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    Photo credit: Tesla Gallery.

    Tesla has been a mind-boggling topic of late. From its seemingly overnight appearance in the auto industry, which no one believed a start-up company could break into, to its three-month price jump from less than $40 a share to more than $100, consumers and investors can't get enough. Tesla and its founder, Elon Musk, have shaken up the industry with a revolutionary electric vehicle ... or luxury vehicle ... or is it both?


    Whatever its segment niche is, as long as the Model S backs up the hype, the future is bright for Tesla, right? Perhaps that will be true, but automotive juggernauts Ford , General Motors , and Toyota will have a lot to say about that.

    Let's check out some of the details and see if Tesla's Model S will remain a bright spot in the industry, or if it will be just a flash in the pan.

    Overview and expectations
    Consumer Reports labeled the car as nearly perfect, and one of the best cars it's ever tested -- awarding the Model S a score of 99 out of 100. Practically its only fault, if you can call it that, is the recharge time the car needs after driving long distances -- taking about six hours through a regular 240-volt outlet.

    Tesla's nimble and exhilarating electric sports car didn't stop with just one award. It also took home Motor Trends "2013 Car of the Year." It was the first vehicle in the award's 64-year history to win without an internal combustion engine.

    I know my saying "exhilarating electric sports car" might raise a few eyebrows. But consider that the sport-tuned Model S can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 4.3 seconds -- pretty darn quick. Earlier this year, Automobile arranged a test for its magazine, and the Model S topped a 560-horsepower BMW M5 in a race to 100 MPH.

    "It's the performance that won us over," Automobile Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings had to say afterward, in the magazine's January 2013 issue. "The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses."

    For some of us, it goes past what the Model S actually is, and more to what it represents. Detroit's Big Three have all seen their share of successes, as well as disasters -- more of the latter in recent years. While Ford has given us a reason to cheer a business that didn't take taxpayer funds in a bailout, it hasn't created anything truly revolutionary. Moreover, if two years ago we were asked which country's automakers would have the next breakthrough vehicle, "America's" probably wouldn't have been the answer. Tesla changed that, and it has given Americans reason to be proud and say that we can still innovate greatness. Few companies can say that with conviction, but Tesla and Apple both come to mind.

    Tesla's Model S definitely lives up to the hype, in terms of performance, but let's take a look at the interior.


    Interior of Tesla's 2013 Model S. Photo credit: Tesla Gallery.

    The first thing that will catch your eye will definitely be the humongous 17-inch touchscreen. The first thing that will escape your mouth will be "wow." As your fingers immediately gravitate to the screen, you'll notice its functionality is as wide as the screen itself. At your fingertips are controls for HD radio, online radio, Internet, or Bluetooth, as well as navigation through Google Maps and controls for the glass roof. You can monitor the energy consumption during your trip as well as see what's behind you with the full HD backup camera. The list goes on, but we have other features to cover here.

    One of my personal favorites in luxury rides is an all-glass panoramic roof, and the Model S delivers. According to Tesla, it's constructed from lightweight glass and can open wider than any other sedan's panoramic roof. 

    In addition to the tech savvy and luxurious interior, I was completely surprised to learn it can fit five adults and two children. Its rear-facing child-seat option provides the space, and it's still optimized for safety. If you're looking for more storage space, the Model S offers a unique solution -- a drop-in center console. It slides into the existing space between front seats and can carry drinks or provide a place for phones and tablets.

    To me, it's very clear that Tesla's Model S completely backs up the hype in every aspect and gives good old American innovation another leg to stand on. Consumers and critics are satisfied, but how about investors?

    Investing takeaway
    As I mentioned, Tesla's stock has been soaring over the past couple of months. Its rise has been fueled by the success of the Model S and the company's surprise quarterly profit.

    I love the idea of Tesla as a long-term investment, but I'm not sure I'd buy in at this price. At today's lofty valuation, Tesla will be forced to report years of solid revenue and profit growth to justify its share price -- which it could very well do.

    Let's not forget, however, the massive balance sheets and power of the globe's biggest automakers. Consider that Ford's F-Series -- America's best-selling vehicle for 31 years -- sold more than 640,000 vehicles last year, compared with Tesla's goal of selling just over 20,000 Model Ses this year.

    Tesla has a breakthrough vehicle, no doubt about it, but it also isn't immune to copycat competition. If it goes mainstream instead of filling a luxurious niche, global automakers easily have the balance sheets to rapidly develop a vehicle to compete.

    Tesla's future indeed may be bright, but the only thing guaranteed in investing is that it will surely hit a speed bump along the way -- and that may be a better point to jump on for an investment.

    Tesla has captured the attention of investors across the nation, but is it positioned for the biggest automotive growth trend? A recent Motley Fool report, "2 Automakers to Buy for a Surging Chinese Market," names two global giants poised to reap big gains that could drive big rewards for investors. You can read this report right now for free -- just click here for instant access.

    The article Tesla's 2013 Model S Is a Game-Changer originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford, General Motors, and Tesla Motors and owns shares of Ford and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Washington Post columnist Neil Irwin stopped by to discuss his book, The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire. It's a great read on the history of central banks, including how they responded to the financial crisis and the challenges they face in the future.

    In this video segment, Neil reveals his thoughts on who could step into Ben Bernanke's shoes -- assuming he doesn't stay on for a third term -- including two strong possibilities and an intriguing long shot. A full transcript follows the video.


    Morgan Housel: Bernanke's term is up in January -- January 2014. What are the odds that he's going to stick around, and, if not him, who's going to replace him?

    Neil Irwin: I don't think he wants to stay. I think he's tired. I think he's ready to go back to a quieter life. Could the president talk him into that? Who knows? I think it's fairly low odds, though, that Ben Bernanke will still be Fed chair this time a year from now.

    The candidates people talk about, the one who gets talked about the most and probably has the highest odds of any individual of ending up in the job, is Janet Yellen. She's the current vice chair, former Fed governor, former president of the San Francisco Fed. Obama appointed her to the vice chairmanship.

    She's a very good economist; she has long experience in the Fed system. I think she is the most likely of any individual, but I don't think it's a slam-dunk. I don't think it's a sure thing, by any means, that she'll get the job.

    If they don't go with her, if the president doesn't go with her, it'll be because he either worries that she's too doveish on inflation and might not be sufficiently attuned to, for example, risks building in the financial system. He may have worries on, does she have the right dynamic ability to handle all these different jobs -- the public-facing aspects of the job, the diplomatic aspects, the political aspects.

    That said, she is a completely sound candidate, and very well may end up being the next Fed chair.

    Some other possibilities: Roger Ferguson was the vice chair under Alan Greenspan. He's more experienced on the financial side of things. Janet Yellen is a little more experienced on the economics and monetary policy side.

    There are some more unconventional names that you hear. One is Jeremy Stein. He's a Fed governor right now. He's given a few thoughtful speeches on the risks of financial bubbles building in asset markets. He's a Harvard economist. He might end up being -- if he were to get the job -- the Ben Bernanke of 2013, in the sense that he kind of came out of nowhere and was an intellectual force.

    One name that I'm not sure if the president would give any serious consideration to, but I think is an interesting name to mention, a guy named Stan Fischer. He just stepped down as governor of the Bank of Israel.

    He's been a U.S. citizen since 1976, though he has been a central banker in another country for the last few years. Very respected; he's actually kind of an intellectual godfather to a generation of central bankers. He was Ben Bernanke's thesis advisor at MIT. Also for Mario Draghi, the president of the ECB; he also advised Mario Draghi at MIT.

