"Finland: A Plan For 'Love Vacations' A proposed bill before Parliament would grant Finnish workers, already entitled to 25 paid days of vacation a year and as many as 10 paid public holidays, one more week of 'love vacation' to reduce, its sponsor said, a high divorce rate and revive passion in a population whose workdays are growing longer. The measure would allow Finns to connect 'on an erotic as well as an emotional level,' Tommy Tabermann, a poet, actor and member of the Social Democrats, said in a speech introducing the measure last month. To get to a vote, his proposal needs the backing of 100 members, or half, of Parliament. It now has 13 signatures. Some lawmakers suggested that the idea might get more support if the leave were unpaid. 'People can take love vacations but shouldn't be paid for them,' said Bjarne Kallis, the head of the Christian Democrat delegation. 'You have a lot of free time already today.'
What can I add?
Here in Massachusetts, interestingly, we're celebrating our own special holiday today. It's Patriots' Day, commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.
The holiday is also observed in Maine (once part of Massachusetts) and it's a school holiday in Wisconsin (go figure).
Every year, the famous battles are re-enacted, at about 6 a.m. in Lexington and 9 a.m. in Concord, though last year a blizzard forced the first-ever cancellation of the 6 a.m. battle. In any event, the hometown guys always win.
A bigger event is the Boston Marathon, which was run for the 112th time today. It's the most famous marathon in the world, capping participation somewhere around 20,000, and this year, with its purse boosted 38%, it's the richest as well. Men's winner Robert Cheruiyot and women's winner Dire Tune each take home $150,000.
And there's one more Patriots' Day tradition ... the Red Sox game, which is typically begun early (11 a.m.) so that fans leaving the game can cheer on the marathon runners. The Red Sox pitching is looking a little ragged this year, but they got the job done today, as the Olde Town Team finished off a sweep of Texas with an 8-3 victory.
Add it all up, and it's a heck of a holiday, though maybe not as fun as a "Love Vacation" in Finland.
Looking ahead, tomorrow is Earth Day. It's not an official holiday, but it is widely observed. According to the nonprofit Earth Day Network, chief promoter of the day, it's observed by more than half a billion people in 175 countries, making it "the largest secular holiday in the world."
The first Earth Day was observed in 1970, primarily on college campuses, but today those students have grown up and folks of all generations acknowledge the value of respecting our planet.
And why is it observed on April 22?
April 22 was the birthday of actor Eddie Albert, a major proponent of environmental causes. It was also the birthday of Julius Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day, the national tree-planting holiday that began in 1872. And April 21 was the birthday of John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club.
Coincidentally, April 22 1970 was also the 100th birthday of Vladimir Lenin, a fact that provided fodder for critics who denounced the movement as a Communist trick. Lenin, by the, never distinguished himself as an environmentalist!
--- Advertisement ---
Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Its purpose is to send the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round want quick and decisive action on clean energy.
Bio-fuel, recycling, and solar power are just a few of the earth-friendly technologies widely used today. How does this help you as an investor?
These clean energy technologies are attracting a flood of money... and early investors are getting rich!
Long-term, we're extremely optimistic about this broad earth-friendly sector. A decade ago we saw a great bull market in Internet stocks as money flooded in. More recently, we've seen Chinese stocks go through the roof, again the result of a lot of money chasing a small number of stocks. And we're beginning to see exactly the same phenomenon in "green" investments.
Visit the link below to read more about enriching both the earth and your own portfolio.
On the investment side, last Friday's big broad advance on good volume was one more nail in the coffin of the bears. The lows of January and March are being left behind, leading stocks have broken out to new highs, and the recently begun upward trends are looking more and more sustainable. Smart institutional investors are getting this bull market going!
Yet what stories continue to dominate the news? Aside from the usual political shenanigans, it's the rise in energy and food prices, making regular living more expensive; it's shrinking paychecks for workers, more write-downs for investment banks (divestment banks?), the falling dollar, continued cutbacks in lending, the war in Iraq, etc.
Two weeks ago, when General Electric (GE) plunged nearly 13% (its biggest one-day drop ever), the media acted as though the sky was falling, as though the very fabric of our American way of life was under attack. Yet last Friday, after Google solidly beat analysts' earnings estimates and soared over 20%, there was no corresponding celebration that everything was going to be fine.
And why not? In part because people change their opinions slowly. The great masses still don't recognize that General Electric, despite its continued slow growth in the '90s, is yesterday's story. The future belongs to Google (GOOG), to Baidu.com (BIDU), to First Solar (FSLR) and other young companies that are unburdened by a long past and that provide the solutions demanded by the 21st century.
If you're investing for growth, you've absolutely got to recognize this truth; you've got to look forward not backward. You've got to leave behind the slower growers of the past and learn to embrace the younger, faster-growing companies of today ... despite the fact that their valuations are often high and their futures imprecise and fuzzy.
In the past, such optimistic forward thinking has brought us big winners like Cisco (CSCO), Amazon.com (AMZN) and, just last year, Crocs (CROX). This year, as the new bull market gets rolling, who knows?
Netflix has Room to Improve
One somewhat surprising contender is Netflix (NFLX), the provider of DVD rentals through the U.S. mail. We all accept that Netflix has toppled Blockbuster from the video-rental throne, but what of the future? And what of investors' perception of the company? The company is fairly well-known, but far from well-loved; thus its perception has room to improve. And its stock is acting very well; it earned a spot in Cabot Top Ten Report last month.
Here's what Mike Cintolo wrote.
"Netflix is an innovator by nature. With Blockbuster and a host of imitators encroaching on its patent-protected turf, the company that pioneered DVDs-by-mail began finding new ways to deliver movies. Instant Viewing allowed paying subscribers to watch movies online, more or less instantly. It also meant even more competition from, but also for, Apple's iTunes store and set-top Apple TV. In February, Netflix announced its intention to back the Blu-ray format for high-definition DVDs, following in the footsteps of Best Buy, the nation's second-largest DVD retailer. Later that week, the largest, Wal-Mart, did the same, landing Netflix decisively on the right side of the technological frontier. Whether or not a rumored Netflix-Microsoft deal brings Netflix's streaming video to the Xbox, Netflix will continue to revolutionize the way movies are delivered."
Back then NFLX was trading at 33. It spent a couple of weeks building a base at 36, while the 250-day moving average caught up. And then last week it broke out and topped 40! Somewhere in the future a pullback is likely, but the chart is telling us there's some serious buying power here.
Personally, one of my strongest beliefs is that the entertainment industry, a growing global juggernaut led by American companies, remains one of the more profitable consumer sectors ... despite the economic slowdown. I think Netflix, being a leader in category of home movie delivery, regardless of the technology, has the potential to be a dominant player in the industry. I like its chart's action.
Editor's Note: If you want to be in the market's leading stocks, you need to look forward, not backward, and for thousands of investors that means reading Cabot Top Ten Report. This advisory service, published weekly since 2002, brings you capsule summaries of the 10 strongest stocks in the market. It provides a recommended buy range for each stock, and it provides continuing follow-up for all stocks, as long as they remain attractive. Previous big winners discovered by Cabot Top Ten Report include MasterCard, Titanium Metals, DryShips and Baidu.com. To get started with a no-risk trial subscription, simply click the link below.
Yours in pursuit of wisdom and wealth,
Cabot Wealth Advisory