Perfection rarely comes, particularly in investing. Even that rare breed of superinvestors like Buffett and Lynch make mistakes -- once in a while. That's why when perfection comes along once in a blue moon, you have to celebrate it.
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson was perfect Tuesday night, mowing down 27 Atlanta Braves in a row for the first perfect game in Major League Baseball since 1999, and the 17th all time. He struck out 13 in the second no-hitter of his career (the first coming 14 years ago). And, at the age of 40, he offered up a lesson for all of us: We can get better with age.
Are you a better investor now than you were 10 years ago? Will you be even better 10 years from now? You betcha.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- HP's $20 Billion Boast
- Discussion Board of the Day: Help with this STUPID computer!
- Google's Email Arms Race
- Shameless Plug: Motley Fool Hidden Gems
- Tiffany Shells Out
- Quote of Note
- More on Fool.com Today
HP's $20 Billion Boast
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)
It sounded cool. It sounded important. It was neither. After Hewlett-Packard
Buying into that remark would mean admitting that just maybe the company was right to acquire Compaq nearly three years ago. If you did buy in, ask for a refund.
In justifying the merger at the time, Hewlett-Packard pointed to the operating efficiencies that could be tacked on to its $47 billion in annual revenues and Compaq's $40 billion. In other words, the two companies logged $87 billion in combined sales the year before they got engaged. Obviously, quite a few quarters found the companies topping the $20 billion mark combined.
I'm not one to rain on a parade -- and the company's report was worthy of high stepping with the marching band -- but I just couldn't let that one slide.
With that out of the way, the quarter was refreshingly sound. That $20.1 billion in revenue was in fact a 12% improvement over last year. And while only a dyslexic would find that superior to Dell's
Earnings for the quarter rose by 32% to $0.29 a share on widening margins. HP also hiked its outlook for the remainder of the year. It now looks to earn $0.79 a share in the year's final half on revenues of $39.7 billion to $40.7 billion.
The flagship imaging and printing business continues to account for the lion's share of its operating profits, so perhaps HP isn't much closer to vindicating its purchase of Compaq. Still, rival box makers like Gateway
Unlike HP's dubious $20 billion pitch, that's something worth buying.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wrote this story on his HP computer hooked to a Dell monitor. He does not own shares in any company mentioned.
Has your computer been acting up lately? Is it time to upgrade? What's a worm and can it bite into your Apple? All this and more -- in the Help with this STUPID computer! discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
By Seth Jayson
Don't doubt it, Fool. Your personal data are worth big bucks in the information age. Need proof? Look no further than the controversy kicked up by Google's April Fool's Day announcement of Gmail, which excited geeks around the world like nothing since the floppy disk. Reason? A free gigabyte of email storage, paid for by an innovative message-snooping system that some observers -- including yours truly -- find a bit too Admiral Poindexter-ish.
To judge by the preponderance of public reaction, including that of my colleagues Alyce Lomax and Rick Aristotle Munarriz, most people are really jonesing for those megabytes. And that appetite for memory is driving an industry arms race.
It won't work. Free is free, folks. Aside from flat-earthers like me, most people don't care about the ads, and that's why this is still Google's game. The company's stealth response to the gathering email threat was to quietly bump up some Gmail users' storage to a full terabyte. That's a million megabytes. That's a thousand gigabytes. That's more than most of us will ever have in our home computers. That's brilliant PR.
It's amazing to watch these firms scramble for our monitor-watching eyeballs. I can't wait to see what happens if Microsoft's
Frightened of the frenzy over the Google IPO? Find lesser-known stocks with The Motley Fool Hidden Gems.
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 Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
Bling is king, when you consider how the jewelry biz is big news these days. The latest to try to profit from that trend is Tiffany
Tiffany, home of the special signature blue box, is one heck of a company, having first hit the scene in 1837. Its appeal has continued for nearly two centuries, as can be attested to by recent earnings reports and the company's fascinating historical timeline.
As hinted at above, it's a good time for sparkle. Yesterday, Zale
So, it's easy to see why Tiffany might decide to expand its horizons at this time. The company said it believes the pearl market is an underdeveloped one, and it plans to apply its "highly efficient operational infrastructure" to this new market.
I can buy that the market is underdeveloped. Though pearls once conveyed status, the gem of the sea may have lost some of its luster over recent times. To my way of thinking, pearls as an essential accessory bring to mind debutante balls, bridge clubs, and a look where the dress, shoes, handbag, and hat all coordinate. Not that pearls are totally out of today's fashion loop. Faux pearls have a funky appeal, but whether the high-end version will resonate with today's consumer as much as Tiffany's current product line is an interesting question.
And what about those price points? Iridesse's pearls will be available in the $100 to $40,000 range, and the first of two debut stores will be in McLean, Va. (just a hop, skip, and a traffic-jammed jump from Fool HQ). While Tiffany is known for its premium prices, it has worked hard to appeal to a widening demographic with less expensive, gift-worthy merchandise, including silver jewelry. I also question isolating the strong Tiffany name from the concept. One of Tiffany's major selling points is that distinctive blue box.
Tiffany will shell out big to launch a new concept and a new brand. Given Tiffany's powers to seduce, if anyone can do it, it's Tiffany. Down the road, investors may celebrate this move as pearls of wisdom. Let's just hope they're not casting pearls before swine.
Those gems that are polished up and on display are one thing, but it's the diamonds in the rough that have the potential. RedEnvelope might be one such company. It's one of the few Motley Fool Hidden Gems stocks that's underwater -- down nearly 29% since Tom Gardner picked it in December (Tom's total average return since inception last July is about 47%). Read whyGems editor Paul Elliott thinks RedEnvelope is still worth holding, and, if you're interested, take a 30-day free trial to find out what other companies the Hidden Gems guys are picking.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Diamonds aren't her best friend, but they are her birthstone.
Quote of Note
"A barking dog never bites." -- Former president of Taiwan Lee Teng-hui's comment this week on the People's Republic of China's steadfast assertions that Taiwan, under no circumstances, will gain independence from mainland China.
Small-cap fanatic Paul Elliott won't rest until he's demystified the process of Hidden Gems investing. Here's a start: The Art of Picking Winners
In other news:
For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.