With NCAA Selection Sunday fast approaching, we'd ordinarily be chanting, "We're No. 1, we're No. 1." But not today, after the No. 1 jinx reared its ugly head again. Just as Cinderella story St. Joseph's took to the court for the first time as the nation's top-ranked team, its perfect season was spoiled by an upset loss to unranked Xavier in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals.
Perhaps the fairytale ride is not quite over for the Hawks, however. They still have the NCAA tournament to look forward to and, perhaps -- like a good investor -- they'll learn from their loss and be stronger for it.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Yahoo! Yeah, Baby!
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Income Investor
- EchoStar's Tough Week
- Quote of Note
- All Over for Overstock?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Living Below Your Means
- More on Fool.com Today
By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
Despite its shouting moniker, Yahoo!
It's vocal because it will incorporate Yahoo! Messenger with British Telecom's new voice over Internet protocol, better known as VOIP, which will allow users to make phone calls over Yahoo!'s messaging software.
The deal merges two important, recent concepts that investors find pretty hot. First off, the changing regulatory landscape, the return of capital expenditures, and improving VOIP phone call quality have made it a buzzword over recent months.
Secondly, IM has been subject to all kinds of efforts at convergence recently. Theoretically, your fingers won't do the walking anymore, when the software adds such qualities as voice and videoconferencing.
For years, the popularity of Yahoo! Messenger and Microsoft's
British Telecom hopes this added service will help garner customers in an increasingly competitive telecom market, where Internet services are growth vehicles. Meanwhile, Yahoo! seeks more ways to bring in revenue through premium services. According to the deal's press announcement, charges for the service would be added to British Telecom's users' home telephone bills and the companies will share the revenues.
As much as I have my own questions as to how much people really need this service, I see some degree of usefulness in knowing your party's available via IM, then ringing them through the same software. It's true, sometimes an IM conversation can turn into a manifesto.
However, if I really felt like talking to one of my buddies, I probably would just call by regular phone. And as I've pointed out before, IM lets you carry on many different conversations at once or fire up a chat room with a slew of friends. Judging by the way most of us view our beloved messaging clients, it's uncertain whether this is a premium loads of people will pay for.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. Years ago, she thought the idea of IM was "creepy" -- who wants all their friends to know when they're online? She couldn't go without it now.
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By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
Today, lots of people who use EchoStar's
Since the whole payment dispute boiled to a crisis, leaving some channels black holes for subscribers Tuesday, it's been no secret that both parties were dealing with some pretty irate people. One disgruntled subscriber sued EchoStar. There's been lots of phone calling and letter and email writing to both companies, demanding local CBS network coverage as well as national channels like MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central.
Dow Jones even reported that competitors like Hughes Electronics'
Given such a difficult week, maybe the last thing EchoStar needed was more controversy, but the term "SEC probe" generally has those undertones. EchoStar isn't reporting earnings today as expected because the regulatory body is looking into its accounting and the company may have to restate financial results from 2001 and possibly several other years.
If there's a silver lining to EchoStar's woes this week, it's that it appears to have been overly conservative and the restatement should add to its past numbers. However, given that its auditor at the time was none other than Arthur Andersen (infamous for the Enron debacle), there's reason to wonder whether other adjustments may come to light, though so far it sounds more like a minor inconvenience than anything else.
All in all, it's been a week of questions about EchoStar. Investors bid its shares higher today, most likely on the fairly quick resolution to the Viacom skirmish. However, though it's a good thing the blackout didn't go longer than it did, what impact, if any, the event will have on subscriber confidence, and numbers, is still a viable concern.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. News mining today revealed a strange and unrelated factoid: DirectTV is suing O.J. Simpson for pirating his satellite TV.Qu
ote of Note
"The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything." -- Oscar Wilde
All Over for Overstock?
By Jeff Hwang
Hold on. Just a few weeks ago, after a rally to $27.69, we were discussing whether or not Overstock was still undervalued. We suggested that the price discrepancy between Overstock and rival online retailer Amazon.com
I mean, did the Overstock bubble really burst? Was there even a bubble at all? Does it matter?
The answers: maybe, maybe, and it depends. Over the past few weeks, the stock jumped to $35 and back, yet nothing changed. Overstock's underlying business has neither improved nor deteriorated. And, unless you thought the stock was wildly overvalued at $35, the action the past few weeks is absolutely inconsequential -- at least, to the Foolish long-term, buy-and-hold investor.
It's funny that we ask more questions when the bottom "falls out" than we do on the way up. But here's the thing: Unless you intend to sell, it still doesn't matter whether Overstock goes to $40 tomorrow or drops back below $20 first. As an Overstock shareholder, the determinations that need to be made at this point are fourfold:
1. Is Overstock a company you want to own?
2. Do you believe the stock will be worth a whole lot more five to 10 years from now?
3. Does your expectation for outperformance outweigh the risk of failure?
4. How much of your portfolio are you willing to bet on it?
Anyone who believes that Overstock is undervalued, but also believes that the stock has become too big a part of his or her portfolio, should lighten up. If you think the stock is way overvalued, or you're wondering why you even bought the stock in the first place, then you might just sell it all.
Personally, I think it's possible that Overstock is still undervalued. However, I have difficulty making an argument for buying without a greater margin of safety, especially given how difficult it is to determine how much a young, marginally profitable company is really worth.
As for selling, that's a personal decision, and one that's always difficult to argue against. That said, and though I may feel differently at $40, I am inclined to hold on to my shares for now.
Are discount department store chains a great way to save some money, or do you troll through the deeper discounters for values? How can you buy what you want and still stay under your budget? All this and more -- in the Living Below Your Means discussion board. Only on Fool.com.Mo re on Fool.com Today
Companies always try to put a pretty face on earnings reports. Ben McClure's got three telltale ways to find quality numbers, minus the makeup.... Outsourcing American jobs overseas is guaranteed to be a flash point in an election year, but is it really as detrimental to the economy as some say? Selena Maranjian speaks out in Thoughts on Offshoring and Outsourcing.... The saga at Disney may not be over, but our own miniseries is coming to an end. Check out the third installment of David and Tom Gardner's interview with Disney author Kim Masters in Disney Disses Shareholders.
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