The one-year adjustable rate for mortgages has hit a record low, according to Freddie Mac. The average one-year adjustable rate was 3.36% this week if you pay a point of 0.6. Long-term rates aren't too shabby either. The average 30-year mortgage rate was 5.4% with a payment of 0.7 points. It was 5.91% a year ago.
This is quite possibly the best time in history to refinance your mortgage. For advice on how to go about it, see our Home Center.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Apple's Saucy Mini
- Shameless Plug: Champion Funds
- Comcast Shows Discipline
- Quote of Note
- Makin' March Madness Money
- Discussion Board of the Day: College Hoops
- More on Fool.com Today
By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
Rumors of the runaway success of the tiny brethren of the Apple
Some of the questions that nagged the product launch included whether consumers would shell out for a lilliputian version of the iPod -- especially since it was only $50 cheaper than its big brother. However, so far, consumers seem to be reacting strongly to the iPod in all sizes, despite rival MP3 players from Creative Labs and even heavyweights like Dell
Despite Apple's history of being a stylish and quality but niche player in computers, it looks like this time style's winning out with the masses. We had already caught some indications of mini success, when retail outlets like Amazon.com
Meanwhile, any Apple investors who felt a twinge of dismay yesterday over Wal-Mart's
Apple said today that it will move its global launch to July, as opposed to the original April date. With competitors nipping at its heels, Apple may have some challenge in meeting demand before potential buyers get antsy. For now, though, it seems Apple's got a firm grip on the consumer consciousness.
Shares of Apple rose 3% today on this news, though, they were running out of steam as the morning went on. The stock's been rising steadily over recent months and is currently trading at about 56 times forward earnings. So, Apple had better be crankin' out the minis to meet that worldwide demand, which is now, admittedly, probably reaching a fevered pitch.
That's good, because lots of investors are counting on bushels and bushels of iPod sales.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.
Sh ameless Plug: Champion Funds
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Comcast Shows Discipline
By Bill Mann (TMF Otter)
The message for such a pricing situation is simple: Disney shareholders either expected Comcast to raise its bid, or they expected another company to come in and outbid. Disney's board rejected the Comcast offer as being insufficient, and no other suitors have stepped forward.
Roberts, speaking at an economic conference at Boston College, said: "I don't view a merger with Disney as critical to our business, but it's a great opportunity," adding that the combination of Disney's content and Comcast's distribution "would make both of us stronger than we are apart." Roberts added that he was willing to await both companies' shares returning to a level of equilibrium that he hoped would allow the combination to happen.
Translation: I want Disney, but I want it at my price.
There are two ways you could view this. The first is to admire Mr. Roberts' discipline. Psychologist Robert Cialdini discusses in his book Influence the deep desire of humans to "win" something, even if the cost of doing so becomes higher than the prize. Anyone who's ever stood over the computer as an eBay
Or there's the opposite view, the thought that Roberts went in and tried to buy Disney at a time of chaos and was rebuffed. If he's serious about combining Comcast and Disney, he needs to chase the deal. It isn't very smart to let the potential billions in gains for the combined company go idle for the sake of a marginal few billion extra over what he's committed to paying.
As a Disney shareholder, I'd obviously like to see Comcast's offer sweetened. Still, I cannot help but admire Roberts' discipline in waiting for his price, standing by what he calls a "fair and generous offer."
The offer may have been fair, but it was far from generous, it was actually opportunistic. Roberts tried to take advantage of the turmoil surrounding Disney's direction under CEO Michael Eisner. But in the corporate world, it is opportunism and not generosity that makes for better managerial decisions, so Roberts' willingness to wait or not do the deal at all shows that he understands this quite well.
Bill Mann owns shares of Disney.
Qu ote of Note
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -- Abraham Lincoln
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)
As the NCAA trimmed its basketball tournament hopefuls to 16 remaining teams, who do you think will win? No, you can put your office pool scorecard and brackets away. I'm talking about corporate winners here.
A lot has often been made about the lack of worker productivity during these distracting times. Industry watcher Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that companies miss out on $1.5 billion in production as employees are following their favorite teams and tracking their typically illegal betting pools.
But the game is also about big business being made. Viacom
Having CBS as a backer also helps CBS SportsLine.com
While not a pure play, Disney's
What about the sponsors? While they usually get what they pay for, you have to give some style points to companies like General Motors
So don't let that busted bracket get you down. There are plenty of companies looking to capitalize on that lack of productivity around the workplace.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is bummed that his alma mater -- University of Miami -- had a miserable basketball season and didn't even come close to qualifying for the tournament. He owns shares in Disney but no other company mentioned in this story.
Di scussion Board of the Day: College Hoops
Are you watching the Sweet 16 action this week, or have you given up now that your favorite team has been handed an early exit? Who do you think has what it takes to win it all this year? All this and more -- in the College Hoops discussion board. Only on Fool.com.Mo
re on Fool.com Today
Nobody said you have to invest in the "typical" mutual fund. Shannon Zimmerman has how You Can Beat the Market.... And in takeover gossip, Oracle's pursuit of PeopleSoft is still a juicy topic, but what would a merger mean for shareholders? Tim Beyers ponders the possibilities in The Case for OracleSoft.... Looking for ways to boost your abode's value? Selena Maranjian has 10 Home Enhancement Tips. Don't pass it up.
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