Biotech Stocks, Berkshire Hathaway, Trustmark, American Banknote Holographics

Ideas include Buffett's class B shares, a Mississippi bank company and a hologram maker.
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A selection of some of the most intriguing stock newsletter suggestions on the Web. The items presented do not represent the views of

; rather, the collection is offered as a service to our members who may be scanning the Web for stock-related information.

Biotech Stocks

George Stasen


Many biotech companies have suffered declines of 50% in the six months beginning March 1, and though they've recovered somewhat since September, it's likely that "substantial bargains can be found hidden in the muddle," writes

Money Talks

biotech columnist George Stasen.

Among the possible opportunities are












. All of these stocks are up substantially since September. Of course, in each of these cases there were specific reasons for a turnaround, but most was already known and only recently seen as a positive. This type of activity indicates "a high level of residual interest in the biotech group," says Stasen, "and that in turn, should set the stage for some super individual performances in the next 12 months."

The trick is spotting the special opportunities. You can let the major pharmaceutical companies do the research for you, says Stasen, by watching for strategic alliances. Watching for biotechs with products that clear Phase III clinical studies is a favorite tactic of the Street.

One of the more challenging bargain indicators is when companies are transitioning from developmental losses to profits. When the companies announce some earnings, analysts' jobs get harder since they have to "make dramatically changing price times earnings valuations." A buying opportunity arises, says Stasen, when the estimates "are a product of overkill."

More information can be found at:

Berkshire Hathaway

Stephen Leeb

(Dec. 14)

Berkshire Hathaway

B shares


, even at more than 2,000 a piece, "are the best mix of growth and defensive factors in one company," says Stephen Leeb, editor of

Personal Finance


Leeb is enthusiastic about Berkshire Hathaway's acquisition of

General Re

(GRN) - Get Report

. The modestly valued reinsurer will drive Berkshire's price-to-earnings ratio down by 20%, he says. And General Re's substantial bond holdings will protect Berkshire from deflation, he says.

The B shares, even at Friday's closing price of 2,012 each, are a bargain next to the original A shares, which closed Friday at 60,400. Leeb recommends buying the B shares up to 2,400.

More information can be found at:


Norman G. Fosback


Investor Norman G. Fosback recommended


(TRMK) - Get Report

in 1995 based on a flood of insider purchases after a sharp price decline. He sold it in February after widespread insider selling. A recent wave of insider buying may indicate it's time to get back into the stock, he says.

The Mississippi-based bank holding company is fundamentally sound and has been getting more healthy this year, he says. Revenue grew $275 million in 1997 (a 7% expansion) and net income widened to $71.1 million (an increase of 10%). And that trend continues in 1998. The bank's board approved a 750,000-share buyback in the summer and 5.5 million more shares to be bought back in the fall. Firm insiders announced they were selling shares last spring at the high of 25, but have bought back much of that at the lows of 16 and 17 this summer.

"There is a lot to like about Trustmark's steady growth," says Fosback, who plans to buy if shares slip back to 18. The stock closed Friday at 22 3/8.

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American Banknote Holographics

Dave Lettenberger


American Banknote Holographics


is the world's largest maker of holograms for security applications. The company, spun off from

American Banknote


, went public in July. "I have been buying their stock because they are in the early stages of a great growth story," says Dave Lettenberger, of the



Though the company is best known for holographic images on credit cards, it has contracts with several pharmaceutical companies to put holograms on medication bottles, and its holograms appear on every Pentium II chip from


(INTC) - Get Report

and on many foreign currencies.




account for 55% of revenues, but Lettenberger believes that sales of holograms to other sectors are gaining momentum. He thinks the firm can grow earnings by 25% a year over the next few years and foresees a share price in the low 20s in the next six to nine months. Shares closed Friday at 18.

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