If bugs make you nervous, you may want to stay indoors this summer. The periodical cicadas are coming. That's right, 17 years have passed, and a brood of these screeching, grasshopper-like creatures is due to hit the woods in May. Be forewarned: The "class of 2004" is expected to be larger than usual.
If you're bug-phobic, there is a way to get over your fear. Imagine these 17-year locusts are simply the buzz and noise of Wall Street, and keep on a steady course with your investments. Warren Buffett has often said it'd be fine if the stock market shut down for decades -- his investing methodology would not change. Bugs or no bugs, neither should yours.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Et Tu, Krispy Kreme?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Krispy Kreme
- Oracle's Bipolar Quarter
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Hidden Gems
- Gateway's Gamble
- Quote of Note
- More on Fool.com Today
By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
What's the world coming to? Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme, a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, has remained popular despite obvious health trends. Seth Jayson showed how healthy it can be earlier this week, writing about its sweet quarterly numbers and nostalgia cachet. Meanwhile, Munarriz made the stock his Valentine last month, when he covered it for Stocks Fools Love.
Indeed, when I wrote about it recently, I mused on the fact that even dieters sometimes have a need for decadence as long as it is in moderation. Some folks do revel in Krispy Kreme's sugary (and a little bit naughty) goodness, judging by the reader feedback I received.
Admittedly, the trends are difficult to ignore. It was hardly surprising that McDonald's
Just yesterday, the Fool examined a new bill that prohibits obesity lawsuits. This is against the backdrop of a new American Medical Association study once again hammering home the danger of our increasing obesity, which is about to overcome even smoking as no-no No. 1.
Admittedly, if Krispy Kreme comes up with a doughnut that doesn't skimp on the taste as well as the fat and calories, it certainly could lure some previous no-shows to its stores. Some investors seemed to think that Krispy Kreme's popularity was bound to wear thin with its sticky, stubborn grip on high sugar and fat treats.
However, perhaps some concepts don't belong on the low-carb, healthy eating bandwagon. Krispy Kreme, after all, is a company that has described its wares in its SEC filings as "an affordable indulgence," and when it comes to its appeal, that just about nails it. Hot Original Glazed doughnuts might sell out fast when the hot light's on, but whether Hot Healthy Half-Glazed doughnuts sound so appetizing is a whole other matter.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. She welcomes your feedback.
Are you happy to hear that Krispy Kreme is addressing healthy-eating trends? Or do you think it undermines that brand? Fools are talking about this issue and more on the Krispy Kreme discussion board.
Oracle's Bipolar Quarter
By Tim Beyers
By now it's common knowledge that database specialist Oracle
Oracle met Wall Street's earnings expectations of $0.12 per share on $2.51 billion in third-quarter revenue, up from $0.11 per share on $2.31 billion in sales during the same period last year. Executives said favorable currency exchange rates accounted for 7% of growth. Free cash flow came in at $2.02 billion, more than $300 million better than year-to-date net income, but slightly lower than the same period a year ago.
New license revenue, generally acknowledged as a barometer for industrywide software spending, was up 12% from last year's third quarter. Quarterly license revenue for its database software was up 16% vs. last year, but its applications business over the same period was flat.
No one should be surprised about that last point, because the proposed acquisition of PeopleSoft would help strengthen Oracle's business software offerings. And yet Ellison didn't really admit he needs help. In a series of strikingly contradictory comments, Ellison pointed out that Oracle didn't, but did, need PeopleSoft.
For example, in his opening statements Ellison touted how its applications business is growing faster than both market leader SAP
But when asked if results were hurt by pricing pressure in business applications, Ellison parroted the party line, noting that application software is an "extremely competitive business." The chief threat, Ellison said, was the entry of Microsoft
What does it all add up to? Positioning. The trial to decide whether Oracle can move forward with its bid begins on June 7 and is expected to last four weeks. Ellison's comments about the applications business, and subsequent rhetoric to remind analysts and investors that he's not done shopping, are aimed at refuting any perceived weakness in Oracle's business should the Justice Department prevail.
Investors would be Foolish to take heed. Oracle has a huge cash stockpile, is growing margins, and generates most of its revenue on a recurring basis. Indeed, Oracle's story doesn't begin and end with PeopleSoft. This is just the beginning.
Motley Fool contributor Tim Beyers doesn't like chocolate, but he'll eat candy bars with peanuts. Yeah, we can't explain it either. Tim doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned here.
Looking for that perfect small-cap investment newsletter? Not to toot our own horn, but we've got the best one in town. But don't take our word for it. See for yourself! Take a free trial of Motley Fool Hidden Gems just by clicking here.
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)
At a time when folks are particularly gun shy about corporate malfeasance, maybe Gateway's
However, the departure of PricewaterhouseCoopers isn't nearly as interesting as who is moving in. With eMachines in the mix and a new CEO at the helm, Gateway is back in the box business in a major way. No, it never really left; however, acquiring the rival maker of bargain-priced computers does seem to contrast its recent upscale expansion into plasma television sets and other consumer electronics.
True, as an investor who enjoys cash as a flotation device, I'll miss that in Gateway. With $1.1 billion in cash and short-term investments at the beginning of the year, the company had a mattress of nearly $3.40 a share. It only forked over $30 million in cash for eMachines, but the 50 million new shares that were issued in the deal dilute that cash balance to nearer $2.80 per share.
And while the company may have lacked the clout and raw size of rivals Dell
Gateway expects to achieve sustained profitability by next year -- and that carrot has been dangled before investors in the past -- but it's different this time. eMachines makes Gateway intriguing again. Making eMachines CEO Wayne Inouye the combined company's new leader brings in a proven cost-conscious veteran that now has the luxury of a significant horde of cash at his disposal.
Both brands will continue. That means Gateway will be clawing away at its direct model, while its new eMachines systems continues to attract value hunters at consumer electronics specialists like Best Buy
But Gateway will now emerge as a more important player in personal computing. So, where are you going PricewaterhouseCoopers? The party is just getting started.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.
Quote of Note
"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." -- Gertrude SteinMo re on Fool.com Today
Matt Richey will admit he's guilty. Now he wants to show you the danger of overly focusing on trailing-12-month valuations in An Earnings Mirage.... We all know change is in the air for the music industry. Rick Munarriz ponders the possibilities in Sing a New Song.
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- Petco Fetches Nice Numbers
- FARO Flickers, Falls
- 99 Cents Is Enough
- Split Personality at S&P?
For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.