With Friday here at last, the markets took a breather and the major indexes edged only slightly higher or lower to close the week. At the Fool, however, we're not resting -- we're dueling! Our latest Dueling Fools features computer heavyweights Dell vs. Hewlett Packard.
These two, and two of our writers, go head to head. Read their arguments and then vote for the stock you think will win on our main page.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- McDonald's Drive-Thru Turnaround
- Wi-Fi's Quiet Revolution
- Discount Brokers Rule
- Pixar's Latest Catch
- Quote of Note
- Feeling Tenet-ive?
- Discussion Board of the Day
- Quick Takes: Freddie Mac, Broadcom and Intel, O'Charley's, Palm and Handspring ...
- And Finally
McDonald's Drive-Thru Turnaround
Yesterday, the world's largest fast-food chain reported a surprising 11% increase in July comparable-store sales. Matt Richey has the full story.
Many who are looking for "The Next Big Thing" in technology think they've found it in Wi-Fi. They may well be right, but as The Wall Street Journal points out today, don't expect it to spur any great revival of the tech sector.
Short for "wireless fidelity," Wi-Fi offers users untethered broadband access to the Internet in a wide variety of places. This is the technology that allows you to surf the Web on your laptop computer in McDonald's
It's not a stretch to imagine that someday relatively soon, most Internet access will take place via some form of Wi-Fi. So why isn't it creating a sonic boom? The Journal says the tech sector has moved from the "perpetual sense of revolution that permeated the Internet bubble," to "the elite titans co-opt[ing] breakthroughs accomplished by others."
In short, Wi-Fi won't be sparking the type of revival that allowed Microsoft
Instead, established giants such as Intel
Wi-Fi equipment maker Netgear
Discount Brokers Rule
Looking to secure your future and think there may be a role for common stocks or funds in your overall financial plan? Maybe you just want to take up Tom Gardner on one of his Hidden Gems. Either way, a discount broker can be an instrumental tool. You'll find everything you need at our Broker Center.
Pixar's Latest Catch
Life can be stranger than computer animation. Going into last night's second-quarter earnings report, Pixar
A few weeks later, Finding Nemo was released and promptly become the highest-grossing animated feature film of all time. Analysts wouldn't be hooked again. Wall Street expectations ranged from $0.12 a share to as high as $0.22. Surely this time the financial community had found a way to net the elusive Pixar.
Sorry. Last night, Pixar reported earnings of $0.34 a share, on revenue that more than doubled to $48.9 million. For those who think Microsoft's
All of this might come as a surprise to investors, but not to our own David Gardner. David highlighted Pixar months ago in Motley Fool Stock Advisor.
Meanwhile, Pixar continues to negotiate with partner Disney
Surprise. With management warning that marketing costs will bite into third-quarter results, Pixar is looking to earn a modest $0.07 a share this quarter. Analysts, as tempting as that worm looks dangling there, please learn from the past and don't bite too hard.
Quote of Note
"Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." -- Andy Warhol
Stoking the flames of its legal and regulatory woes, Tenet Healthcare
A big part of that loss was the $54 million Tenet paid to settle with the federal government and California over a series of unnecessary heart procedures performed by two doctors employed at Redlands Medical Center in Northern California.
The Florida investigation and its timing has to be a kick in the teeth for Tenet, which had just thrown off the yoke of another big investigation. CEO, Trevor Fetter, stated in yesterday's conference call that Tenet had put one of the "most serious issues facing the company" behind it.
But the problems for Tenet and its cohort are, to my mind, more structural. The company owes an enormous amount of its profits to "outlier" payments -- reimbursements made by Medicare and Medicaid for particularly risky, high-cost procedures.
Tenet has been besieged by claims of wrongdoing. One whistleblower from Tenet's Garden Grove California hospital stated that the company failed to repair or replace flash sterilizers used to clean surgical instruments and then gave him instructions on how to explain the malfunctioning equipment when the hospital received a surprise inspection. The whistleblower, a doctor who left the company in 2000, called Tenet's business model "incompatible with good health care."
Now that the Florida Medicaid investigation has cropped up, we are left to ponder whether the problems with Tenet are more systemic and less individual incidents of poor judgment. To some extent this, and the scandals and subsequent collapse of Healthsouth among others, reflect the intense pressures healthcare companies face from growth-hungry investors.
Put plainly, a model that delivers growth and profitability by pulling one over on Medicare should be of little use to shareholders. Tenet apparently has substantially more work to do. I'm beginning to wonder whether the problem isn't a whole lot deeper than these latest scandals let on.
Discussion Board of the Day
Speaking of Wi-Fi, The Wall Street Journal asserts that very few small companies will reap big Wi-Fi rewards. Do you agree? If not, which stocks have the best chance to benefit? Drop by our Wireless World discussion board and have your say. Only on Fool.com.
Casual dining chain O'Charley's
For updated stories throughout the day, bookmark our ever-changing News section.... You'll definitely want to check out Whitney Tilson's piece on corporate culture at JetBlue....And Bill Mann puzzles over a publicly traded Pennsylvanian company that does -- what, exactly?
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Reggie Santiago, Kate Southerland, Dayana Yochim