There may be some presidential elections where the difference between candidates is not that great or where Americans might feel that their one vote among millions isn't worth the hassle of getting to the polls. Election 2004 is not one of those elections.
With one candidate winning by just hundreds of votes in Florida in 2000, no one should take this right for granted or leave it to others to decide the country's political direction. You have a voice; use it.
President Bush and Sen. Kerry are locked in a statistical dead heat as you read this. It is not often we can say that on the eve of a national election. Tomorrow, get up a little earlier, come into work a little later, skip lunch, or just spend a little less time monitoring your portfolio. Do whatever it takes to get out and vote.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- JetBlue's Amazing
- Discussion Board of the Day: eBay
- Sysco's Rich Valuation
- Quote of Note
- Can Disney Do No Wrong?
- More on Fool.com Today
There was plenty of bad news in the latest quarterly report from Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation JetBlue
Start by looking for other profitable airlines. Among the major carriers, Southwest Airlines'
What is amazing is that JetBlue was profitable while growing available seat miles (the industry measure for capacity) by 33% while others contracted or stood still. It is even more amazing that this profitable growth occurred while four hurricanes ravaged the company's key operating areas and fuel prices soared.
What makes JetBlue unique? Many will point to 36 channels of DirecTV
But that formula has another element. When fellow contributor Tom Taulli saw I was going to write about JetBlue, he emailed me about CEO David Neeleman and his latest trip on JetBlue. Tom, like me, has seen Mr. Neeleman working as we passed through the company's New York hub. This is not a CEO stuck in a walnut-paneled office out of touch with customers and employees. He is hands-on -- and that (amazingly?) probably accounts for his understanding of what passengers want and what it takes to provide it.
JetBlue's stock is trading at 52 times current-year estimates and 39 times 2005 estimates. That is far from cheap. But, when operating expenses are 6.08 cents per operating mile -- and competitor Southwest is at 7.61 cents -- there is clearly room for this amazing story, like a fine wine, to improve with age.
Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.
Discussion Board of the Day: eBay
Were you affected by PayPal's outage last month? Did you take advantage of the free transactions day? Are you an international PayPal customer upset that eBay didn't take its alleged PayPal apology overseas? All this and more -- in the eBay discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Sysco's Rich Valuation
Given the impact that hurricane season had on casual dining chains and fast-food restaurants throughout the Southeast, it should come as little surprise that the company that supplies those eateries with much of their food might also have quarterly sales numbers that are a little watered down. This morning we found out, when food distributor Sysco
Sales figures could have been worse, though, as the company noted that nine of its 11 subsidiaries operating in the affected regions managed to improve sales on a year-over-year basis. Furthermore, the gains look respectable relative to the 2.9% third-quarter sales growth posted by rival Royal Ahold's
Earnings continued their upward march, as they have done in each of the past 28 years. Aided by further improvement in operating expenses (which have fallen from 15.1% to 14% over the past 18 months), earnings climbed 9.4% to $0.35 ($225.9 million), in line with estimates.
As the leading company in a mature industry, Sysco enjoys streamlined distribution, purchasing power, and economies of scale. However, after acquiring 120 smaller companies and building an impressive customer base that includes fast-food outlets such as Wendy's
The long-run trend, however, seems to favor consumer preference for dining out rather than staying in, and Sysco provides one of the few products for which demand is a foregone conclusion. The company also offers an attractive dividend yield and some of the highest profitability metrics in the extremely low-margin business.
Operating margins, for example, have expanded to 5%, more than double the 2% of Performance Food Group
For related stories on Sysco, see:
Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.
Quote of Note
"Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?" -- Jane Austen
Can Disney Do No Wrong?
While few may be willing to admit it, even when Disney
When some sponsors pulled out of Disney's top-rated, racy Desperate Housewives show on ABC, some saw it as a sign that the Mickey Mouse company was back to fending off boycotts and angry family groups. Not exactly. Losing advertisers that were paying discounted rates in the upfront market is actually a blessing for ABC. Now it can fill those spots with marketers willing to pay even more for the large audiences that the show is attracting.
When Disney officially unloaded its 313-store Disney Store chain through a licensing agreement with Children's Place
You can go back even further, and some of Disney's biggest mistakes are starting to smell like roses. When it loaded up its ABC schedule with sitcoms to help fill the void left behind by Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, it flopped, but that paved the way for hour-long hits like Desperate Housewives and Lost.
From CEO Michael Eisner's pending retirement silencing some critics until his replacement is named to the NHL lockout coming just as Disney skirted past a costly contract, just about every cloud that once appeared full of heavy rain seems to have a silver lining.
Disney is now finding gold coins lining the pockets of its ponchos.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to all six of Disney's domestic theme parks this year, but he's never been caught overpaying for a churro. He owns shares in Disney.
More on Fool.com Today
In Talking About Taser, David Gardner talks with co-founder and President Tom Smith about the company's past, present, and future.... In Presidential Portfolio Potluck, Mathew Emmert asks: Who's bringing what to the tax table?... Bill Mann introduces readers to Dean Cameron, perhaps the only person who has benefited from his interactions with Nigerian scammers, in If It's From Nigeria, Hit Delete.... In 5 Companies I Wish Were Private, Tim Beyers profiles five companies whose shareholder-value-destroying ways qualify them for banishment from the public markets.
In other news:
For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.