A few weeks ago, I mentioned how much I love watching Antiques
Roadshow. In the episode I saw this week, a man brought an 1880s
era stock ticker to be appraised and it really piqued my
interest. So I decided to do some research and found:
Edward A. Calahan invented the stock ticker in 1867 to convey
stock prices over a long distance. A special typewriter was used
to send the stock quotes over telegraph wire that then displayed
them on the stock ticker at the other end of the connection. A
bit different from the way we can view a stock's movements second
by second on Yahoo! or Google Finance today.
Thomas Edison made improvements on the device and his Universal
Stock Ticker was said to have a printing speed of one character
per second in the late 1860s.
In the 1870s, stock tickers were available on a contract basis
for about $6 per week. And by 1883, 1,000 were in use around New
The stock ticker I saw on Antiques Roadshow was made between
1880-1885 by the Star Electric Company. The appraiser said it was
worth about $8,000 to $10,000-not bad for a piece of obsolete (if
still very cool) technology.
As I discussed in last Saturday's issue, we'll be addressing many
of the questions you asked and topics you requested in our recent
survey over the next few weeks and months. One thing that came up
repeatedly was revisiting topics we've discussed before and
providing updates on past recommendations. So today, I'm going to
discuss a topic I've written about in the past … e-readers.
I wrote a column
a little over a year ago detailing what I thought were the
problems with many e-readers and some possible solutions.
Many of the problems that I saw with e-readers a year ago still
exist: once you buy an e-reader, you're locked into that
technology and so are the books you've purchased; it's difficult
to share books on e-readers; you don't really "own" the books in
a long-term way because you can't display them on your shelves or
pass them along to future generations; and of course, the cost of
an e-reader can be substantial, especially if you upgrade when
new models come out.
But one major hurdle has been surmounted: You can now check
library books out on certain e-readers. It was announced just
this week that users of
Android tablets would have the ability to check out e-books from
their local libraries.
Sony's Reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook have had this ability
for a while, but you need a PC and USB cord to download the
books, whereas the new service, from OverDrive Inc., allows users
to download the books through an application right on the device.
Kindle does not yet have this capability.
I read a lot (98 books in the last 23 months!), so constantly
buying books is not something I want to do. Instead, I get a lot
of books from my local library, which is connected to 40 others,
so it has a great selection. And knowing that I could access them
on an e-reader would definitely entice me to think about
The library e-books will be free, just like the regular books you
check out there. You'll keep them for between seven and 21 days,
about the same as a normal book. And some libraries are even
going to allow patrons to set their own due dates.
The major problem I see with this new system though is that there
are only a certain number of copies of the books, as the
libraries are paying fees to license them, just as they buy the
regular books that they lend. So this means that if all the
copies of the book you want to read are checked out, you have to
wait until it comes available before getting started. This makes
sense from the licensing perspective, but it seems backward that
there would be limited copies of a piece of digital media.
So while there are now e-books available for free, the system
still isn't perfect. But knowing that I can still use my local
library with certain e-readers definitely makes me more inclined
to purchase one that is compatible.
When I wrote about again e-readers last fall I discussed Amazon
and Apple. Today, I'm going to revisit those recommendations.
Both stocks have climbed higher since then, with AMZN moving from
160 to 189 and AAPL going from 307 to 340.
However, the market has recently begun to pull back, which is a
normal, healthy reaction to the incredible run-up we've seen in
the past few months. So while I think both of these stocks have a
lot of future upside potential, this may not be the best time to
If I had to pick one stock between these two, I'd pick Apple. Its
recent earnings reports have been much stronger than Amazon's and
I think the company has a lot more innovative technology up its
sleeve. And Michael Cintolo has been recommending Apple to Cabot
Top Ten Weekly subscribers since early June 2010 and continues to
feature it in the newsletter, meaning that it's one of the
strongest stocks in the market.
That's not to say that Amazon won't succeed. Its recent
announcement that it will try to compete with Netflix by offering
Amazon Prime members online movie subscriptions will undoubtedly
help it going forward.
As I mentioned, the market is due to correct, so you should watch
these stocks first before diving in. Or better yet, get Mike's
latest thoughts on AAPL and other leading stocks in
Cabot Top Ten Weekly
In this week's Stock Market Analysis Video, Cabot Market Letter
Editor Michael Cintolo discusses the market's sharp shakeout this
week, which could be the first sign of a coming correction. Mike
says the market has been in a persistent uptrend since September
1, so now you should look to sell your losers and buy only those
stocks that are holding up well. Mike discussed
Acme Packet (AKPT), Riverbed Technology (
), Weight Watchers (
), Manitowoc (MTW), Fortinet (FTNT)
Watch the video.
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