    He's, I think, 76, but he's healthy, a brilliant guy, former No. 2 at the IMF. Will he get serious consideration? Would that be too much for Americans to handle, going with somebody with a foreign accent to be the Fed chair? We'll see.

    I think some of the other candidates are more likely, for all those reasons -- Janet Yellen, Roger Ferguson, and the others I mentioned.

    More from The Motley Fool
    Obamacare will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects. The Motley Fool's new free report "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare" lets you know how your health insurance, your taxes, and your portfolio could be affected. Click here to read more. 

    The article Who Will Succeed Ben Bernanke? originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Climbing obesity rates around the world aren't a concern; they've now become a full-fledged problem.

    Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

    In the "Global Burden of Disease" report from the World Health Organization, which was compiled over a 20-year period from 1990 through 2010 using data from 500 researchers from 50 countries, it was determined that obesity had surpassed hunger as the greatest worldwide threat. With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, obesity rates shot up globally by 82%. In the U.S., the obesity rate is a staggering 35.7%.

    Obesity isn't just an individual killer, either; it affects those around us -- our family and friends -- both directly and indirectly. Obesity and the health problems that often accompany it are linked to $190 billion in annual health costs, or approximately 21% of all health expenditures. What's more, obesity costs U.S. businesses $164 billion annually because of health problems associated with being overweight, according to the Society of Actuaries. You can read about more flabbergasting costs associated with obesity from my Foolish colleague Keith Speights.


    The point of the matter is that changes need to be undertaken now to halt this rising obesity trend in its tracks; otherwise we could be looking at an overwhelmed global health system as early as a decade from now. If we do nothing, then the following top five diseases caused by obesity are almost certain to climb. While disappointing from a human perspective, it's a boon for pharmaceutical companies that'll reap the benefits of the world's widening waistline.

    Fifth most common disease caused by obesity: Cancer 
    I recently finished examining the 12 most commonly diagnosed types of cancer and was pretty shocked to discover that obesity was a risk factor for quite a few. An inactive lifestyle puts people at a higher risk of developing breast, colorectal, endometrial, and kidney cancers, just to name a few. What's most concerning about the aforementioned cancer types are that some are among the deadliest with regard to five-year survival rates (depending on stage).

    If obesity rates don't decline, a biopharmaceutical company like Onyx Pharmaceuticals , which has an oral medication known as Stivarga to treat advanced colorectal cancer, will clearly benefit. Onyx projects that Stivarga, which works by inhibiting membrane-bound and intracellular kinases, could have peak sales in excess of $1 billion. Onyx receives a 20% royalty interest on net sales of the drug, with the remainder going to partner Bayer.

    Fourth most common disease caused by obesity: Stroke
    This one should be fresh in everyone's mind, as we covered the top three risk factors for stroke last weekend. Not surprisingly, being overweight or obese was a risk factor for a laundry list of the medical conditions that can exacerbate a person's chance of having a stroke, including hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Nearly 800,000 people had a stroke in 2010, with 130,000 of them dying. If obesity trends rise, the propensity of stroke occurrences is also likely to rise.

    If that's the case, then it could mean big business for the duo of Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS , which both have chronic weight-management drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Arena's Belviq was approved in June last year but only made it to pharmacy shelves within the past week, as it had been awaiting scheduling from the Drug Enforcement Agency. VIVUS' Qsymia, on the other hand, has been available to the public since November, although sales have been tempered because few insurance companies are covering the drug thus far. It should be interesting to see which drug comes out on top, as Belviq had a better safety profile in clinical trials, but Qsymia offered the better overall weight-loss results in trials in percentage terms. Perhaps the pie is big enough for both companies to succeed? 

    Third most common disease caused by obesity: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
    If there is some twisted bright spot on this list of top diseases caused by obesity, it's that the third most common disease, fatty liver disease, isn't deadly in its most common form. In fact, quite a bit of the population is likely to have fatty liver disease, which will go undetected, because in its early and mid-level stages it doesn't present any symptoms. Outside of scarring of the liver, a person wouldn't even notice. The danger is if this nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progresses into what's known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or silent liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis (i.e., permanent scarring), and eventually complete failure, of the liver. 

    The downside to silent liver disease is that there is no current standard of treatment -- at least as it pertains to drugs. The most logical way to treat the disease is by inducing weight loss as quickly as possible, but even that offers no guarantee of success.

    Second most common disease caused by obesity: Cardiovascular diseases
    This broad-based topic can cover a myriad of problems ranging from hypertension and high cholesterol to full-blown heart arrhythmia or heart disease. While the latter two are more dangerous on an immediate basis than the former two, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Being overweight puts excess pressure on all of the body's organs to function properly, greatly increasing the probability of a complication or series of complications. 

    If obesity trends move higher globally, long-term LDL-cholesterol-lowering drugs (the bad type of cholesterol) are going to make a fortune. Liptruzet, for example, won FDA approval last month and is a combination of a statin -- in this case, Pfizer's now generic Lipitor -- and Merck's cholesterol absorption inhibitor, Zetia. Separately, Lipitor and Zetia reduced LDL-cholesterol by 37% to 54%, and 20% in trials. When combined as Liptruzet, this LDL reduction jumped to 53% to 61%, depending on the dosage. This next-generation LDL-cholesterol-fighting drug could be the next big thing in long-term high-cholesterol maintenance.

    The most common disease caused by obesity: Type 2 diabetes 

    Source: Bodytel, Flickr.

    An astonishing 25.3 million people in the U.S. already have some form of diabetes, be it type 1, which is inherited at birth, or type 2, whose onset is based on diet, exercise, and other factors. An additional 79 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning the likelihood of seeing more diabetes diagnoses over the coming decade is very high. Diabetes offers a myriad of complications including kidney failure and is the leading cause of new diagnoses of blindness and non-accident-related amputations of the feet and legs.

    If there is some semblance of a bright spot here, it's that the FDA recently approved a new class of diabetes drug by Johnson & Johnson known as Invokana. Rather than working from the pancreas or liver as previous diabetes medications had, Invokana is an SGLT-2 inhibitor that works in the kidneys and allows a person to excrete excess glucose through the urine. The drug not only provides improved glycemic balance, but it's also been shown to induce weight loss and lower blood pressure -- two fantastic benefits for patients who are overweight or obese.

    The takeaway
    There are no two ways about it: Obesity is a growing global dilemma. Clearly, the best way to deal with rising levels of obesity is to educate people about the need for proper diet and exercise. Understandably, this won't work completely for everyone, as genetic make-up, age, and severity of the disease will play a big role in total weight loss, but a little exercise certainly never hurt anyone.

    In cases where exercise isn't enough, pharmaceutical companies look poised to step in and lend a helping hand. Bad cholesterol-blocking drugs like Liptruzet and J&J's Invokana, which aids in glycemic balance, will certainly keep some of obesity's most dangerous health symptoms at bay. Arena and VIVUS' weight control management drugs, though, have the potential to truly change the course of obesity treatment if they can gain the acceptance of physicians and health-benefit providers.

    Who will win the obesity-drug market?
    Can VIVUS pick up its lagging sales and fend off the competition, or will Arena Pharmaceuticals reign supreme in the obesity space? If you're in the dark, grab copies of The Motley Fool's premium research reports on VIVUS and Arena Pharmaceuticals to stay up to date. Senior biotech analyst Brian Orelli gives investors the must-know information, including an in-depth look at the obesity market and reasons to buy and sell both stocks. Click now for an exclusive look at Arena and VIVUS -- complete with a full year of free updates -- today.

