Boston fans are once again distraught after watching the Yankees advance to yet another World Series last night, edging the Red Sox in a classic extra-inning duel.
As someone just reminded us, Sox fans -- who haven't seen their team win since 1918 -- must feel like Apple loyalists who watch Microsoft pull out win after win after win in the business world.
For proof, check out this chart of the two companies' performance since 1986, the year Microsoft went public and Buckner let the ground ball slip through his legs. It's easy to tell which stock is which: Microsoft's line is colored Yankee blue, while Apple's is Red Sox red.
After looking at the chart, head to our home page to vote in our special World Series poll.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- DoubleClick Doubled Quick
- Quote of Note
- eBay: Steady as She Goes
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Income Investor
- You've Got iTunes
- Discussion Board of the Day: Apple
- More Fool News
- Write for the Fool
- And Finally...
DoubleClick Doubled Quick
The way Internet stocks had performed, today's pullback was bound to happen -- much as it hurts. But online advertising is alive and well. Thanks for asking. Thanks for clicking. And notwithstanding today's brutal haircut, banner-ad guru DoubleClick
Last night, the company posted its third consecutive profitable quarter. That may seem like baby steps by today's earn-or-burn standards, but it's pretty impressive when you consider that the online ad market was left for dead when the dot-com boom went bust.
We're spending roughly 15% of our leisure time in front of the Internet, yet companies are devoting roughly 2% of their ad budgets to the medium. Lagging advertising money spent on radio, television, and newspapers, the upside is there to capitalize on this truly targeted platform.
The market has seemed more enamored with conventional Web favorites like Amazon
Despite today's warning and expectations to earn just $0.25 a share next year, it's also packing nearly $4 a share in cash and has some business momentum on its side. All it needs now are willing sponsors.
Quote of Note
"Life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable." -- Woody Allen
eBay: Steady as She Goes
Ah, there's nothing quite like the first few moments after a company announces earnings. Yesterday afternoon, for instance, this email landed in my inbox: "BULLETIN -- eBay warns it won't meet Q4 analyst estimates." But clicking through to the actual story revealed this headline: "eBay tops revenue estimate -- Earnings per share in line; Q4 outlook matches Street." (The media outlet later corrected the error.)
We imagine such dramatics caused more than a few heart palpitations, but not around here. Let's look at some of the important stuff from yesterday's eBay
- $530.9 million in revenue, up 84%
- $103.3 million in net income, or $0.16 per diluted share, up 69%
- $168.4 million in free cash flow, up 84%
- 85.5 million registered users, up 56%
- 37.4 million active users, up 55%
- 235 million listings, up 47%
- $5.8 billion in gross merchandise sales, up 53%
The free cash flow picture definitely warrants a closer look. My calculations show the stock is trading at about 60 times trailing-12-month FCF -- meaning its P/FCF-to-cash flow growth ratio is below 1.00. It will have to grow FCF by some 43% annually to reach its $1 billion goal by the end of 2005 -- certainly not a huge stretch considering its current growth rate.
The stock was down this morning because management's projection of $0.98 per share in 2004 pro forma earnings is below analysts' consensus estimate of $1.05. But this company is still firing on all cylinders, and the big picture hasn't changed -- as should be apparent from reading Jeff Fischer's fine Take, eBay Nears 2005 Goals.
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You've Got iTunes
Yes, folks. Apple
Yesterday, the company launched its popular iTunes music download service in the Microsoft
Before you start working the numbers in your head -- given Apple's exponential potential under the significantly more popular Windows platform -- let's be realistic here. When Apple rolled out Windows-enabled iPods, the portable audio players didn't outsell the Apple models. They simply matched them.
So, sure, if opening up iTunes to the Wintel world translates into a doubling in digital music sales, it would be noteworthy. But hasn't the Windows world been given too much time to feed the freeloading ways of peer-to-peer MP3 networks? While Apple users are bred to pay for quality, can the same be said for the Windows citizenry?
Apple also beefed up its spoken word library by announcing a partnership with Audible Inc. (OTCBB: ADBL.OB) to provide audio books and other spoken content for the upstart service.
But Apple isn't stopping there. It's teaming up with Pepsi
Apple has to watch its step as it walks a thin guitar-string line separating its established crowd of loyal users and the thrifty masses. It's a long fall down either way.
Discussion Board of the Day: Apple
Have you checked out Apple's iTunes Store? Do you think it will fly in the Windows world? What about giving away all of those downloads to Pepsi drinkers? Good move? All this and more -- in the Apple discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Not yet a member of the Fool Community? Jump into our discussion boards free for 30 days!
More Fool News
For a list of all our stories from today, see Today's Headlines.
Write for the Fool
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We're talking roughed-up stocks today on Fool.com. If you're wondering how McDonald's is doing after a difficult few years, just look at how CEO Jim Cantalupo has engineered a remarkable turnaround. If that's not enough to get you in a good mood, Rick Munarriz pays homage to Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger in 3 Terminator Stocks.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Jeff Hwang, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Alyce Lomax, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Dave Marino-Nachison, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim