Winners and Losers: Tesla Gears Up for Auto-Drive; Oracle CEO Goes MIA

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Americas Cup Sailing
AP, Eric Risberg
Companies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From an automaker speeding us toward self-driving cars to stock dividends rising in bunches, here's a rundown of the week's smartest moves and biggest blunders in the business world.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) -- Winner

Cars that drive themselves are no longer sci-fi fare.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told London's Financial Times that his company could have cars that drive themselves 90 percent of the time on the market in three years. Earlier this summer Nissan, pointed to 2020 as its goal to put out its first self-driving vehicle. Now it seems as if Tesla may beat the rest of the automakers by a few years.

There are already cars that parallel park on their own and that adapt to cars around them on the open highway. However, cars that actually drive themselves could improve safety. After all, a car has never been drinking or texting while driving.

Oracle (ORCL) -- Loser

The enterprise software giant posted disappointing quarterly results, but CEO Larry Ellison was tending to choppy waters elsewhere. "Larry isn't with us today because he is at an important race for the America's Cup," Oracle's CFO explained.

Really? We all know Ellison is an enthusiast, and that Oracle is a sponsor of the American team that's taking on New Zealand. However, instead of attending Races 11 and 12, perhaps Ellison could've been there to address the questions about the soft revenue or recent reports of unhappy former employees.

Dividend Investors -- Winner

It was a good week for investors hungry for income. Sure, interest rates moved lower after the Fed decided to hold off on scaling back its bond-buying stimulus program. But several companies also chose to raise their quarterly dividend rates this week.

Microsoft (MSFT), McDonald's (MCD), YUM! Brands (YUM), and Kroger (KR) were among the many popular stocks to increase the amount that they will distribute to investors every three months.

Then we have New York Times (NYT) reinstating its quarterly dividend. It's been four years since the iconic publisher last declared a distribution.

Coca-Cola (KO) -- Loser

This will have to go down as one of the beverage giant's biggest marketing blunders.

Coca-Cola ran a promo for vitaminwater in Canada where it paired up a random English word with another one in French. Somehow it failed to think through all of the possibilities, because someone uncapped the enhanced water bottle to find "You Retard" on the back of the cap.

Retard -- in French -- translates into late or delayed.

This promotion -- in any language -- translates into a back-pedalling beverage giant.

Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) -- Winner

Shares of the satellite radio giant hit a new six-year high this week. Sirius XM helped make its own luck by announcing that it would raise $650 million in debt. The senior notes that expire in 2020 priced at an interest rate of 5.875 percent on Thursday night.

The genius here is that Sirius XM will use the net proceeds of the offering to pay off senior notes due 2018 that carry a rate of 7.625 percent. In other words, Sirius XM is extending its maturities by two years and it will be paying less interest along the way.

Satellite radio rocks.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's, Microsoft, Oracle., and Tesla Motors. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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