    The article The Top 5 Diseases Caused by Obesity originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of, and recommends, Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Researchers have found a possible early detection method for dementia in individuals with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. That is great news for patients, but it could work out in more ways than one. A handful of companies have tried to develop Alzheimer's disease drugs, but none have been successful. The study results could provide pharmaceutical companies with a new patient population for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease therapies. Additionally, perhaps studying the disease before it is clinically diagnosed will lead to powerful insights for its progression. In the following video, Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains the ramifications for several companies.

    With two of its top three drugs poised to lose patent protection this year, is Eli Lilly a dividend stock headed nowhere fast? In a new premium report, The Motley Fool's senior pharmaceuticals analyst breaks down all of Lilly's moving parts, including an in-depth analysis of the company's must-know opportunities and reasons to buy and sell today. To find out more click here to claim your copy today.

    The article Did This Study Just Change the Game for Alzheimer's? originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check out his personal portfolio, his CAPS page, or follow him on Twitter @BlacknGoldFool to keep up with his writing on energy, bioprocessing, and biotechnology. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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  • 06/16/13--07:45: The Central Bankers' Club
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    Washington Post columnist Neil Irwin stopped by to discuss his book, The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire. It's a great read on the history of central banks, including how they responded to the financial crisis and the challenges they face in the future.

    What did Neil learn over the course of researching and writing his book? In this brief video segment, he describes the relationships between the leaders of the world's major central banks, and how those bonds come into play when decisions need to be made. A full transcript follows the video.


    Morgan Housel: We were talking earlier -- you spent two years writing this book, and you visited about a dozen different countries. What's one thing that you learned about central banking or the Fed that totally blew your mind, that you didn't know before?

    Neil Irwin: What I think is amazing is how much these different global central banks think of themselves as being part of the same team.

    They live in different countries, they come from different backgrounds -- different kinds of academic training, different languages, obviously. But there are these common bonds of understanding that somebody from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Japan, the Bundesbank in Germany -- even when they disagree, they have a sense of common purpose. That gets reinforced in a lot of different settings.

    I have a scene in the book -- in Basel, Switzerland, there's the Bank for International Settlements. It's more or less the Central Bank of the central banks. Six times a year, the governors of the leading central banks, they fly there. They have two days of lengthy meetings to debate economics and what's going on in the world.

    At night, the governors of the leading central banks -- the 10 or 12 top dogs, as it were -- go to the 18th floor of this building. They have a delicious meal, they drink good wine, they have this -- I call it the world's most intimate dinner party. It's in settings like that that they develop a shared understanding of how the world works, and what they can do to try and guide the economy toward a better place.

    Again, as we discussed earlier, if you care about democracy and transparency, it certainly can worry you and be something that seems off-putting, but I think it did, during this crisis, pay some dividends in terms of the central banks being on the same page and avoiding some much worse outcomes.

    More from The Motley Fool
    Obamacare will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects. The Motley Fool's new free report "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare" lets you know how your health insurance, your taxes, and your portfolio could be affected. Click here to read more. 

    The article The Central Bankers' Club originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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  • 06/16/13--08:00: 3 Predictions for Next Week
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    I went out on a limb last week, and now it's time to see how that decision played out.

    • I predicted that Apple would close higher on the week. I felt that taking the stage for WWDC 2013 would give the consumer-tech giant the ideal opportunity to win back the market's waning interest in its products. The new cylindrical Mac Pro is cool. The iOS update is a welcome upgrade. There's even hope that iTunes Radio will be a game-changer in streaming. However, the stock actually sold off on the news. I was wrong.
    • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. . This has been a tricky call lately, so how did it play out this time? Well, the market closed lower this week. The Nasdaq moved 1.3% lower on the week, but the Dow managed to close 1.1% lower. I was wrong.
    • My final call was for Ulta Beauty to beat Wall Street's income estimates in its latest quarter. The beauty-salon operator has been posting blowout quarterly results over the past year, and I was banking on seeing the trend continue. Analysts were looking for a profit of $0.62 a share during the quarter, and it came through with net income of $0.65. I was right.

    One out of three? Bummer! I can do better than that.

    Let me once again whip out my trusty, dusty, and occasionally accurate crystal ball to make three calls that may play out over the next few trading days.


    1. Rite Aid will close higher on the week
    Rite Aid is no longer the laughingstock of the drugstore industry. The pharmacy store chain hit a fresh five-year high on Friday, and things may only get brighter as it steps up to report its quarterly results on Thursday.

    Rite Aid has surprised the market with profitable outings in its two most recent periods, and Wall Street sees another healthy profit this time around. Rite Aid has managed to easily surpass market expectations over the past year, so another strong quarter should be more than enough to keep the rally going.

    My first call is for Rite Aid shares to move higher for the week.

    2.The Nasdaq Composite will beat the Dow this week
    Tech has been a big winner in recent years, so betting on tech over stodgy blue chips has been a good bet for me more often than not.

    I'm going to stick with this pick. Most of the names in the composite are just too cheap at this point, and tech should be what carries us through the economic recovery. The market is ripe for the tech-stacked secondary stocks to continue to outpace the 30 megacaps that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

    3.Kroger will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
    Some stocks are just flat-out better than others.

    Kroger is a popular grocery-store chain. Unlike many of its rival supermarket operators that have had to sell off assets or slash their dividends, Kroger has been a steady performer that comes through with annual payout increases.

    Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company posted a profit of $0.88 a share in its latest quarter, I'll whip out a "greater than" sign. History's on my side!

    One of my best tricks to beating the market is finding stocks that perpetually land ahead of the prognosticators. Let's go over the past year of earnings reports.

     Quarter

    EPS Estimate

    EPS

    Surprise

    Q1 2012

    $0.72

    $0.78

    8%

    Q2 2012

    $0.49

    $0.51

    4%

    Q3 2012

    $0.43

    $0.46

    7%

    Q4 2012

    $0.70

    $0.88

    26%

    Source: Thomson Reuters.

    Things can change, of course.

    Grocers operate on razor-thin margins, and wild fluctuations in prices or the inability to pass increases on to end users can sting the bottom line. However, it's hard to argue against the trend. Everything seems to be falling into place for another market-thumping quarter on the bottom line.

    Three for the road
    Well, there are three predictions right there. Let's see how I fare this week.

    With the American markets reaching new highs, investors and pundits alike are skeptical about future growth. They shouldn't be. Many global regions are still stuck in neutral, and their resurgence could result in windfall profits for select companies. A recent Motley Fool report, "3 Strong Buys for a Global Economic Recovery," outlines three companies that could take off when the global economy gains steam. Click here to read the full report!

    The article 3 Predictions for Next Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Ulta Salon, Cosmetics, & Fragrance. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    In this video from The Motley Fool's Weekly Tech Review, host Chris Hill talks with analysts Eric Bleeker and Austin Smith about the changing face of television, and which hits are bringing home the biggest returns. Our analysts discuss the massive successes of Game of Thrones for HBO and The Walking Dead for AMC and note how Netflix has really begun to change the game for where consumers go for original content.

    The television landscape is changing quickly, with new entrants such as Netflix and Amazon.com disrupting traditional networks. The Motley Fool's new free report "Who Will Own the Future of Television?" details the risks and opportunities in TV. Click here to read the full report!


    The relevant video segment can be found between 8:56 and 13:02.

    The article "Mad Men," "Game of Thrones," and the Next Generation of TV Hits originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Austin Smith and Eric Bleeker, CFA have no position in any stocks mentioned. Chris Hill owns shares of Amazon.com. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, AMC Networks, and Netflix and owns shares of Amazon.com and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Every stock is volatile, but some are more so than others. If you've followed the erratic performance of shares in Bank of America over the past few years, then you know that it falls into the latter group. The question is: Why?

