Companies Lend a Helping Hand

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I don't know about you, but I've felt pretty helpless this week watching events unfold in Japan. First a massive earthquake hit the country, then a huge tsunami and finally, a major nuclear disaster. Death tolls are still rising and will continue to increase for weeks, if not months. And the clean up will take months, if not years.

But many people have been doing what they can to help the Japanese people. Specifically, several companies sprang into action this week, with many putting their specialties to good use.

Aflac ( AFL ) , which has 5,000 employees in Japan, pledged $1.2 million to the Red Cross. The company also made headlines this week for firing the comic Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the company's mascot, for publishing insulting remarks on Twitter about the disaster.

Amgen ( AMGN ) and McDonald's ( MCD ) have each donated at least $1 million to the disaster relief efforts.

Apple ( AAPL ) is allowing users to donate up to $200 at a time through its iTunes store. And the company is using its Japan stores as communications hubs for people searching for family and friends or looking to read news about the events. The staff provided chargers and power cables and left the wireless connection on after the stores closed so people walking by could take advantage of the signal.

Caterpillar ( CAT ) offered a $1 million grant through its Caterpillar Foundation to the American Red Cross to help clean up. The company also offered to match up to $500,000 in Caterpillar employee, retiree and dealer employee contributions made to the Red Cross. Additionally, the branch of Caterpillar based in Japan has provided $1 million, mostly consisting of in-kind equipment donations.

Coca-Cola (KO)
has provided $7.3 million in cash and other donations, including seven million bottled beverages and activating some of its dispensing machines to provide drinks for free.

EBay (EBAY)
is hosting auctions that give some or all of the proceeds to aid agencies helping in Japan. And for the next month, the company's PayPal division is crediting transactional fees to qualified American and Canadian nonprofits that are raising funds to aid in the disaster response.

Google (GOOG) used its computing and Internet prowess to set up a "person finder" database that can be used in several languages, including Japanese, English and Chinese, among others. People can use the database to look for a missing person or to add any information they have about someone affected by the disaster.

The online search giant has also created a service that allows people to take photos of the lists of people stationed at their location that is automatically uploaded into an online photo album. The names are being entered into a database where people can search for names of people who might have been affected.

And recognizing that not everyone has a smart phone, Google made some tweaks to its mobile website to make it easier for everyone to view.

IBM (IBM) is donating up to $1 million in services and technology to the recovery efforts in Japan.

In addition to offering $2 million to help in the clean up, Microsoft (MSFT) , offered its partners and customers affected by the disaster free technical support and software licenses. The company also created a Web portal that governments, nongovernmental organizations and other agencies can use to talk to each other and the general public.

Obviously there are many more companies aiding in the relief effort, but these have one thing in common: They are all Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter stocks. Helping with the disaster in Japan isn't why these companies are good investments, but it is nice to see them using their money and specialties to help those in need.

Learn more about them and other top value stocks featured in Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter .

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In this week's Stock Market Analysis Video, Cabot China & Emerging Markets Report Editor Paul Goodwin says It hasn't been a great week in the stock market, but there have been some signs of support. The market was down sharply early in the week on significant volume, so the rebounds later in the week were welcome, but not entirely convincing. Paul says that after a six-month run up, there's like more correction to come. Stocks discussed are Acme Packet (APKT), Aruba Networks (ARUN), SuccessFactors (SFSF), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), Timberland (TBL), Oplink Communications (OPLK) and Spreadtrum Communications (SPRD) . Click to watch the video.

Until next time,

Elyse Andrews
Editor of Cabot Wealth Advisory



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , AFL , AMGN , CAT , MCD

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