Sunday's Little Letters, Big Ideas

Publish date:

A selection of some of the most intriguing stock newsletter suggestions on the Web.

By Frank Barnako

, DBC News

Special to

The Street

Designer Profits

Strategic Investing

Los Angeles-based

ModaCAD Inc.


is translating its expertise in commercial computer-aided-design software into consumer products, with good prospects.

Richard Geist, editor of the newsletter

Strategic Investing

, notes the company's core business has been developing software used by the apparel and furniture industries so customers can see, via computer, how a certain fabric will look on a couch, or how a suit will look made with a certain material. Now, ModaCAD has developed software to let consumers visualize interior design ideas on home PCs, and licensed the program to




Geist looks for revenue and profit to double in 1997, with revenue at $6.5 million and net income at 40 cents to 50 cents per share.

More information can be found at

Profits in Protection

Investment Digest

Fraud is a serious problem for cellular telephone companies and cell phone users. It is also a big opportunity for fraud-prevention companies like

Cellular Technical Services Co.


. The editor of the Clearwater, Fla.-based

Investment Digest

reports Cellular Technical expects to generate $17 million in the first quarter of this year as it deploys its protective Blackbird Platform and PreTect system in more than 700 cell sites in markets across the U.S.

Editor J. Michael Pinson points out $7 million of that figure is deferred, the business actually being booked in the last quarter of 1996. Pinson recommended this stock as a sell in January, when it was 17. Subsequently, the shares fell to their current 12 or so.

Even so, Pinson's not ready to buy. "Do not run out and buy this issue at this time because the overall stock market conditions are very jittery. However, we may want to consider CTSC again as a long-term buy." But not yet.

More information can be found at

A Pure Play in TV Transmitters

Venture Returns Investment Newsletter

Here's an idea how to profit from the coming shift by U.S. television broadcasters to the digital technical format. It's offered by Karl Drobnic, publisher of the 7-year-old

Venture Returns Investment Newsletter

, which tries to find overlooked stocks that have a major trend working in their favor, such as demographics, a change in laws or government regulations, or a social shift.

Hence, his interest in



, maker of television transmitters, and whose CEO estimates $2 billion worth of TV broadcast equipment will be sold over the next 10 years. But the play is not in those new digital transmitters, says CEO Bob Mancuso.

The Blue Bell, Pa., company's "sales focus is on the replacement market for analog transmitters, since stations are required to simulcast in both digital and analog during the transition period," says Drobnic.

Acrodyne's sales pitch to broadcasters is: Wait a couple of years, use an analog transmitter, save $100,000 per year in operating costs, and convert the analog transmitter to digital five years from now. "The five-year savings will pay for the cost of the transmitter in many cases," Mancuso says. Acrodyne is the only "pure play" available to the public in the TV transmitter manufacturing sector.

More information can be found at

Outsmarting the Shorts

DBC StockWatch

Synovus Financial

(SNV) - Get Report

is a rich company and a rich stock. It sells at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of almost 30.

American Banker

newspaper also says the company's stock market worth, as a percentage of total assets, is among the richest in the land.

DBC StockWatch

columnist Thom Calandra reports Synovus CEO James Blanchard hopes to bring down the gap between market value and real value. "Blanchard told an Atlanta banking conference he wants to get his bank's return on assets, a measure of a bank's profitability, as high as 1.8 percent from about 1.5 percent," writes Calandra. However, unnamed short-sellers expect Synovus shares to "trade in a more volatile fashion."

More information is available at

Previous Sunday's Little Letters Features

April 6.

March 30.

March 23.