    Before getting to that, it's necessary to define a central concept in investing: beta. According to the Foolsaurus, a glossary of investing terms on Fool.com: "Beta is a measure of volatility of a stock's return. It compares how much the stock's returns move relative to the returns of a known market or index, such as the S&P 500 ."

    Here's an example. Say a stock's beta is 2. That means for every 1% move in the S&P 500, it will move by 2%. Alternatively, say a stock's beta is 0.5. That means for every 1% move in the underlying index, the stock at issue will move an average of 0.5%. In the former case, the stock is more volatile than the broader market, while in the latter case it's less so.


    To get back to Bank of America, shares of the nation's second largest bank by assets have one of the highest betas on the S&P 500. According to the free stock screener at Finviz.com, the bank comes in at 2.39, making it the 20th most volatile security on the index. The average, meanwhile, is 1.17 -- theoretically, of course, the average should be 1, but there's noise in Finviz's data because it excludes figures for 15 of the 500 components.

    At first glance, one would be excused for wondering why shares of a company Bank of America's size would more closely resemble a penny stock than the blue-chip goliath that it is. Isn't it true that the larger a company is, the more stable it theoretically is? And wouldn't that stability come through in the stock price?

    The answer to both is: Yes. Or, more accurately: Kind of. A scatter chart comparing the betas of the stocks on the S&P 500 against their corresponding share prices does indeed reveal an inverse relationship -- as stock price goes up, the beta goes down.

    But the relationship is weak, to put it mildly. Its coefficient of determination, which is a statistical tool that estimates the tightness of a correlation, is 0.014. By means of context, a coefficient of 1.0 indicates that the relationship perfectly fits the data, whereas a coefficient of zero indicates no fit whatsoever.

    And on top of that, there's no correlation between an individual company's stock price and its underlying size.

    At the same time, however, one can't help noticing the relationship in the following chart. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Bank of America was forced to raise capital by selling shares. Its outstanding share count more than doubled in size as a result, sending its stock price plummeting. Meanwhile, its beta shot up almost simultaneously.

    BAC Beta Chart

    BAC Beta data by YCharts

    But correlation is not causation. While I believe that Bank of America's reduced stock price contributes to its increased volatility -- as it's cheaper for high-frequency traders to buy and sell large volumes of the deeply liquid security -- the bank has also been plagued by fears of further dilution, if not outright failure, multiple times over the last few years. And it's been this uncertainty that appears to be the primary force behind the volatility.

    So what does this mean? If you own shares of Bank of America, as I do, it means that these days of gut-wrenching fluctuations should become less frequent once it's finished atoning for the sins of the financial crisis -- probably by the end of next year or so. Until then, however, there's every reason to believe that it will continue to test investors' patience and fortitude.

    Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.

    The article Why Is Bank of America So Volatile? originally appeared on Fool.com.

    John Maxfield owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Young Entrepreneurs Demand Active Support from Government and Big Business to Sustain Their Leadership in Technology Innovation, Finds Accenture Report

    MOSCOW--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Young entrepreneurs from the G20 countries see themselves as the most dynamic source of technology innovation and expect their businesses to achieve strong growth and job creation in the next two years, according to a report by Accenture (NYS: ACN) and the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance (G20 YEA). However, these entrepreneurs demand more support from governments and larger businesses to help them sustain their contribution to economic growth.

    The survey of 1000 business owners in the G20 countries aged forty or younger revealed that more than three quarters (76 percent) believe they are the major source of technology innovation in their countries. Forty one percent expect to grow their businesses by more than eight percent annually over the next two years and 81 percent expect to create new jobs in that period. The findings were published in a report, "Entrepreneurial Innovation: How to unleash a key source of growth and jobs in the G20 countries," at the G20 YEA Summit in Moscow, which brings together entrepreneurs and their local representative bodies from around the world.


    Young entrepreneurs see their strong contribution to economic growth increasingly dependent on working with larger businesses. Thirty-five percent of respondents claim to collaborate with large businesses today and a further 46 percent intend to do so in the coming two years. They cite access to new markets, specialist skills and more expensive technologies as benefits of working with bigger organizations. Larger businesses appear less open, however. Fifty two percent of respondents of a survey of larger companies conducted for the report said they have either no collaboration with entrepreneurs at all or just one such initiative with at least a single small company.

    "Success requires autonomy and freedom to innovate, but certainly not isolation, and young entrepreneurs are no longer so suspicious of larger companies or intimidated by them," said Bruno Berthon, global managing director, Accenture Strategy and Sustainability Services. "But the feeling is not entirely mutual and big business should see entrepreneurs as peers, not just as small suppliers or irritating threats. Technology has shifted the balance of power towards small and agile inventors and larger incumbents would do well to bring young entrepreneurs into their ecosystem and benefit from their innovation, creativity and agility. Not only will this improve competitiveness, but help create long-term value for the communities in which we live and work."

    Entrepreneurs also demand more support from government. Two thirds are not satisfied with current government policies. Eighteen percent say that governments take no actions to help entrepreneurs and a further 49 percent say that while they do, their efforts are not relevant or effective. Their primary demands are for changes to tax, the development of technology training and education, and public finance for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

    "The influence of small companies and young enterprises is significantly greater thanks to new technologies," said Victor Sedov, president of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Russia, the host of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance Summit 2013. "Governments should do more to ensure that the innovation, power and ambition of young entrepreneurs can help address the problem of structural youth unemployment, and fuel economic growth. But entrepreneurs need governments to develop infrastructure and facilitate market access, improve technology skills, and open up new sources of finance and incentives that encourage riskier approaches to growth and international expansion."

    Innovation expectations shift to China, India

    Although respondents see the United States as the most innovative country in the next two years, China and India are considered the second and fifth most innovative, respectively. This assertion finds possible support in separate Accenture analysis revealing that, of the world's five million science, technology engineering and math (STEM) graduates, 86 percent came from China, Brazil and India in 2012.

    "Young entrepreneurs are digital entrepreneurs who know that technology goes beyond geographic and sectorial boundaries and helps them rapidly scale their businesses to reach markets that, until recently, only large organizations could touch," said Accenture's Bruno Berthon. "These entrepreneurs are in the best position to accelerate the move to mass customization and to create entirely new categories of products and services through technology. It is vital that policy makers understand that, for young entrepreneurs, all markets are de facto emerging markets and that small digital enterprises have choices as to where they locate and do business. They are also an important part of achieving economic inclusion and resilience at both individual and community levels."

    The report suggests actions by large businesses and entrepreneurs themselves to improve the environment for innovative entrepreneurs. Key recommendations for country governments include:

    • Stimulate demand through the development of digital infrastructures, export support schemes, the digitization and opening up of public procurement to small companies, and the digitalization of public services (including open data policies that encourage companies to create innovative services for the public sector).
    • Support entrepreneurs through efficient tax incentives, access to broader sources of funding, greater investment in STEM education and training, and facilitating the creation of clusters and incubators.
    • Develop business friendly environments for technology innovation through personalized and simplified online administrative processes, a higher tolerance for failure, standards for cloud technology that reduce fixed businesses costs, and an attractive environment for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses.

    About the report

    The report was based on an online survey of 1000 entrepreneurs across all G20 countries. Accenture also conducted workshops with young entrepreneurs in eight locations around the world to support qualitative analysis. Supplementary interviews of subject matter experts were also conducted. The full report can be downloaded at: accenture.com/G20YEA.

