For a nation bleary-eyed with late-night baseball, the market sure shot out of bed this morning. And why not? Everybody loves a good jobs report, especially with the economy hanging in the balance, and "jobless recovery" threatening to replace "weapons of mass destruction" as the word of the year. So they should.
An afternoon fade notwithstanding, days like yesterday and today make it fun to be an investor. Think long term, think balance, and think discipline -- it's the Foolish way. But who are we to begrudge you the occasional high five? Heck, Fun is Foolish, too.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- The Bottom Line
- Quote of Note
- Amazon Lands Bombay
- Discussion Board of the Day: Amazon
- The Spending Sex
- Shameless Plug: TMF Money Advisor
- More Fool News
- And Finally...
The Bottom Line
Given the choice, would you rather come up short on the top line or bottom? The question isn't hypothetical. Last night, Siebel Systems
Of course, there's more than one way to boost a bottom line in tough times. Running a leaner operation and fudging the numbers are two that come to mind. Sadly, our experience with Siebel has us more inclined to fear the former than assume the latter -- especially when dealing with preliminary results.
But let's do just that for a moment and assume that companies operate above board and legitimately earn their keep despite producing weaker-than-expected sales.
In theory, the low sales-high earnings combo meal results in higher net profit margins than Wall Street was banking on. That's good. It also reflects (and ultimately eases) the downsizing pains that companies have gone through in recent years. As a result of trying to run lean operations in lean times, many companies have set themselves up to produce exponentially stronger earnings when demand makes a return appearance.
So while few may be celebrating the state of enterprise software just now, it's easy to get excited that such companies as Oracle and Siebel seem to be positioning themselves and saving up for a sunny quarter.
More importantly, the cyclical downturn has made many companies stronger. Now it's just a matter of biding time until the moment is right to flex those muscles.
Quote of Note
"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." -- Mark Twain
Amazon Lands Bombay
When digesting the nugget that Amazon
And if you've ever walked into one of the 300 Bombay Company stores and figured that the chain's collection of eclectic furniture and accessories would be out of place in Amazon's sea of books, it begs the question: Have you even clicked on Amazon.com since 1997?
It's easy to see why established retailers are hooking up with Motley Fool Stock Advisor favorite Amazon to run their online storefronts. As big as Amazon is -- with nearly $4 billion in sales last year -- it still managed to grow its top line by 28% over the previous holiday quarter.
Now, Bombay joins a crowd of bricks-and-mortar heavyweights in Amazon's arsenal. Office Depot
Amazon has become a popular Internet landlord, even as other dot-com heavies like Yahoo!
Unlike the upstarts, Amazon has the patented one-click technology to go along with an established user base that feels right at home with the Amazon experience.
Discussion Board of the Day: Amazon
Why do companies keep partnering with Amazon? How will the company fare in the 2003 holiday season? All this and more -- in the Amazon discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Not yet a member of the Fool Community? Jump into our discussion boards free for 30 days!
The Spending Sex
Women may have a reputation as the over-spender gender, but, ladies, no need to take all the heat.
We may have more shopping stamina (why settle for an apple red twin-set when the perfect shade of weathered brick may be in the pile of sale sweaters -- or in one of the eight other stores on Level 3 of the mall?). But it turns out the final tab females ring up is often lower than that tallied by the supposedly shopping-challenged gender.
According to Columbia, Maryland-based Amerix, which processes debt payments from credit-counseling agencies, men 45 to 59 years old owe an average of $19,150 compared to $15,270 for women. Men 30 to 44 years old carry on average $16,400 in debt compared with $14,575 for their female counterparts. About two-thirds of the debt in repayment plans is owed to credit card issuers.
Why the lower bills for women? Since men generally make more money than women (yeah, that's still an issue), they are more likely to buy larger, more expensive items.
And it turns out that gals are more in touch with their inner spendthrift and more likely than guys to seek help dealing with the fallout from ringing up a rousing tab. Roughly 70% of those enrolled in debt management plans are women.
We don't mind if you gossip with the gals over happy hour about your meathead man's fifth HDTV purchase. But go ahead and give him a few pointers on bargain hunting. Customize this stylish Spending Patch (pdf download required) and slip it into his wallet. And if things get out of hand, send him to our High Definition, DVD-enabled, turbo-charged Get Out of Debt page.
One day, he'll thank you.
Shameless Plug: TMF Money Advisor
There's an adage that what specific investments you own is far less important than your asset allocation. Asset allo-what-the-who? If you've ever asked that question, or one even remotely like it, you definitely want to check out our TMF Money Advisor. We know of no better, more affordable means of getting the one-on-one financial-planning help everybody needs.
More Fool News
- Crazy Woman Goes Shopping
- Earnings Lookin' to Be Good
- Yahoo! Games and Microsoft
- FedEx Packs It In
- America West Flies On
For a list of all our stories from today, see Today's Headlines.
We are givers here at The Motley Fool, or at least Rick Munarriz is. Here are his 10 Holiday Stock Ideas, just in time for Halloween. And today's investing lesson: Avoiding Value Traps, by Whitney Tilson.
Did you hear that Positive Jobs Data Boost Markets today? We hope so.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, Jeff Hwang, LouAnn Lofton, Alyce Lomax, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Dave Marino-Nachison, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim