Belated happy National Towel Amnesty Day, everyone!
Yesterday's collective sigh of relief from petty thieves everywhere slipped by quietly even as Holiday Inn
So, in exchange for their stories about how they've used their "borrowed" towels over the years, Holiday Inn is willing to forgive and forget its wayward guests -- and use them in a national charity promotion. For every story submitted to its website through September 30, the company will give $1 to Give Kids The World, which helps children with life-threatening illnesses.
In an ironic twist that's not lost on anyone, the 25 winners will each receive a limited edition souvenir towel.
Personally, we couldn't think of a better way to start out the long Labor Day weekend than to throw in the towel and start fresh. See you on Tuesday!
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- eBay Halved
- Quote of Note
- P&G CEO's Worth Every Penny
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Income Investor
- Not Taking a Flyer on Orbitz
- Discussion Board of the Day: Cheap Air Fares
- Quick Takes: Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, Elmo on Wall Street, more
- And Finally...
You got out of bed, poured yourself a cup of coffee, and casually logged on to see how your portfolio was doing this morning. Everything was going fine. Pleasant thoughts rattled about as birds chirped outside your window.
That was, of course, until you pulled up a quote on eBay
What in bidding blazes is going on here, eBay? Meg, Meg, Meg, what have you done? "This was the same company that once acquired Half.com," you mutter, "and now it's halved and I'm gone!"
Relax. Wipe those java stains off your computer monitor. It's only a stock split. Yes, prices were halved on shares of eBay last night, but investors now own twice as many shares as they used to in the world's leading swap site.
Why do companies split? The common argument is that a lower price point makes a stock more attractive for investors. Don't believe it!
You don't need to be babied like you're ordering a footlong sub at Subway. However, it's the same principle. You're getting that sandwich cut in half, but if you eat two halves, it's the exact same meal eaten whole.
Thanks to the emergence of low-cost discount brokers, it's no longer a commission-gouging task to buy in odd lot sums. Fundamentals will ultimately dictate a fair price, regardless of how many shares it has to be divided into to get there.
So feel free to go on with the rest of your day as planned. There's really nothing to see here, so it's best to move along.
If you still think stock splits are necessary to achieve long-term capital appreciation, two words will always serve as the ultimate argument killer: Berkshire Hathaway
Quote of Note
"Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy." -- George Carlin
P&G CEO's Worth Every Penny
Lest people think that we Fools are Pollyannas when it comes to executive pay, I'd like to make one thing clear: Good performance ought to come with substantial rewards.
Case in point is this morning's announcement by Procter & Gamble
Under Lafley's watch, P&G has gotten back to basics. It sold off its Crisco and Jif brands to J.M. Smucker
The market has reacted strongly to the revitalization of P&G's core brands. For example, its Crest Whitestrips have proven a runaway success. Meanwhile, Pampers and Tampax, which in the not-so-recent past were being eaten alive by Kimberly-Clark's
None of this is singularly due to Lafley's efforts, naturally. And our willingness to tolerate bonuses much greater than base salary is by no means infinite. However, Lafley has taken a company that had been set adrift by lack of focus and pulled on the bridle, hard. His shareholders have been rewarded substantially as a result, and the longer-term prospects for P&G look better than they have in years.
Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Income Investor
Did you know that dividends have accounted for 42% of the S&P 500's total returns since 1926? Is it any wonder it's been the summer of dividend love here at The Motley Fool? And to keep the love train going, we've just rolled out a brand-new newsletter focused on dividend payers. Check out Motley Fool Income Investor for free right now and also get a bonus special report, 7 Paying 7. That's right, seven investments paying 7%. That ought to top your money market funds.
Not Taking a Flyer on Orbitz
Having been around the world, Orbitz is right back where it started. The popular online travel site was all set to go public last year before a weak market grounded all outgoing flights. Orbitz did what any laid-over air passenger would do. It sighed, cracked open a bag of peanuts, and waited out the storm.
With the market regaining that IPO tingle, Orbitz is back, and this time it's got a ticket to ride. The company amended its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission and now looks to raise $125 million in its stock market debut.
And why not? The online travel sector has been hot, with such proven portals as InterActive's Expedia and Travelocity parent Sabre Holdings
But before you start rallying around Orbitz, know what you're boarding. Most of its travel-site peers have won investors over by making money, but the same can't be said of Orbitz. Last year, the company posted a loss of $17.9 million on $175.5 million in revenue. Expedia, on the other hand, produced $21 million in earnings on $164 million in revenue.
Why the disparity? Is it because Orbitz was founded by a collection of airlines such as UAL
So think twice before buying a seat on this flight. Orbitz must go farther than full circle to get investors where they want to go.
Discussion Board of the Day: Cheap Air Fares
With Orbitz getting ready to raise $125 million in its dusted-off IPO, did someone say "road trip"? Got tips for traveling on the cheap? Want to know where the air travel bargains are? All this and more -- in the Cheap Air Fares discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Things are looking up for some employees at Delta Airlines
It's going to be a loud Labor Day weekend in Milwaukee, as legendary Harley-Davidson
Lovable Sesame Street character Elmo is teaming up with Merrill Lynch
Today on Fool.com: Bill Mann wants no part of it as Janus plays "hide the debt".... Rick Munarriz uses star quarterback Michael Vick as a painful reminder to companies not to build a team around one player.... In our Tax Center, index options over exchange-traded funds?... And if you find yourself in Manhattan on September 17 from 6-8 p.m., drop by the 25th Annual "NY Is Book Country" Festival and get answers to your financial questions from Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner and a panel of experts.
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, Dayana Yochim