we believe there's a silver lining behind every dark cloud, the TMF R&D Team has come up with a list of new products that might boost Martha's company, just in case:
Top 10 New Martha Products
10. File in the Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe
9. Scented soap-on-a-rope
8. Magazine article: How to Eat Salad With Only a Spoon
7. Book: 101 Uses for Leftover Contraband
6. New "slimming" vertical-stripe collection
5. Book: Trading Cigarettes for Fun and Profit
4. Decorative license plates
3. TV show: Quick Decorating Ideas to Do During Lockdown
2. Book: Conquering Adversity -- How I Became Warden
1. Cybill Shepherd dartboard
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Freddie Mac Smacked
- Quote of Note
- Motorola Catches Asian Bug
- Motley Fool Credit Center
- Amazon's Still Hungry?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Amazon
- Quick Takes: General Dynamics, McDonald's, Local news, more
- And Finally...
Freddie Mac Smacked
Just when you think it's safe to dip back into the corporate waters, word of a mac attack surfaces. Mortgage bundler Freddie Mac
If you believe the company, Chairman and CEO Leland Brensel, President and COO David Glenn, and CFO Vaughn Clarke are just another set of ethically challenged individuals who think corporate governance is merely an Eliot Spitzer campaign slogan.
Brensel and Clarke resigned and Glenn was given his walking papers after it came to light that Freddie Mac had underreported its earnings over the past three years. (The company will restate earnings for the periods in question.) Though underreporting earnings is probably better than the alternative, it still reeks of the kind of earnings management that regulators have been feverishly cracking down on.
Freddie Mac and its sister Fannie Mae
The accounting haze coupled with the challenges associated with bringing in an entirely new management team mean you should probably sit this one out for now.
Quote of Note
"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?" -- Steven Wright, comedian
Motorola Catches Asian Bug
Pointing to problems in Asia in general and Japan in particular, the wireless communications company now expects to earn $0.02 a share (breakeven, excluding one-time items) on sales of $6.0 billion to $6.2 billion. Analysts were looking for $0.04 a share and sales of $6.4 billion.
First and foremost, Motorola blamed SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) for its weak results, saying that sales of its cellular handsets in Asia were slower than it had anticipated because of it. This situation isn't helping its local inventory troubles, either. Inventory levels at local handset producers in Asia continue to creep up, because of stifled sales.
Its semiconductor manufacturing plant in Sendai, Japan, also hurt results. The late-May earthquake in that city caused Motorola to temporarily stop production at the plant and cost the company in clean-up and repair expenses.
Unfortunately, Motorola doesn't see its Asian issues getting resolved soon. It expects to warn about the third quarter next month when it releases its second-quarter results. The fourth quarter may not be immune to the problems, either.
We've been expecting lots of companies to trot out SARS as an explanation for weak results. For Motorola, however, a substantial chunk of revenue comes from China, Japan, and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. It generated 14% of its 2002 sales from China, 11% from the Asia-Pacific region, and 3% from Japan. Therefore, SARS is likely affecting sales, and will continue to do so until the disease is fully brought under control.
Motley Fool Credit Center
Credit can be your best friend or your worst enemy. And you know what they say... Don't turn your back on your enemies. Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate. So it's time to address that big elephant in the closet -- your credit. We've got your back! Visit our new Motley Fool Credit Center, and learn how to make credit work for you.
Amazon's Still Hungry?
It just might happen, as Carol Tice from the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the world's leading e-tailer is about to add a food and beverage shop to its ever-growing list of categories.
Now, before you begin having horrific visions of Kozmo.com delivery cyclists skirting through urban traffic or Webvan trucks departing from Amazon's cold storage facility with a list of grocery orders, this isn't a paper or plastic decision for Amazon.
It's actually a smart one.
The company does not intend to become the next party to try to be a Web-based supermarket chain. The Webvans and Peapods came and went before local grocery chains that already had the regional experience and infrastructure in place had their crack at sparing you your weekly trip to restock the fridge.
According to the Seattle Post -Intelligencer's retail reporter Christine Frey, Amazon has signed deals with the makers of gourmet foodstuffs like chocolate-covered cherries and smoked salmon. Amazon will simply lend the retailer's signature ordering interface and high-traffic visibility to the new shop in exchange for a piece of the action, which the various food companies will fulfill themselves.
Just as the company has become the virtual mall gateway to the likes of Target
While the move to create a new category based on high-end edibles might seem like a light meal, think again. These types of gourmet gifts are ideal purchases for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. For a company that is still driven by the year-end holiday shopping season, this kind of year-round magnetism is a welcome smoothing agent.
Though the company has yet to make an official announcement that a food and beverage category is in the works, it certainly sounds appetizing. The only drag is the fact that Amazon chose to be a late dinner guest. It should have launched the area earlier this year to milk its off-peak earnings power.
Discussion Board of the Day: Amazon
Is opening a gourmet food and beverage portal a good idea for Amazon? Will it help grow sales and expand its target audience, or is it doomed to hurt its established categories through brand dilution? The stock has run up quite a bit over the past few months. Is it overvalued? All this and more -- in the Amazon discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
The spending spree continues for General Dynamics
When the airlines get pinched by everything from SARS to terrorist threats to the ailing global economy, Boeing
Britain is still balking at adopting the euro -- but may be moving a bit closer to giving in. Gordon Brown, the country's treasury chief, told Parliament he still has the commitment and support for the effort, but said it would probably be at least a year before the benefits start to outweigh the disadvantages.
In local news, Bubba's Burgers will be raising prices for its signature Bubba's Big-Un by 12% beginning next week. "I'm hiking the price because I can, you jerk," owner Bob Brownlee told a reporter. "Now buy something or get the hell outta here!"
Today on Fool.com:
- For updated stories throughout the day, bookmark our ever-changing News section.
- A Stock for Dad -- ADP: Dad will love the cash the payroll processor is churning out.
- Companies Failing Successfully?: Rick Munarriz wants to know when a bad thing is good for business.
- Matt Richey is still wowed by Dick's Sporting Goods because it has all the makings of a retail home run.
- In Fool's School, realtors vs. agents vs. brokers. What's the difference?
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Reggie Santiago, Kate Southerland, Dayana Yochim