Office Max, Nike, Corning and Covad Communications

Sports needs, office supplies and new stuff from the company that made Corning Ware.
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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 TheStreet.com; rather, the collection is offered as a service to our members who may be scanning the Web for stock-related information.

Office Max

John Buckingham and David Fried

(Feb. 2)

When

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

downgraded

Office Max

(OMX)

on Jan. 28 from outperform to neutral, sending the stock down 7/8 to 9.50, two advisers saw value.

Value investor John Buckingham of

The Prudent Speculator

says, "We think the market has overlooked this gem." Earnings have done well considering the intense price competition and a market that produces only so-so sales. Earnings estimates are 80 cents for the fiscal year ending January 1999 and 95 cents for the following year. The stock sells for just 1.02 times book value and seven times cash flow. Rival

Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

sells for 29 times earnings and four times book value. Buckingham's three- to five-year target price is 19. The stock currently trades around 9.

Fried of

The Buyback Letter

, specializing in stock buybacks, points out that Office Max recently completed a repurchase program of 8 million shares (average price of $9.50). This amount of stock comprises 6% of outstanding shares. When Fried spoke with management on Jan. 28, it pointed out that debt servicing costs are shrinking, and that Office Max soon will be self-financing for the first time in its history. "We do not feel there is much risk at this price," says Fried, "and if the stock were to drop further, we would recommend buying more." Fried predicts the price will double by the end of 1999.

More information can be found at:

www.investools.com

Nike

Dana Cohen

(Feb. 1)

Despite owning 40% of the of the U.S. shoe market,

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

has posted quarter after quarter of poor earnings. But at least one analyst,

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette's

Dana Cohen, believes the worst is over.

Cohen blames many of Nike's problems on rampant proliferation of square footage in the retailing market, causing sales to be spread too thin and resulting in eroding same-store sales numbers. These problems at the retail level have impacted Nike's sales trends and profit margins, Cohen contends. But square footage growth projections for this year have come down to 6% from 13% last year. Though 1999 remains murky, results should improve for 2000 and 2001, Cohen says.

Though Cohen upgraded the stock to a buy, the rest of the market is taking a wait-and-see approach. The stock is trading around 47 1 /2, well below its 52-week high of 52 11/16.

More information can be found at:

www.wallstreetcity.com

Corning

Forbes Digital Tool

(Feb. 4)

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

is known for Corning Ware, though it sold off almost all its consumer housewares division last year, and for its ill-fated venture into silicone breast implants with

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

. The company hopes to become known for telecommunications and advanced materials, two areas in which it is placing increasing emphasis, says

Forbes Digital Tool

.

The company invented fiber optics and remains a major provider. The amount of installed fiber has been increasing at rates of 20% to 40% a year worldwide, according to research firm

KMI

. But preparing for an inevitable slowdown in that technology, Corning is throwing its resources into a new bandwidth technology, wavelength division multiplexing, or WDM. Already, WDM equipment needs are growing at a rate of 30% to 40% through 1999.

Corning was hit hard by the Asian economic crisis, which caused a big slowdown in the telecommunications equipment market. The stock slumped to 22 7/8 last September but has almost recovered to its 52-week high of 50 15/16. Corning's fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share beat analysts' estimates by three cents, "indicating an overall strengthening," says

Forbes Digital Tool

.

More information can be found at:

www.forbes.com

Covad Communications

Roland Whitcomb

(Feb. 3)

Covad Communications

(COVD)

, which provides high-speed Internet access over regular telephone lines, went public on Jan. 22 at 18 and now trades around 54. Still, Roland Whitcomb of the

(FATAX)

First American Technology fund says the stock is "competitively priced."

"This is something that will have a lot of demand going forward," he says. The DSL

digital subscriber line technology "is the telephone companies' way of responding to the threat of cable modems," says Whitcomb. It's easier to install a DSL line than a cable modem, he contends. Covad operates in a "hot space" -- an area of the market in which there has been much speculation, he says. In addition, the company has strong management and good relationships with other vendors.

Covad should post revenues of $50 million in 1999 and possibly $200 million in 2000, says Whitcomb. The company's $2-billion-plus market capitalization is high, he admits, but not when compared to other companies, like

@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

, that offer high-speed Internet connections.

More information can be found at:

www.techstocks.com