Today's the first day to sign up for the Federal Trade Commission's "National Do Not Call Registry." Starting Oct. 1, most telemarketers must avoid phoning people on the list, or face fines of up to $11,000 per call.
It's free to get onto the list, and you can register online at http://donotcall.gov. (The website is receiving extremely high traffic and may be inaccessible today.) Those in states west of the Mississippi River can register by calling 1-888-382-1222 toll-free. On July 7, phone registration will be open nationwide. If you do sign up by phone, be sure to call from the number you want registered.
Though faced with the loss of business, telemarketers aren't getting much sympathy today. As one businessman told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "This never would have happened if some people hadn't abused the medium."
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Nike's Air Ball
- Discussion Board of the Day: Nike
- Too Slim for Circuit City
- TMF Money Advisor
- McCormick's Spicy Gains
- Quote of Note
- Quick Takes: Microsoft vs. Sun, Abbott Labs, Lockheed Martin, more
- And Finally...
Nike's Air Ball
Remember when Nike
While Nike is far from inconsequential these days, there is little to cheer about its first $10 billion year.
For starters, its $2.77 a share in earnings in the 2003 fiscal year was pumped up by a weak dollar, creating favorable currency translations on sales overseas. Domestically, which many would argue is the critical battlefield for the company as trends eventually carry over on a global basis, sales suffered. While it was able to gain some ground stateside during the fourth quarter, it still suffered a 10% dip over the course of the year.
Meanwhile, rival Reebok
Nike may be proud of its record year, but investors have every reason to worry about the asterisks behind that "record" year. That swoosh can be many things, but right now it is not indicative of the market's affirmation of the company's recent track record.''
Discussion Board of the Day: Nike
Is Nike's best really in the past or will it bounce back? Why did the company pay so much money to eventual Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James and will it be a sound investment? All this and more -- in the Nike discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Too Slim for Circuit City
As the second-biggest player behind Best Buy
Slim and his family already are the second-largest shareholders of Circuit City, owning 9.2%. When the $8-per-share bid was given on June 16, Circuit City shares were trading at $6.75. The offer valued the company at $1.65 billion.
Slim also owns CompUSA, the Dallas-based computer and electronics chain. His plan for Circuit City would most likely include combining it with CompUSA. Done right, the move could make sense, giving both companies greater distribution and supply networks and improving economies of scale. Further, underperforming stores in both chains could be closed.
Circuit City's board may have shut down the bid, but that doesn't mean that Slim's days are done here. With investors sending shares of the beleaguered company to their highest levels in six months, many are probably hoping that he'll come back with a higher bid.
The market hasn't shown much faith in current management, or its turnaround plans, driving shares down from early 2000 highs of around $60 to current $8 levels. Thanks to Slim, though, it may now be showing confidence in the possibility of new ownership.
TMF Money Advisor
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McCormick's Spicy Gains
Spice seller McCormick
Second-quarter sales rose 8% (what other news organizations are calling "solid sales growth"). However, favorable foreign exchange rates accounted for a whole five percentage points of the 8% increase, leaving just 3% sales growth.
Last month, we wrote that investors would soon see stronger results from international corporations because the dollar had fallen sharply in value, effectively inflating overseas earnings when converted back to dollars. As such, second-quarter results from the likes of international players Coca-Cola
McCormick's net income was up 18% to $39.9 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, on $569 million in sales. To management's credit, gross margins grew nearly 1% to 35.8%, smart acquisitions continue to add upside, and even a 3% fundamental sales increase is decent for the spice and food packaging giant.
For the year, the company expects 8% to 10% sales gains (aided by currencies and acquisition) and up to 12% earnings growth. In 2004, it expects to return to its 3% to 7% rate of long-term sales growth. The $27 stock trades at a generous-looking 18.6 times this year's $1.45-per-share estimate, about 33 times last year's free cash flow, and yields 1.8%.
Quote of Note
"Variety's the very spice of life." -- William Cowper (1731-1800), poet, The Task. Book ii. The Timepiece, Line 606
A federal appeals court granted Microsoft
According to the Commerce Department, consumer spending rose 0.1% in May, matching April's gain. However, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment report for the month of June showed that feelings and expectations about the economy worsened. The report's reading was 89.7, compared to 92.1 for May.
New York Community Bancorp
The country's largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin
Today on Fool.com:
- Dueling Fools: Who will melt first -- Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's?
- Recognizing Revenue Tricks: The cash flow statement can provide a clue about aggressive revenue accounting.
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- For the latest Fool Takes and commentaries, bookmark our ever-changing News section.
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