    About Accenture

    Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.



    Accenture
    Matthew McGuinness, + 44 77400 38921
    matthew.mcguinness@accenture.com

    KEYWORDS:   United States  Europe  North America  Russia  New York

    INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:

    The article Young Entrepreneurs Demand Active Support from Government and Big Business to Sustain Their Leadership in Technology Innovation, Finds Accenture Report originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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    Dividend stocks are everywhere, but many just downright stink. In some cases, the business model is in serious jeopardy, or the dividend itself isn't sustainable. In others, the dividend is so low, it's not even worth the paper your dividend check is printed on. A solid dividend strikes the right balance of growth, value, and sustainability.

    Today, and one day each week for the rest of the year, we're going to look at one dividend-paying company that you can put in your portfolio for the long term without too much concern. This isn't to say that these stocks don't share the same macro risks that other companies have, but they are a step above your common grade of dividend stock. Check out last week's selection.

    This week, we'll dive back into the high-growth tech sector and have a look at why processing and graphics chip maker NVIDIA makes for a delectable income play for investors.


    Things are getting chippy
    There are two primary downsides to the chip industry: The cyclicality of the tech replacement cycle makes steady growth a serious challenge, and it requires constant innovation just to keep up with the curve. Simply staying the course isn't enough to keep a technology company in the spotlight anymore.

    Advanced Micro Devices , for instance, bet its chips (pun intended) on the next-generation gaming consoles, winning a spot in both the new Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 while NVIDIA's graphic chips were completely left out of the new consoles. Admittedly, NVIDIA wasn't exactly targeting being in these next-gen consoles by the admission of its own management team, but it shows exactly how quickly a tech company can be brushed aside if it doesn't constantly innovate. The same can be said for AMD's PC chip inefficiencies, which have pushed the company to shed 15% of its workforce in an ongoing restructuring.

    Another example is Qualcomm , which is threatening to completely unseat the need for radio-frequency chip provider in 4G LTE-capable devices starting in the second-half of the year. Qualcomm introduced a new all-in-one chip known as the RF360 in February which can handle RF signals on the front-end and could seriously put a dent into RF manufacturers like TriQuint Semiconductor which has manufacturing deals currently in place with Apple and Samsung for use in their smartphones.

    A clear-cut winner
    I've said it previously, and I'll say it again: The allure of NVIDIA has little to do with its still dominant graphics chip line and everything to do with the potential for its LTE-capable Tegra 4i line of smartphone and tablet processing chips.

    Source: LGEPR, Flickr.

    Although many tech reports have claimed that the Tegra 4i is quite the battery hog, it also gives Qualcomm a run for its money with regard to processing graphics -- especially for consumers who use their phone as a gaming or movie-viewing device. That really shouldn't come as a surprise, as NVIDIA has focused its efforts for more than a decade on improving graphics quality in PCs and laptops.

    Despite being a relatively new entrant into the smartphone and tablet market, NVIDIA has been well accepted. Year-over-year growth in 2012 was mostly flat, with the company transitioning from its Tegra 3 to next-generation Tegra 4 chips, but that's still a lot better than I can say for some of its peers. Intel , a company that I think has a strong future tied to smartphone and tablet hardware as well as cloud computing, saw its market share tick up by just 0.2% in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Furthermore, Broadcom , which has significantly more market share than NVIDIA, will slowly cede that share over time in the U.S., since its processing chips are often found in older 3G-capable smartphones. Broadcom may find a lot of success overseas, but I'd say its smartphone market share is only set to tumble in the United States. 

    It also doesn't hurt that NVIDIA is taking a stand at entering the handheld-gaming market with Project Shield, which is soon set to launch. The portable device will combine NVIDIA's processing and graphics technology into one unit, giving the company better control over its inventory and production than ever before.

    Show me the money, NVIDIA
    The real reason NVIDIA excites me and should excite income investors is that it's finally begun paying back its shareholders. The company has been well capitalized for a while, ending its most recent quarter with $3.69 billion in cash, or $6.38 per share. This leaves plenty of cash available for management to reinvest in R&D, to potentially make acquisitions as it sees fit, and certainly to reward shareholders for sticking with the company as it transitions from a pure graphics producer to an integrated processing company.

    Earlier this year, NVIDIA stated its intention of returning money to shareholders via share repurchases. NVIDIA struck a deal with Goldman Sachs last month for the accelerated repurchase of $750 million worth of its own shares and plans to repurchase up to $1 billion worth of its shares this year alone. While not a direct payment into shareholders' pockets, share buybacks do reduce the number of shares outstanding and can make a company appear cheaper on a P/E basis.

    The big moneymaker here is the dividend that NVIDIA initiated in November. It might seem a bit tame at $0.075 per quarter, or $0.30 annually, but at a current yield of 2.1% you're doing pretty well compared with the majority of tech-sector payouts. NVIDIA's payout ratio is also just 37% of next year's projected EPS. Considering that NVIDIA has topped Wall Street's EPS estimates by double digits in each of the past four quarters, I can only presume this EPS figure will head higher and its payout ratio lower, giving it ample justification to boost its dividend.

    Foolish roundup
    It might be difficult for some longtime followers of NVIDIA to look past the fact that this is no longer just a graphics company, but the next few years should be telltale for NVIDIA as to whether its Tegra 4i chips take hold. If sales of its Tegra 3 are any indication of how it will do, given that it entered the smartphone market completely green around the collar, then the Tegra 4i will probably be off to the races. With a balance sheet swimming in cash, a history of topping Wall Street's EPS expectations, and a flurry of new value-building initiatives for shareholders, NVIDIA has all the makings of a set-it-and-forget-it income play.

    Is Tegra the answer for NVIDIA?
    NVIDIA was ahead of the curve launching its mobile Tegra processor, but investing gains haven't followed as expected, with the company struggling to gain momentum in the smartphone market. The Motley Fool's brand-new premium report examines NVIDIA's stumbling blocks but also homes in on opportunities that many investors are overlooking. We'll help you sort fact from fiction to determine whether NVIDIA is a buy at today's prices. Simply click here now to unlock your copy of this comprehensive report.

    The article 1 Great Dividend You Can Buy Right Now originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and TriQuint Semiconductor. It also recommends Apple, Goldman Sachs, Intel, and NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Graduating from school is an exciting time, but lately, many graduates have struggled with their finances. To make ends meet as you enter a new phase of your life, you'll need to be smart with your money.

    In the following video, Fool contributor Dan Caplinger gives several suggestions on what grads should do to improve their finances. From getting debt paid down to saving for long-term financial goals like a home or retirement, Dan notes the key advantage that most grads have on their side is time, and making the most of it can make a huge difference in your overall results.

    Making the right financial decisions early in your life makes a world of difference in your golden years, but with most people chronically undersaving for retirement, it's clear not enough is being done. Don't make the same mistakes as the masses. Learn about The Shocking Can't-Miss Truth About Your Retirement. It won't cost you a thing, but don't wait, because your free report won't be available forever.


    The article 3 Smart Money Moves for Recent Grads originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    On this day in economic and business history ...

    June 16 is a particularly eventful day for American business. Several of the world's most iconic companies were founded on June 16ths throughout history. Let's take a quick look at the origins of these businesses -- and at some other important events in the history of American capitalism that also happened to take place today.

    Birth of the blue oval
    Ford Motor was officially created on June 16, 1903. This was almost exactly seven years after Henry Ford first successfully test-drove an automobile he'd built himself. It was not Ford's first effort at building a car company -- two earlier efforts had foundered -- but it would be his last, as the world well knows. Ford Motor was an immediate success and began paying dividends to its private shareholders later that year.


