The Motley Fool went on record last Friday with our conviction that a Super Bowl victory by the AFC meant good tidings for the bulls. True to form, the broader markets eked out a gain today. Well, all but the Nasdaq. Then again, technology stocks are all about the commercials anyway.
Speaking of which, we hear that the spot with the talking Willie Nelson doll doling out advice to taxpayers didn't go over so well. Duh. If you're going to take financial advice from a doll, it's gotta be Dayana Yochim.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Intel Unveils New Chips
- Quote of Note
- Take-Two's Take Two
- Discussion Board of the Day: Video & PC Games
- Your Credit Stinks
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Income Investor
- More on Fool.com Today
Intel Unveils New Chips
The chips, which were codenamed Prescott, are the first to be mass-produced using 90-nanometer manufacturing technology -- a process that makes them smaller and less expensive than previous new releases. 3.4-gigahertz processors should be available today from many computer makers, including Dell
Intel spokesman William Siu told reporters that the later Prescott iterations are targeted for so-called "Entertainment PCs." These are devices designed to control televisions, CD and DVD players, stereo equipment, and anything else that might be a part of a home entertainment system.
Several publications today indicate that Intel has likely shipped the Prescott line with some features that are not activated. These may include better security technology and the ability to run multiple operating systems, says The Wall Street Journal, but the big question is whether 64-bit circuitry is already in place. Rival Advanced Micro Devices
The Prescott party and the move toward Entertainment PCs are two more bits of good news for the computer makers, especially in the face of an improving economy. As icing on the cake, most semis are up today after a report from the Semiconductor Industry Association revealed chip sales grew 18% in 2003.
Quote of Note
"Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training." -- Anna Freud
Take-Two's Take Two
Apparently, Take-Two Interactive
Investors knew something unpleasant was going down last week when Take-Two failed to file its fiscal 2003 results by Thursday's deadline. The SEC was already looking into the company's revenue recognition practices, so nails were being nibbled as folks counted down the final 90 days to the filing deadline.
Take-Two posted its fourth-quarter results back in December, but also lowered its projections for fiscal 2004. On Friday, the company filed the required extension with the SEC, granting it another two weeks to remedy its accounting oversights. While the restatements will be broad, as management revisits its numbers all the way back to fiscal 1999, the actual bottom-line implications appear to be minor.
The expected fiscal 2002 and 2003 revisions were released in a 12b-25 filing, and the impact on net sales and earnings won't amount to much. They will vary by no more than 2% from its original reports -- higher in 2002 and lower in 2003.
The larger problem here is management's tendency to apply the rules-be-darned mentality that works so well in its popular Grand Theft Auto game to its operations. A restatement is always a red flag, but two? That's a burning red flag.
It's a shame because Take-Two is a force catering to bloodthirsty, diehard video gamers. While a study by industry researcher NPD Group showed that mature-rated games took a dip in sales last year relative to tamer titles, Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto franchise was the standout in the crowd.
In Take-Two's poorly receivedState ofEmergency, players are encouraged to beat up on corporate executives. Maybe that release was ahead of its time -- before it became fashionable to bash greedy executives like those at Tyco
Of course, all trashing should be verbal and respectful. After all, someone has to set the example and play by the rules.
Discussion Board of the Day: Video & PC Games
Are you worried about Take-Two's accounting? What's up with the NPD Group study that found M-rated games falling from 13.2% of all games sold in 2002 to only 11.9% last year? Is the trend moving away from adult-oriented video games? All this and more -- in the Video & PC Games discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Your Credit Stinks
No matter what words are used or how they are delivered, rejection always stings. Here are the top reasons, according to myfico.com, lenders turn down your loan request (if you can bear reading further):
- Serious delinquency
- Serious delinquency, and public record or collection filed
- Derogatory public record or collection filed
- Time since delinquency is too recent or unknown
- Level of delinquency on accounts
- Number of accounts with delinquency
- Amount owed on accounts
- Proportion of balances to credit limits on revolving accounts is too high
- Length of time accounts have been established
- Too many accounts with balances
- I think of you as a brother
OK, we made up that last one. Still, getting turned down for credit is one of the financial world's cruelest slaps in the face. So, before you court credit, see what's in your file. (TrueCredit has a special for Fool readers on a 3-in-1 credit report, which includes your overall credit score, for $29.)
If you find that your credit score is not up to snuff, there's a lot you can do to scrub it clean. And despite the misleading spam clogging your email inbox offering to fix your credit, you don't need an outsider's help to set the record straight.
Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Income Investor
You've, of course, heard that 2004 is the Year of the Monkey, but we bet you didn't know it's also the Year of the Dividend. Now that you do, why don't you celebrate by taking a free trial of Motley Fool Income Investor right now and find those dividend-paying companies to round out your portfolio. It's one party you don't want to miss.
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