I feel like I am in Wisconsin this week, wearing a giant cheesehead and cheering on the Packers. Give me a side of wurst, will you? And while you are at it, where the heck is my
put me in this mood this week by rolling out the barrel. I swear, I feel a polka coming on any minute. No, maybe that's the wurst.
If you didn't catch it, take a look at the new feature on our site. Chris Edmonds, a guy with a polka face if I have ever seen one, introduced
Bottom of the Barrel, a weekly column that will highlight overlooked stocks.
To make it even easier to pick a wiener, he grades the equities he mentions with barrels. If he rolls out four, the company has a solid balance sheet and good growth potential. If it gets only one, it's kind of like a warm Old Milwaukee and stale pretzels.
The company Edmonds features in the inaugural is
, a Chicago-based firm that manufactures those orange highway barrels and barriers you see nearly every day.
Edmonds acknowledges that it is not a particularly sexy business, but Quixote is profitable -- it recently posted 2001 earnings of $1.35 a share. In fact, the company has grown by more than 20% in each of the last three years.
It is not without risks, however: Edmonds notes that the company's stock has lost 20% of its value since the beginning of September because of economic uncertainty and concerns about a possible decline in highway-safety funding. (In fact, Quixote warned later that day that its fiscal first-quarter results would be lower than analysts expected because of slow orders in September.)
Still, Edmonds says Quixote is worth a look -- 2 1/2 barrels' worth.
Speaking of Small-Caps...
It Is Time to Think Small (Cap), columnist Odette Galli went eyeball to eyeball with the recession, and concludes that this is a good time to look at small-cap stocks.
Although small-caps have suffered the brunt of the market's fear-induced reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Galli says that, historically, small-caps have easily outperformed large-cap companies coming out of a recession.
Even better, small-caps' response to political crises has been similar. Research shows that the small-caps were the Nos. 1 and No. 2 performance sector coming out of 10 political crises periods, including Pearl Harbor, the Korean War, the Cuban missile crisis and the Kennedy assassination.
It's All in Your Head
Perhaps the most common lament for investors in the current market environment is, "Darn! I held on to that stock for too long!"
Level-headed people who know at this point that their favorite tech stocks will
ascend to such dramatic heights are still reluctant to
. In some cases, it is simply a matter of being burned one too many times.
Other times, however, it is not so simple. According to Shrink Rap writer Steven Hendlin, investors are often sidetracked by a mental hangup called the "
A Recipe for Regret, the clinical psychologist answers questions from two readers affected by this problem.
Writes Hendlin: "The premise is that we are biased, or predisposed, to avoid regret and that we will behave accordingly. So we take actions like passively holding on to losing positions in order to avoid feeling the regret that goes with taking the loss by selling. The same bias also prompts us to sell our winners too soon, so that we may feel the pride that goes with making a gain."
Flying So Low...
The airline sector was getting hammered even before terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. And that event has of course pushed the weaker sisters into bankruptcy, or darn close.
Emergency federal intervention has calmed the storm for most in the meantime, but investors are wary because people still are having misgivings about air travel.
Continental Could Bounce, airline expert Holly Hegeman eyed the skies and came up with a list of 14 companies and indicated which ones she believes will be short-term winners and losers.
Despite their recent travails,
are Hegeman's most likely prospects to bounce, while
tops the list of those to avoid.
Hegeman identified Air Canada and
as bankruptcy candidates. Mathew Ingram, a financial columnist for the
Globe & Mail
in Toronto, recently begged the Canadian government
to bail out the company because he believes it has been so badly mismanaged.