Buy Now! What?
Unscientific studies have proven the No. 1 thing people want from financial journalism is ideas about what to buy NOW. Being that I'm a big fan of
, I proudly present the following:
Barry Hyman, senior market analyst at
Ehrenkrantz King Nussbaum
, believes market gauges are range-bound and is admittedly "not very aggressive" these days. But he's maintaining holdings in large-cap tech stocks, such as
, and does not adhere to the bearish case being made by some.
It's a "special-situation market," Hyman said, citing
, which has fallen fractionally since being spun out from
on June 10, as one example.
Another special situation is
Hyman "likes the Qwest story" and believes they'll be "major players in telecom once they get the deal with US West." And "if you believe the Qwest story, US West becomes more compelling from an arbitrage strategy," he continued. Barring a tumble in its stock, Qwest's offer will translate into $69 a share for US West, which closed at 52 15/16 today.
Acknowledging "there's no free money," that spread is "Wall Street saying this deal won't go through," Hyman said. "I believe it will. But even if it didn't, there could be other buyers down the road" for US West.
A broken deal with US West wouldn't be "severely damaging" for Qwest, he added, noting the stock already got "washed out" during the bidding war with
On the Other Hand
A more dour macro view comes from Bill Meehan, chief market strategist at
, who has been anything but a market cheerleader of late. But despite admitting being "wrong" about the market since November, when he first went negative in a serious way, Meehan is unbowed.
"There's no margin for error, certainly not in the stocks that are leading
the market. There's just too much risk for my blood," he said.
One week ago today, Meehan recommended investors go long
Pharmacia & Upjohn
Given Meehan's track record on the big picture, it's probably not shocking his longs haven't fared so well. In the past week, only Abbott Labs has risen, and a scant 0.5% at that. The rest of the group is down between 0.4% and 2.7%.
But maybe Meehan does prefer to accentuate the negative, as his recent short calls have fared better.
On Aug. 19, the strategist recommended shorting
Those stocks are down between 7% and 9.6% from Aug. 19 through today's close (save Cooper Cameron, up 1.9%). "There's still a bit of room to the downside," Meehan said late last week, expecting 10% to 12% declines from pre-call levels.
Looking ahead, he suggests "aggressive" investors look at defensive, consumer-oriented stocks such as
, "if there's any sense the bond market is stabilizing."
Finally, he suggests investors take a look at -- hold on to your hats, now -- gold stocks, as a hedge, "especially if the dollar gets hit."
Looking at the action
today, the dollar getting hit seems a much more likely occurrence than the "bond market" and "stable" being seen anywhere in the same vicinity anytime soon.
Still, I know nobody is panicking (yet). I present the aforementioned because I figure many investors are practicing the fine cliche of profit-taking these days and have some idle cash on hand. Or maybe you've just come into some money following the loss of a much beloved relative who's passed on after a long and fruitful life, and -- while you're grieving and miss him/her -- are heartened by the knowledge they've left this world for a far better place. (Can you tell I'm trying hard not to offend?)
Accountability Before Dishonor
TV show that aired on
last July 24 and 25, Robert Friedman, chief investment officer for the
Mutual Series Funds
as one of his three picks for the "Stock Drill" segment.
Friedman called Bank One "the lowest cost producer of credit cards in the country," projecting the bank would have "about $4.50 of earnings for next year," with "about a third" coming from its credit card business,
After a back-and-forth between Friedman and
about the difficulties of having online and traditional banking under the same roof,
questioned Friedman's optimism, specifically as it pertained to the credit card business.
Greenberg, who's seemingly got more "saves" this summer than
Mariano Rivera , noted Bank One faces stiff competition from the likes of
and observed "potential problems with credit cards, especially if interest rates start rising, and then the potential for delinquencies."
"They have the cleanest book of credit cards in the country," Friedman replied. "But at the Mutual Series Funds, we do deal in bankruptcies and distressed securities, and that could offer a huge opportunity in the world out there, not from Bank One but from other credit card issuers, that have less quality to them."
Wednesday, you'll recall, Bank One plummeted 22.6% after warning of a profit shortfall due mainly to problems in its credit card business.
Friedman did not return multiple phone calls seeking comment today. I hope to catch up with him soon to ask about the Bank One meltdown, and about one of his other picks --
, which is down 16.7% since his appearance.
In the meantime, here's a rundown of how other guests' picks have fared in the show's brief history. For better or worse, the table shows Friedman isn't alone in Clunkerville. (P.S. You can find transcripts for all the shows at our
TSC on Fox page.)
Aaron L. Task writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at