appearance two and a half years ago to promote my book
Have More Money Now
, I was pitted against a very pretty bank analyst, Meredith Whitney.
It turned out she was a beautiful pit bull, and she attacked me for recommending
"How can you pick a financial in a rising rate environment?" she asked defiantly.
I looked back at her, tried to make my case, and realized deep down I really just wanted to choke her.
Well, Citigroup turned out to be a pretty good pick, and then I
showed that analyst (without resorting to violence) -- I moved to New York and married her. We still argue over stocks, but now over wine and a nice dinner.
Today, I have another pick in a rising rate environment, and yes, it is a financial:
Sunshine in the Forecast
The latest inflation data showed that inflation, minus energy and food, was tame. So I guess as long as you don't eat or drive you wouldn't feel the effect of milk and gas prices going through the roof.
Rightly or not, I believe the
is just about done raising rates (Alan Greenspan must have his chauffeur buy his groceries and fill his car) and think American Express is a buy right here. In fact, I will go on record as to say this is the very best of the
American Express credit cards cater to the wealthy, who are not affected by gas prices. The company is still going after the middle to higher-end markets, which are where the most enviable consumer and corporate accounts are. American Express already has 40% of the lucrative corporate expense market. With 78% of that market still operating with cash, check or personal spending, there is a lot of room to grow.
To view JBL's video take on American Express, click here
However, American Express is a much bigger story than that. I promised you the best stock on the Dow, and I am going to show you why this is one that could double market share in the next few years
Until the fourth quarter of 2004, Visa and MasterCard, with their 90% market share, had prohibited member banks from offering American Express cards, which had just over a 4% market share. This ban helped create a duopoly for the two major card marketers:
( KRB) and Citigroup had 28% of the credit card market, on the basis of receivables with over 200 million accounts.
In 2001, the Justice Department ruled that banks could offer the American Express cards to their customer base. In the fourth quarter of 2004, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from Visa and MasterCard.
Since then, American Express has signed an agreement to market its cards through MBNA, Citigroup and
. Its market share is predicted to be around 6% by the end of 2006.
American Express has room to grow in the high-end market it currently dominates, but the real story is the ending of Visa and MasterCard's duopoly. The company's future growth -- and why this is the best Dow stock -- is through the new distribution channel it has to market its cards.
With a 30% return on equity and a forward multiple of 16 based on future estimated earnings of $3.10, this is a great buy right here. The potential to double market share and a projected growth rate of 20% makes this the perfect Christmas gift.
American Express has only 10% of profits coming from spread lending, hence it's making money in a rising rate environment.
Because my wife works on Wall Street, I can neither buy nor sell financials that she covers; therefore, I do not own American Express.
I am like a dog on a sunny day looking out the window at the park and not able to go play.
Right Call, Wrong Company
recent article recommended
because of my recent visit to Afghanistan, and the effect a democratic presence in the region would have on capitalism and the ability to make money.
I went on to say that, with the consolidation in the cell-phone industry, Turkcell would be a great takeover play. The day the article came out, there was a takeover play in Turkey's cell-phone market; it just wasn't Turkcell. Instead,
, another one of my picks, won an auction to buy Telsim.
One of the knocks against Vodafone was that it was paying too much for 3G licenses. Now the same thing is being said about its Telsim purchase. The Turkish government had estimated the value of Telsim at $2.8 billion; Vodafone paid $4.55 billion.
I believe Vodafone bought the wrong company; it should have bought a cell-phone company that made money, like Turkcell. It should not have bought a cell-phone company that has a third of Turkcell's subscribers and that won't make money in the near term.
The Vodafone-Telsim combination does create more competition for Turkcell, but I still like the company. And I
still own my shares of Vodafone, despite a decline in its share price. I believe Vodafone is in a great position due to its large subscriber base and the 3G license that it owns. But I don't feel the Telsim acquisition was the best way to spend its money.
At the time of publication Layfield was long Vodafone and Citigroup, although holdings can change at any time. A former All-American offensive lineman at Abilene Christian University, John Layfield played professional football for the then-Los Angeles Raiders and later in the World League. After wrestling in Japan, Mexico and Europe, Layfield arrived in the WWE in the mid-1990's. A former WWE champion, JBL was a featured wrester at WrestleMania 21 and can also be seen on
Friday Night SmackDown!
on UPN. Outside of the ring, JBL is a self-taught investor who was recruited to write a personal finance book,
Have More Money Now
, which was released in the summer of 2003. He has appeared on finance shows on CNN and Fox News Network. He is co-chairman of the Smackdown Your Vote! Campaign and he has joined both the USO and Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) for tours through Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries. He regularly visits the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda naval hospital to meet with wounded troops.
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