Money Matters - Simplified

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A Big Upgrade for Silicon Labs

Every day, the sun rises on Wall Street, and a plethora of professional analysts wake to issue new opinions on stocks. Here at the Fool, we use our "This Just In" column to examine some of these picks -- and the track record of the firms behind them -- so individuals can make better investing decisions.

9 Recession-Proof Stocks

By Joe Magyer:

The stock market? Hurting. Home values? Plunging. Consumer confidence? At a 16-year low. Oil prices? You don't even want to know.

Clearly, the world is going to hell in a hand basket, right?

5 Dynamic Dividend Stocks

The New York Yankees of the '50s and the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys of the '90s had one crucial element in common: consistent excellence in their organizations and performance. That's a rare accomplishment, but if you think it could never occur in your portfolio, think again. Carefully chosen dividend-paying stocks could be your key to superstar returns.

10 Stocks Under Attack

Because everyone loves a winner, it's reasonable to assume that everyone hates a loser -- everyone but short-sellers, at least. These contrarian investors bet that hot stocks are primed to fall and aim to turn their pessimism into potential profits.

What's a Dividend?

A dividend is�a portion of a company's earnings that the firm pays directly to its shareholders. If The Tattoo Advertising Co. (Ticker: YOWCH) is earning roughly $4 in profit per share each year, it might decide to issue $1�per share annually to shareholders, then use the rest of the money to help build the business. If so, it will probably pay out $0.25 per share every three months.

Mayo, Love part of big NBA trade

New York -- O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love, two of the top picks in this year's NBA draft, are part of an eight-player trade between Minnesota and Memphis.

Mayo, a 6-foot-5 inch guard for Southern California and the third overall selection by the Timberwolves, was dealt to the Grizzlies with guards Marko Jaric and Greg Buckner and forward Antoine Walker.

Love, a 6-foot-10 inch power forward from UCLA and the draft's fifth overall pick by the Grizzlies, went to Minnesota along with shooting guard Mike Miller and forwards Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

Both Love and Mayo were freshmen last college basketball season.

"I just wanted to hear my name called and be part of the NBA," Mayo said shortly after he was picked Thursday by the Timberwolves. "It didn't matter if it was a big-market organization, small-market, medium-market."

NBC settles 'Predator' case

New York -- NBC has confirmed it settled a lawsuit brought by the family of a Texas man who shot himself in the head when confronted by "To Catch a Predator" cameras.

The family of Louis W. Conradt Jr. sued NBC for $105 million, but the TV network declined to say how much it paid Conradt's survivors in a settlement made before the trial started, The New York Times said.

The hidden-camera "Predator" program is part of the "Dateline NBC" newsmagazine series.

"The matter has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties," NBC's Jenny Tartikoff said in a statement.

Conradt, an assistant district attorney in Rockwall County, Texas, committed suicide after a "Predator" camera crew and police showed up at his house.

He reportedly became involved in the sting after allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a person he believed was underage, but who actually was a volunteer for Perverted Justice, an activist group that helps catch child sexual predators.

Delta to begin fuel surcharge

Atlanta -- Delta Air Lines announced Friday it planned to begin imposing a surcharge of up to $50 for booking U.S. frequent-flier tickets under its awards program.

Delta, the latest U.S. airline to charge a fuel surcharge for previously free tickets, attributes the step to the soaring cost of jet fuel, The New York Times reported.

The new fee takes effect on tickets booked on or after Aug. 15.

Delta said it will charge a $25 fuel surcharge on tickets booked within the United States and $50 on tickets booked for travel elsewhere, including the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Latin America and other international destinations.

Jeff Robertson, managing director of Delta's SkyMiles program, said the increase in fuel costs was "causing considerable financial stress to Delta's business."

Delphi Corp. to shed exhaust business

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- International auto parts maker Delphi Corp., based in Michigan, is putting its exhaust business up for sale, the company said Friday.

Delphi's exhaust business includes plants in Poland, Australia, India and South Africa and joint ventures in China and Mexico. It includes two technical centers in Michigan and one in Luxembourg, the company said in a statement.

The company also said "by mutual agreement" it would terminate its non-equity alliance with the Bosal Group of Belgium with which it provides customized exhaust systems.

Delphi, which has been under bankruptcy protection since October 2005, wouldn't divulge the revenues of its exhaust business, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Copyright 2008 by United Pr

Creature creator Kermit Love dead at 91

Los Angeles -- Kermit Love, a former costume designer who helped create some of the most memorable non-human characters on TV's "Sesame Street," has died in New York.

Arthur Novell, executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy, a group dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Jim Henson's contributions, told The Los Angeles Times Love died last weekend of pneumonia in Poughkeepsie at the age of 91.

Love, a native of New Jersey, helped Henson create the "Sesame Street" characters of Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus and Oscar the Grouch. However, he was not -- as many have mistakenly assumed -- the namesake of Kermit the Frog, whom Henson created before teaming up with Love.

Love, who also appeared on "Sesame Street" as Willy the hot dog man, also created Snuggle Bear, the cuddly character from the Snuggle Fabric Softener commercials, as well as the creatures from the series "The Great Space Coaster," The Times said.