    Here's an example of how transformative Ford's influence was on the auto industry: Only 11,235 motor vehicles were built in 1903, and about 15% of them were Ford autos. In 1909, the year after Ford built its first Model T, total production had risen to 124,000 passenger cars. When the 10 millionth Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1924, it was one of 3.2 million passenger cars built that year, and more than half of them were Fords.

    Tabulating a dynasty
    IBM was created on June 16, 1911, as the result of a merger between three technically inclined manufacturing businesses. It was known as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company until 1924 -- the same year that Ford built its 10 millionth Model T. CTR, as it was sometimes known, traced its origins to an inventor named Herman Hollerith, who devised a punched-card tabulator that offered tremendous time savings for enterprises (like the U.S. Census) engaged in the tedium of tallying up vast quantities of data. However, it wasn't Hollerith who built IBM into the business-services behemoth you know today. Much of IBM's character was formed during the tenure of the two Thomas Watsons, a legendary father-and-son executive pair that guided the company for more than half a century. You can read more about IBM's origins and its Watson-driven rise to prominence when you click on this link.

    Another business-oriented computing leader begins
    Oracle also began its life on the same date as its longtime peer IBM, as it was founded on June 16, 1977, as Software Development Laboratories. In fact, IBM has a great deal to do with Larry Ellison's decision to create the company that would grow into one of IBM's greatest challengers in software-focused business services. A research paper published in IBM's Journal of Research and Development during the mid-1970s clued Ellison into the principles of relational database management, which remains the core of Oracle's business today. IBM didn't see the value in commercializing the concept, and their loss became Ellison and Oracle's enduring gain -- Oracle has since grown to become the second-largest software company in the world, worth two-thirds of what IBM is today.

    Maybe you should have stuck to the city
    The City Bank of New York -- forerunner to Citigroup -- was formed in New York City on June 16, 1812, just as the United States was about to enter its second war with England. According to Citi itself, the bank began with $2 million in capital and 22 employees. Revolutionary War Col. Samuel Osgood is credited with founding the bank, and he brought the lessons he'd learned as director of the Bank of North America to bear on expanding banking in then-finance-unfriendly New York City. Strange as it may seem, there was a time when New York City didn't like the financial industry, and it took the bank more than a year to get chartered. Despite this opposition, Osgood persevered, and the City Bank took up residence on Wall Street alongside the Bank of New York and the Bank of the United States.

    Citi has expanded enormously in the ensuing 200 years, although the recent financial crisis showed that this growth was sometimes more trouble than it was worth. Today, Citi counts more than 200 million customers in more than 160 countries and territories. It's one of the largest banks in the world by both assets and market cap, with $1.9 trillion in assets and a market cap of more than $140 billion.

    The wall that was broken
    The last major global financial crisis brought about legislation many have credited (rightly or not) with preventing the sort of meltdown that occurred in 2008. That legislation, the Banking Act of 1933, is popularly known as Glass-Steagall, and it became law with the stroke of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's pen on June 16, 1933.

    Glass-Steagall created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to backstop floundering retail banks up to a certain amount per customer account. However, it was Glass-Steagall's restrictions on the activities of these banks that we usually refer to when we invoke this law. The bill prohibited chartered banks from engaging in stock ownership, restricting them to government bonds or indirect holdings on behalf of a customer. Further rules set up a supposedly iron wall between commercial and investment banks that would last until 1999. Citigroup was the driving force behind the destruction of Glass-Steagall, as it sought to merge with insurer Travelers and could not legally do so while the iron wall stood in place.

    It wasn't until passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that the wall between commercial and investment banking was completely torn down. However, Glass-Steagall had been supported by several other key pieces of banking legislation throughout the Depression and postwar eras. By 1999, these supports were virtually destroyed, so it's difficult to claim that Glass-Steagall alone saved us, or that its absence alone doomed the financial system.

    What macro trend was Warren Buffett referring to when he said "this is the tapeworm that's eating at American competitiveness"? Find out in our free report: "What's Really Eating at America's Competitiveness." You'll also discover an idea to profit as companies work to eradicate this efficiency-sucking tapeworm. Just click here for free, immediate access.

    The article A Day Full of Legendary Origins originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and owns shares of Citigroup, Ford, IBM, and Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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  • 06/16/13--10:00: Did Disney Just Kill 3-D TV?
  • Filed under:

    With Walt Disney's ESPN unit announcing that it will shut down its 3-D production unit at the end of the year because of the cost and a lack of interest from customers, does this mean the 3-D TV business has failed?

    Well, the answer is complicated.

    Movie theaters that offer the 3-D experience have seen revenues decline since Avatar came out in 2010. While that movie brought the technology to the forefront and got a lot of people talking, a number of big-screen directors have since opted to not shoot their films in 3-D. As my colleague Travis Hoium pointed out earlier in the week, three out of the top four films last year weren't shot in 3-D. When customers aren't being fed the experience at the box office, they don't know how good it is and therefore don't know they should have it at home.


    Furthermore, most Americans have probably upgraded their TVs in the past few years, with flat-screen TVs taking off around 2005 and 2006 and HDTVs following shortly after. So getting a few additional channels or movies in 3-D probably doesn't justify the expense of upgrading again. The recession certainly didn't help, either.

    While I don't think 3-D is dead, I don't believe the technology is going to take the living room by storm anytime soon, and Disney apparently agrees. With live sports as a potential selling point for a lot of people who might have been thinking about going 3-D, Disney's decision to cut the cord will probably slow the growth of 3-D TVs even more.

    As for Disney, this is probably a good move. Disney's stock has performed wonderfully year to date, up more than 28%, so some investors may be wondering why ESPN is cutting the 3-D unit, or why it recently announced that it's laying off employees in an effort to cut costs. After all, the stock has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 13.34% this year.

    But Disney's management knows that for the company to continue to perform at a high level, it must always be looking for ways grow revenue, save money, and add value. In other words, Disney's recent cuts may just be an example of why the stock has performed so well -- even if it means 3-D sports won't be coming to your living room anytime soon.

    It's easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of Mouse. True, Disney amusement parks around the world hosted more than 121 million guests in 2011. But from its vast catalog of characters to its monster collection of media networks, much of Disney's allure for investors lies in its diversity, and The Motley Fool's premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going forward. So don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.

    The article Did Disney Just Kill 3-D TV? originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney.  Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    In the following segment from The Motley Fool's Weekly Tech Review, host Chris Hill talks with analysts Eric Bleeker and Austin Smith about the future of iconic gaming-console maker Nintendo. Eric discusses at length the numerous mistakes the company is making and why it may be throwing away its own chances of survival. Could these major missteps derail Nintendo for good?

    The best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.


    The relevant video segment can be found between 13:03 and 14:35.

    The article Nintendo Is Making All the Wrong Moves and Throwing Away Its Future originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Austin Smith, Chris Hill, and Eric Bleeker, CFA, have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nintendo and owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Harris Corporation Receives $55 Million in Orders from International Customer for Falcon Tactical Radios

    Highlights:

    • Providing Falcon® tactical radios to international customer to address range of communication requirements.
    • Radios deliver both high-frequency and very-high-frequency capabilities and are part of larger battlefield communication system.
    • Further establishes Falcon family as international standard for interoperable tactical communications.

    MELBOURNE, Fla. & ROCHESTER, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Harris Corporation (NYS: HRS) , an international communications and information technology company, has received $55 million in orders from an international customer to deliver both line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight tactical communications capabilities from the Falcon line of tactical radios. The order represents the next phase of the country's tactical radio modernization program.


