Rick Aristotle Munarriz thinks the housing market is a bit overheated. Dayana Yochim thinks Rick may be right, but that consumers should base their conclusions on their own personal circumstances. Bill Mann doesn't know, but he's fairly certain that somebody, somewhere in the sector is up to no good.
Which reminds us: At least one notable won't likely turn up at this Sunday's open house. This afternoon, Martha Stewart was found guilty on all counts in her widely followed conspiracy and securities fraud trial. Sentencing is set for June.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Martha, Martha, Martha
- Shameless Plug: TMF Money Advisor
- TiVo Goes Hyper
- Discussion Board of the Day: Parents and Expecting Parents
- Intel Insomnia
- Quote of Note
- More on Fool.com
By Paul Elliott (TMF Rael)
Back in the day, the mighty Aesop toiled in obscurity, creating stories that not only fascinate the kids but also teach a valuable lesson. That's a lot to ask, even when you get to make the stuff up -- what are the odds that such a story drops from the heavens?
Well, one did today, right along with the other shoe in the Martha Stewart-ImClone Systems
Now for the irony, and it gets thick. The nightmare began back in Dec. 2001, when, on hearing from her broker that then-CEO Sam Waksal was selling stock (Waksal himself had heard that bad tidings were a-brewing at the FDA over cancer drug Erbitux), Stewart dumped some middling number of ImClone shares. The price? Somewhere in mid-$50s. The irony? After a harrowing ride to the single digits, ImClone closed today at around $47.50, within a hair of its 52-week highs.
The lesson? Well, there's the obvious "Don't break the law if you don't want to go to jail" (and for heaven's sake, don't tick people off by lying about it afterwards). Then, there's the infinitely more subtle "Don't buy or sell stocks on rumors." See, for Wall Street at least, the irony is just getting started.
If you recall, just last month, shares of ImClone plunged more than 25% one afternoon before the stock was halted on news pending. The halt related, not to the sudden sell-off, but to the FDA's decision on the resubmitted application for our old friend, cancer drug Erbitux. Bad news, right? Wrong. Unbelievably, given the market "pre" action, the drug was okayed. When the stock reopened for after-hours trading, it promptly recouped all the lost ground and then some. Ouch.
We bring this up now because today shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Don't buy or sell stocks on rumors. After all, if you're trading on reliable, material inside information -- well, you don't want to do that. If you're trading on rumors of dubious origins and accuracy -- well, you don't want to do that either. We'd all prefer that nobody have to go to jail, but talk about a great parable. Thanks, Martha.
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By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
Net loss in TiVo's fourth quarter was $12.4 million, or $0.18 per share, compared to a loss of $32.5 million, or $0.56 per share, in the same quarter last year. Without one-time items, that loss would have been $7.9 million, or $0.12 per share. Revenues, clearly benefiting from a holiday season when TiVo was clearly at the top of many lists, revved up 85% to $42.6 million. In the quarter, the company added 330,000 subscriptions.
Perhaps most encouraging is that TiVo's subscriber base now stands at 1.3 million, more than double that of last year.
A Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, TiVo shook things up recently when it announced its voyeuristic, though anonymous, tendencies -- then announced a deal with Nielsen to track TV watching habits. In the company's conference call (transcript courtesy of CCBN StreetEvents), management said it continues to grow its advertising business, signing on heavyweights like Coca-Cola
TiVo said it plans $50 million in subscription acquisition spending over the next year, aiming to more than double subs to 3 million by the end of the fiscal year. It aims to reach sustained profitability by the end of next year. In addition, it boasted $143 million in cash, its highest amount in three years.
While there is a lot to be excited about, this just may be the proving ground. The economy seems to be improving, and many consumers are ready to have some fun again. Services like TiVo, XM Satellite Radio
However, cable operators have certainly seen the future in DVRs, and companies like Comcast
TiVo's least expensive model is now available for $149 (including a $50 rebate), another aggressive move to bring more curious consumers into the fold. And TiVo plans for a return to television advertising have hit the news, what many people consider a key move in getting the brand into living rooms.
As much as certain threats still loom -- whether the company can withstand competition and ramp up more widespread adoption, and how privacy concerns stack up -- TiVo's making the right moves at a crucial time.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.
Are you a kid at heart or do you need some help picking out the perfect toys? What are the best playthings for babies and toddlers? What do you need to know about choking hazards? All this and more -- in the Parents and Expecting Parents discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
By Tim Beyers
According to published reports, Intel CFO Andy Bryant has suggested that rising inventories among PC manufacturers and weaker-than-expected demand in Japan and throughout Asia were responsible for the shortfall. Intel also said its first quarter is seasonally weak.
Should shareholders be worried? Probably not. Even with its revised guidance, Intel will grow revenue 20%, in line with global semiconductor sales. (Intel booked $6.75 billion in revenue during last year's first quarter.) The company also closed 2003 with more than $13 billion in cash and an authorization to buy back more than 400 million of its outstanding shares, which should keep per-stub earnings on the rise.
That's not to say Intel doesn't face difficulties. After I wrote about Intel's unprecedented move to follow rival Advanced Micro Devices
The best argument came from a reader who pointed out that Intel is far from dominant in supplying chips for lower-end 64-bit servers, where competition comes from AMD's Opteron chip, Sun Microsystems'
Former Fool Tom Jacobs used to say that every investor's portfolio should contain a good mix of "sleep at night" stocks -- large, dominant companies that are likely to offer some modest growth. I used to consider Intel a model "sleeper" stock. Now I'm not so sure.
With competition heating up and now revised guidance, Intel investors may find themselves with a slight case of insomnia.
Motley Fool contributor Tim Beyers wonders if there's a chip for curing insomnia. He could have used it last night. Tim has no stake in any companies mentioned here.Qu
ote of Note
"If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?" -- Seymour Cray, the father of supercomputing
Mo re on Fool.com Today
Tax season is knocking on your door. Make sure you don't get bilked, falling for these Top Five Audit Myths.... Whitney Tilson is back, with more investing strategies. Find out four situations to Bullish Options Strategies.... It's hard to believe the housing bubble is just that -- a bubble. Or is it? Rick Munarriz takes a look at the sector in Stealing Home.
In other news:
- Is Syms a Value Trap?
- CNET's Wireless Play
- Hasbro Pays Out
- Selling in Vegas
- Buffalo Wild Only Looks Mild
For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.