Money Matters - Simplified


Is Applied Materials Working Hard Enough for You?

Margins matter. The more Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market.  That's why I check on my holdings' margins at least once a quarter. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, comparisons to sector peers and competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Applied Materials's competitive position could be.

Why Chimpanzees Invest Better Than You

If you've ever seen the howling mob of chaos that regularly erupts on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, you can probably understand the tendency to compare investors to a gaggle of apes. But a recent Duke University study has proved that investors and their primate pals a few rungs down the evolutionary ladder may not be quite as similar as you'd think.

Focus Media Holding Passes This Key Test

 There's no foolproof way to know the future for Focus Media Holding (Nasdaq: FMCN) or any other company. However, certain clues may help you see potential stumbles before they happen -- and before your stock craters as a result. Rest assured: Even if you're not monitoring these metrics, short-sellers are.


COL BKB: BYU 77, Creighton 65

Omaha -- Brandon Davies scored 24 points Wednesday and No. 25 BYU pulled away in the final 15 minutes to defeat Creighton 77-65.

The Cougars improved to 7-0 after holding only a two-point lead in the early stages of the second half.

Davies made 9-of-11 from the field and was backed up by 13 points each from Jimmer Fredette and Emery Jackson. Kyle Collinsworth had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Creighton (4-3) was led by 20 points and 12 rebounds from Doug McDermott.

BYU's previous two wins had been in double overtime over South Florida and by one point over St. Mary's.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

CPI International Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

 Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Oksana tells Larry Mel hit, choked her

Los Angeles -- Oksana Grigorieva says Hollywood actor-director Mel Gibson hit and choked her while she was holding their baby daughter in her arms.

Grigorieva made the allegations on CNN's "Larry King Live" program Wednesday night.

Much of what she said had already been reported in the media based on audio of their heated argument leaked on the Internet, legal documents filed in the former couple's custody battle over their daughter, Lucia, and paperwork filed in a police investigation into Grigorieva's domestic violence claims.

Councilman calls cops on bake sale

New Castle, N.Y. -- The parents of two New York state 13-year-olds holding a bake sale in a park said a town councilman called the police on their sons.

The parents said teenagers Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff were selling cupcakes in Gedney Park when New Castle Councilman Michael Wolfensohn called the police and reported them for operating without a license, The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y., reported Monday.

"These are good kids who haven't once gone to the principal's office," said Laura Graff, Kevin's mother. "This was a very scary experience for them."

Wolfensohn said the called the police after determining the boys were not selling their baked goods for charity.

How Long Until Macau Bounces Back?

It's been more than four years since Macau surpassed the Las Vegas strip as the largest gambling center in the world. And U.S. companies didn't take very long to see the opportunities abroad, as all the majors -- Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), MGM (NYSE: MGM), and Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq:WYNN) -- have set up shop in the new gambling mecca.

Lindsay Lohan defends her gun-in-mouth pic as 'Art'

Lindsay Lohan, who lately made news for all the wrong reasons, once again hits the headlines. This time the problem-saddled starlet triggered a controversy after posting a photo of herself, holding a gun to her mouth, on Twitter.