    The customer is acquiring Falcon RF-5800H high frequency and RF-5800V very high frequency radios and accessories. These radios will be deployed as part of a larger battlefield communications system.

    The RF-5800H is an advanced high frequency manpack radio that delivers reliable beyond-line-of-site terrestrial voice and data communications, reduced size and weight and extended battery life. The RF-5800V provides full software-defined combat net radio capabilities, including frequency hopping and secure digital voice.

    "For defense and homeland security missions, the Harris Falcon radio family sets the standard for reliable and highly-secure tactical communications," said Brendan O'Connell, president, International Business, Harris RF Communications.

    Harris RF Communications is the leading global supplier of secure radio communications and embedded high-grade encryption solutions for military, government and commercial organizations. The company's Falcon® family of software-defined tactical radio systems encompasses manpack, handheld and vehicular applications and supports network-centric operations worldwide. Harris RF Communications is also a leading supplier of assured communications® systems and equipment for public safety, utility and transportation markets — with products ranging from the most advanced IP voice and data networks to portable and mobile single and multiband radios.

    About Harris Corporation

    Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 125 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5.5 billion of annual revenue and about 15,000 employees—including 6,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications® products, systems and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at harris.com.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management's current expectations, assumptions and estimates of future performance and economic conditions. Such statements are made in reliance upon the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results and future trends to differ materially from those matters expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Statements about the expected value of the program to Harris are forward-looking and involve risks and uncertainties. Harris disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.



    RF Communications
    Ben Rand, 585-241-8187
    Ben.Rand@Harris.com
    or
    Jim Burke, 321-727-9131
    Corporate Headquarters
    Jim.Burke@harris.com

    KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Florida  New York

    INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:

    The article Harris Corporation Receives $55 Million in Orders from International Customer for Falcon Tactical Radios originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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    Ex-employees say Bank of America lied, rewarded foreclosure with gift cardsBy Michelle Conlin and Peter Rudegeair

    June 14 - Six former Bank of America Corp (BAC) employees have alleged that the bank deliberately denied eligible home owners loan modifications and lied to them about the status of their mortgage payments and documents.

    The bank allegedly used these tactics to shepherd homeowners into foreclosure, as well as in-house loan modifications. Both yielded the bank more profits than the government-sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program, according to documents recently filed as part of a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court.

    The former employees, who worked at Bank of America centers throughout the United States, said the bank rewarded customer service representatives who foreclosed on homes with cash bonuses and gift cards to retail stores such as Target Corp (TGT) and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY).

    For example, an employee who placed 10 or more accounts into foreclosure a month could get a $500 bonus. At the same time, the bank punished those who did not make the numbers or objected to its tactics with discipline, including firing.

    About twice a month, the bank cleaned out its HAMP backlog in an operation called "blitz," where it declined thousands of loan modification requests just because the documents were more than 60 months old, the court documents say.

    The testimony from the former employees also alleges the bank falsified information it gave the government, saying it had given out HAMP loan modifications when it had not.

    Rick Simon, a Bank of America Home Loans spokesman, said the bank had successfully completed more modifications than any other servicer under HAMP.

    "We continue to demonstrate our commitment to assisting customers who are at risk of foreclosure and, at best, these attorneys are painting a false picture of the bank's practices and the dedication of our employees," Simon said in a email, adding the declarations were "rife with factual inaccuracies."

    Borrowers filed the civil case against Bank of America in 2010 and are now seeking class certification. The affidavits, dated June 7, are the latest accusations over the mishandling of mortgage modifications by some top U.S. banks.

    Mortgage problems have dogged Bank of America since its disastrous purchase of Countrywide Financial in 2008. The bank paid $42 billion to settle credit crisis and mortgage-related litigation between 2010 and 2012, according to SNL Financial.

    Bank of America and four other banks reached a $25 billion landmark settlement with regulators in 2012, following a scandal in late 2010 when it was revealed employees "robo signed" documents without verifying them as is required by law.

    But problems have persisted. Since 2012, more than 18,000 homeowners have filed complaints aboutBank of America with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new agency created to help protect consumers. Recently, the attorney generals of New York and Florida accused Bank of America ofviolating the terms of last year's settlement.

    The government created HAMP in 2009 in response to the foreclosure epidemic and to encourage banks to give homeowners loan modifications, allowing some borrowers to stay in their homes.

    The Blitz

    The court documents paint a picture of customer service operations where managers roamed the floor with headsets, able to listen into any call without warning. Service representatives were told to lie to homeowners, telling them their paperwork and payments had not been received, when in reality they had.

    "This is exactly what's been happening to homeowners for years," said Danielle Kelley, a foreclosure defense lawyer in Florida. "No matter how many times they send in their paperwork, or how often they make their payments, they simply can't get loan modifications. They wind up in foreclosure instead."

    The former employees said they were told to falsify electronic records and string homeowners along in foreclosure as long as possible. The problem was exacerbated because the bank did not have enough employees handling modifications, adding to the backlog of cases purged during the "blitz" operations.

    Once a HAMP application was delayed or rejected, Bank of America would offer an in-house alternative, charging as high as 5 percent when the loan could have been modified for 2 percent under HAMP, according to an affidavit by William Wilson, who worked at the bank's Charlotte, North Carolina office.

    Wilson, who was a case management team manager, said he told his supervisors the practices were "ridiculous" and "immoral." He said he was fired in August 2012.

    Bank of America said it was not at liberty to discuss personnel matters.

     

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    Harris Corporation Receives $92 Million Contract from Middle East Nation for Integrated Command, Control and Communications System

    Highlights:

    • Delivering advanced communication system based on Harris Falcon family of tactical radios
    • System provides military and security personnel with Internet Protocol-based voice, data and video services, including 4G tactical cellular capabilities
    • Broadens Harris leadership in transforming tactical communications in the Middle East and across the globe

    MELBOURNE, Fla. & ROCHESTER, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Harris Corporation (NYS: HRS) , an international communications and information technology company, has received a $92 million contract from a Middle Eastern nation for an integrated command, control and communications system. The system will provide this customer with advanced capabilities for use in defense and security missions.


    The system leverages the latest in Harris' wideband tactical radios and integrated systems capabilities to provide fully networked Internet Protocol-based voice, data and video services across the mission area.

    A unique, state-of-the-art capability being delivered under this contract is the integration of Harris Fusion 4G LTE (long-term evolution) base stations and ruggedized subscriber terminals to provide secure, private tactical cellular services. The Fusion tactical cellular system enables users to make mobile voice calls and access secure data services such as email, mapping and text messaging.

    Harris is delivering coverage both locally through the LTE system and tactical radio network and nationally through connections provided by high-speed Harris RF-7800W high-capacity line-of-sight and RF-7800H wideband high-frequency tactical radios. The Fusion LTE system is both rugged and deployable for tactical use and seamlessly integrates with the Harris Falcon III radio family.

    "Harris is delivering wideband tactical radio systems and, now, 4G LTE tactical cellular capability that address rapidly emerging requirements for fully networked command and control missions," said Dana Mehnert, Group President, Harris RF Communications. "Our wideband products and integrated system solutions are leading the transformation of tactical communications for our customers in the Middle East and throughout the world."

    Harris RF Communications is the leading global supplier of secure radio communications and embedded high-grade encryption solutions for military, government and commercial organizations. The company's Falcon® family of software-defined tactical radio systems encompasses manpack, handheld and vehicular applications. Falcon III is the next generation of radios supporting the U.S. military's Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) requirements, as well as network-centric operations worldwide. Harris RF Communications is also a leading supplier of assured communications® systems and equipment for public safety, utility and transportation markets — with products ranging from the most advanced IP voice and data networks to portable and mobile single- and multiband radios.

