The world's oldest person, Kamato Hongo of Japan, died on Friday at the age of 116. Here's some food for thought: If at the age of 26 she was able to start squirreling away just $100 a year at 10% (about the U.S. stock market's average return over the last century), she could have left over $3 million to her family -- or gone to the netherworld with one huge bash.
Another Japanese woman appears to hold the record now at age 114 after a Cambodian tiger hunter believed -- but unverified -- to be 122 died last month.
Personally, we're just trying to make it to Friday.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Satellite Radio Promises
- Quote of Note
- Spitzer Spits on Fund Enforcement
- Shameless Plug: What's Your Best Investment?
- Pixar's Punch
- Discussion Board of the Day: Disney
- More Fool News
- And Finally...
Satellite Radio Promises
They say you've got to pay your dues as a musician. Maybe that's why nobody is expecting XM Satellite Radio
The leading provider of satellite radio may or may not make your ears bleed, but its income statement knows all about bleeding. The company has posted a loss of greater than a buck a share for each of the past eight quarters.
Investors are into XM and rival Sirius
Sirius got a late start and is only closing in on 150,000 subscribers; however, the potential market is generous enough to be carved into two slices -- at least. Both have turned to car makers like Ford
Even then, you can't just plug $9.95 or $12.95 into a monthly subscriber model and subtract the acquisition costs. You've seen your cable television bill creep up over the years. Premium services will materialize. New programming options will follow. Sponsors and revenue-enhancing opportunities will chase the growing audience.
Risks? There are plenty. The market may prove to be limited. Maintenance may be a bear. Patience isn't much of a virtue as losses run steep. But satellite radio wants to be heard. We will hear what XM has to say this week.
Quote of Note
"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." -- Albert Einstein (1879-1955), when asked to describe radio
Spitzer Spits on Fund Enforcement
Mutual fund investors, take note. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is before a Senate subcommittee today, explaining just how terribly you've been treated -- and he's just as likely to be referring to the SEC as to the scandalous managers who have taken profit out of your pocket.
Last week, Spitzer said "heads should roll" at the SEC because its mutual fund division -- apparently tipped off about market-timing trades at Putnam Investments -- was too slow to act. "If I had been the head of the bureau overseeing the mutual fund industry for the past year," he told the New York Post, "I would resign."
For its part, the SEC admitted it could have done better, but is upset at the comments. A likely candidate for the governor's office in Albany, many view Spitzer as a loose cannon more interested in building headlines than a unified enforcement effort. "This should not be a competitive situation between regulators," SEC chief William Donaldson said. "The spectacle of one regulatory agency criticizing another is not healthy."
Even as feuding between the good guys rages, progress is being made. Today, Putnam Investments CEO Lawrence Lasser was fired by parent company Marsh & McLennan
His removal follows the weekend resignation of Strong Mutual Funds Chairman Richard Strong, who reportedly made more than half a million dollars through improper share trading. His troubles are far from over, however. Though no longer chairman, he remains the company's chief executive, and Spitzer has vowed to prosecute his case as well.
What other funds have mistreated investors? See Four Funds to Avoid.
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They say that Hollywood is too predictable. One can argue that the same applies to the computer animation geniuses at Pixar
So here is where we are with the company's current release -- Finding Nemo. It hits the home video and DVD market tomorrow. Its last flick, Monsters Inc., set the new benchmark when it moved 5 million copies on its first day. A few weeks later, it had become the best-selling DVD of all time on the strength of moving more than 25 million videos and DVDs.
So, don't be surprised when you come across reports of Pixar setting a new one-day record later this week and raising the bar on the all-time DVD mark in a few weeks. Why? Well, let's start with you. You know you're going to buy one. It has been the top-selling DVD on Amazon
But let's look at the logic behind the prediction. The installed base of DVD players has grown over the past year. DVD owners are also more avid purchasers of new titles than VHS owners. And, yes, with nearly $339 million collected in domestic movie tickets this summer, Finding Nemo laps the $256 million that Monsters Inc. generated two years ago.
While you can consider this the no-brainer layup in psychic circles, don't go banking on this being a slam dunk for Pixar's distributor, Disney
So Disney finds itself in a peculiar situation. It stands to reap huge financial gains from Finding Nemo's success, yet that success is also Pixar's ammo in either seeking out a better deal or going it alone.
What will Pixar do? That, as it turns out, is the one thing about this fish tale that is not predictable.
Discussion Board of the Day: Disney
Members of our Pixar and Disney discussion boards have been debating the ramifications of the distribution deal between the two studios. Does Pixar really have the upper hand? Does Disney have more to offer than other major studios? Should Pixar just go it alone? All this and more -- in the Disney discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
More Fool News
For a list of all our stories from today, see Today's Headlines.
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