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TheStreet Open House

The Cutting Room: Biotech or Internet?

Best Bet?

Him or Jim? YOU decide.

That's the word from Gary B. Smith. He thinks there's just not enough room for two kings at TheStreet.com.

In a last-minute showdown that would rival any Clint Eastwood movie (well, OK, maybe just his spaghetti westerns), Gary challenged Cramer to a contest: Who is the most popular?

In the action-packed Predictions segment of this week's "TheStreet.com" on Fox News Channel, Gary B. reached for his holster. You see, he forecasts that biotech is better-named "biowreck" from here on out ... and that the Internet is a much smarter bet. Jim, on the other hand, predicts that biotech is on its way up again.

"Oh yeah?" smirked Gary. Get the readers to vote, he dared. Make it a popularity contest. So, if you vote for Internet, you're voting for him; if you go with biotech, it's a vote for Jim.

OK, so it was an impromptu challenge to a duel. But why don't we make it more formal?

Gary thinks that BBH (BBH), a Merrill Lynch exchange-traded portfolio of biotech stocks, is no longer the ticket to riches. Instead, he advocates investing in HHH (HHH), Merrill's Lynch's basket of Internet stocks.

What do you think? (Or, as Gary asks, WHO do you like?) Vote on our poll here .

This was just one of the match-ups in the show. There were lots of others....

Let It Ride vs. Grab Some Gains Now!

During Word on the Street, I asked: How do you protect your profits in this kind of market mania?

In one corner, Jim Cramer (doesn't he always seem to be on one side of every debate?). In the other, Graham Tanaka, whose mutual fund is up nearly 30% in the year to date.

Cramer's ready answer: Don't be a pig, you'll get slaughtered. Now's the time, he says, to trim some of the big winners in your portfolio. Take some money off the table!

Not so fast, Tanaka piped in. He's a buy-and-holder -- rare in these daytrading days -- and has owned Intel (INTC) for more than a decade.

Adam Lashinsky, our Silicon Valley correspondent, on whom I depend during this segment as the never-flinching voice of reason, reminds us of a simple rule: You've got to be able to sleep at night. This might be a good opportunity to re-evaluate your tolerance for risk and get out of some of those more volatile stocks that wake you up at 3 a.m.

The Classic: Da Charts vs. Da Fundies

Yep. Each show, this is one of my favorites. The Chartman takes on Mr. Fundamental, Adam Lashinsky. Chartman claims to know nothing about what a company does, relying only on charts for investment guidance, while Mr. Fundamental is the best in the business at figuring out the nuts and bolts of a company: bottom line, earnings and competitive advantage.

They take on the biggest biotech turned biowreck, Aviron (AVIR) (Gary's a bull, Adam bearish), then tackle MicroStrategy (MSTR), the software stock that cratered last week on earnings news ("I'd love to love it," says Gary, but he doesn't like the look of its chart. As for Adam, he's convinced it's a good company that will win out in the long term.)

Buy vs. Sell

Yep, Cramer takes on the stock market. (I know who I'm betting on!)

You've got a favorite stock? He's got an opinion (or two or three), giving you the bottom line on stocks you're asking about. This isn't like the typical boring old "buy, sell or hold" segments that fill most business programming. No wimpy "long-term holds" here. Cramer tells it like it is -- and he doesn't mince words. Jim doesn't know which stocks you'll bring up, but he lives this stuff every minute of every day, so you can count on a no-holds-barred response.

A couple of examples:

  • To Rich in Maryland, who wanted to know about First Union (FTU): "I wouldn't bank there. I wouldn't buy it."
  • To Fred in Michigan, re Cisco (CSCO): "I love Cisco's John Chambers. We should be using Chambers dollars instead of U.S. dollars."
  • Get the idea? Yet those are just two. JJC rocked through 18 stocks in four minutes.

    But now for the ultimate: Jim vs. Him, or Internet vs. Biotech. Cast your votes now!

    Naturally, I won't be voting. Think I'm a fool? I work with these guys! But I'll tell you one thing for sure, I wish I'd known Gary B. in high school. He gets a lot of points for candor. Remember when all the goodie-two-shoes insisted that the homecoming queen or student body president elections were really based on qualifications such as brains or experience?

    Yeah, right. They were one thing and one thing only: Popularity contests!

    This is a bit more, though, Gary -- and it's time for readers to weigh in on which is the way to go: Biotech or Internet.

    May the best man (sector) win!

    Brenda Buttner's column, Under the Hood, appears Thursdays. At time of publication, Buttner held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks or funds. While she cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, Buttner appreciates your feedback at TSCBrenda@aol.com.

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