    About Harris Corporation

    Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 125 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5.5 billion of annual revenue and about 15,000 employees—including 6,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications® products, systems and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at harris.com.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management's current expectations, assumptions and estimates of future performance and economic conditions. Such statements are made in reliance upon the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results and future trends to differ materially from those matters expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Statements about the expected value of the program to Harris are forward-looking and involve risks and uncertainties. Harris disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.



    RF Communications
    Ben Rand, 585-241-8187
    Ben.Rand@Harris.com
    or
    Jim Burke, 321-727-9131
    Corporate Headquarters
    Jim.Burke@harris.com

    KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Florida  New York  Middle East

    INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:

    The article Harris Corporation Receives $92 Million Contract from Middle East Nation for Integrated Command, Control and Communications System originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    I love Father's Day. No, it's not because I think it's such a special day that everyone awaits with anticipation. Let's be real here: It's always going to be the runner-up to Mother's Day -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Father's Day-sized returns
    No, there are two main reasons I love Father's Day: I'm a proud father myself, and Father's Day just makes me think of my dad and all the things he's done for me. Simple as that.

    I owe my love of investing to my father. And with that in mind, I give you the Father's Day Portfolio. These are 10 stocks that remind me of my dad, and together they will form a formidable, market-beating team that will offer investors outstanding returns for years to come.

    • Dick's Sporting Goods  is a family affair. CEO Edward Stack is the son of founder Richard Stack, and he owns close to 18% of the shares outstanding. I like what this company has done and where it's headed. It controls 8.5% of the tremendous sporting-goods market.
    • Boston Beer  seems an appropriate call here. Having a beer with your dad is one of the great moments in life, and given that this company sold more than 50 beer varieties under the Samuel Adams brand in 2012, chances are pretty darn good that there may be a Sam Adams in Dad's fridge.
    • My dad drives a Ford  Expedition, and he's owned a few other Fords in his life. Every time I see the blue oval I think of him, and I think this company will play a big part in the fast-changing automobile market. 
    • I smile so wide it looks like I have a coat hanger in my mouth when I see my dad using his iPhone and iPad, courtesy of Apple. The guy turned 71 this Father's Day (happy birthday, Dad!) and he's embraced technology like a 15-year-old.
    • We all know that if you have a question these days you can just ask Google. These guys do a lot of things well, but search and maps are their specialty.
    • It's not just iDevices for my dad, either. He loves his new Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon.com, not to mention the fact that he can order just about anything from the e-commerce giant.
    • My dad's a doctor, and St. Jude Medical  is a device company that has a wonderfully diverse product mix. From heart devices to strokes, Parkinson's, and migraines,  this company is playing a big role in up-and-coming medical technology.
    • Shout-out No. 1 to our Georgia roots: Home Depot is the mac-daddy of home-improvement retail, and whether you rent or own, you're going to need to go there at some point. The recent dividend boost and share-repurchase authorization are signs of things to come for shareholders at this Georgia-based company.
    • E-commerce is in its early stages, and my second shout-out to Georgia is United Parcel Service, which is one of the two big shippers that should benefit. I love this company's moat, and the capital-intensive nature of its market offers up some serious barriers to entry for competitors.
    • As a doc, my dad knows the trouble medical waste presents, and Stericycle is the company that's taking care of business where this is concerned. Its competitive advantage only strengthens with time, and with a market cap under $10 billion, there's plenty of room to run.

    For fathers and their children
    I'll be tracking the results of this portfolio versus the S&P 500 indefinitely, beginning with the closing prices from Monday, June 17, 2013, and I'm confident that this one will be a long-term market-beater. This portfolio is just a simple way say thanks to my dad for the gift of investing. I count myself as very fortunate that we get to talk about investing (and golf ... lots of golf) all the time. Maybe this is one more thing we'll get to talk about for a long time to come.


    Click here to follow Jason on Twitter.

    The article Beat the Market With the Father's Day Portfolio originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Jason Moser owns shares of Amazon.com and Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Boston Beer, Ford, Google, Home Depot, Stericycle, and UPS and owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Boston Beer, Ford, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Investors globally -- whether in stock or bond markets -- are hotly anticipating next week's two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve's rate-setting group. The stakes are high, as the outcome could set the tone for the market at least until the end-of-July date at which the FOMC reconvenes.

    Since May 22, the market has been flustered at the notion that the Fed could begin to curtail its open-ended $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program later this year, perhaps as early as this month. On that day, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress the central bank could decide to reduce the program at "one of its next few meetings." The same day, the minutes of the FOMC's May-June meeting were released and contained the following snippet:

    A number of participants expressed willingness to adjust the flow of purchases downward as early as the June meeting if the economic information received by that time showed evidence of sufficiently strong and sustained growth.

    The effect on the stock market has been unmistakable:


    ^GSPC Chart

    ^GSPC data by YCharts

    The S&P 500 peaked on May 21 (the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked later, on May 28.) Volatility, as measured by the VIX , has risen significantly.

    Unmistakable, certainly. Overdone? Very likely.

    For one thing, it's not clear who the "number of participants" in the quote above refer to; it could well be non-voting participants. Second, these statements are contingent on numerous factors, as the second part of the quote makes clear:

    [H]owever, views differed about what evidence would be necessary and the likelihood of that outcome. One participant preferred to begin decreasing the rate of purchases immediately, while another participant preferred to add more monetary accommodation at the current meeting.

    Finally, some key data available since May 22 do not support a tightening in monetary policy right now; in particular, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures index (which excludes food and energy), the Fed's preferred gauge of inflation, registered in April its lowest annual increase since its inception in 1959, at 1.05%!

    This week's FOMC meeting, which begins on Tuesday, will include a summary of the Fed's economic projections and, crucially, a press conference by Bernanke. As I see it, it's the perfect opportunity for Mr. Chairman to reassure investors that they are jumping the gun and that a slowing in the pace of the Fed's bond-buying is not imminent. At that point, the market could focus on stock fundamentals a little bit -- at least until Fed-watching takes center stage again.

    If you're ready to invest through interest rate cycles based on long-term fundamentals, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock it is in the brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

    The article Stocks: The Only Event That Matters Next Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Alex Dumortier, CFA, has no position in any stocks mentioned; you can follow him on LinkedIn. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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    Since the start of the year, shares of AMD have been soaring. And although its shares are still down meaningfully over longer horizons, it finally seems that investors have given the struggling tech giant a new lease on life, until recently. Last month, AMD's shares took an abrupt turn downward, presenting investors with a puzzling situation. Going forward, the real question becomes whether this was only a momentary pause in its march upward or a sign that this turnaround has run its course. In the following video, we dig deeper into the matter in the most recent edition of our "Ask a Fool" series.

    Looking beyond AMD, the amount of data we store every year is growing by a mind-boggling 60% annually! To make sense of this trend and pick out a winner, The Motley Fool has compiled a new report called "The Only Stock You Need to Profit From the NEW Technology Revolution." The report highlights a company that has gained 300% since first recommended by Fool analysts but still has plenty of room left to run. To get instant access to the name of this company transforming the IT industry, click here -- it's free.

    The article Ask a Fool: Is This Red-Hot Tech Stock a Buy on the Pullback? originally appeared on Fool.com.

    Fool contributor Andrew Tonner has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow Andrew and all his writing on Twitter: @AndrewTonner. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

    Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

     

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