I love to ask my sources what stocks they like as well as which ones they don't. (No, I'm not changing my stripes! Just looking for companies that have been left for dead in this frenzy.) One stock (of all stocks) that is high on one savvy money manager's list:
Now that I've lost a chunk of my potential readers: I say "of all stocks" because for years, Tupperware has not been able to get out of its own way. As far back as the mid-'80s, when it was owned by
, it was always dragging down Kraft's financial performance. What was clear to anybody
the company was that selling products exclusively through parties had lost its effectiveness. (As a
reporter covering Kraft back in those days, I was among those who wondered,
"Haven't you guys heard the 1950s are over?!"
Almost every critic wondered the same thing: Why not sell Tupperware in retail stores? (The company always responded that it would undermine its sales force.)
Well, Tupperware finally got the message. It now sells some of its products over its Internet site, through sales reps' Internet sites and in retail kiosks. "Despite a series of management missteps and some severe economic hardships in some of their emerging markets over the past two years," says our money-mangement source, "the company still has a much-revered brand name and one that consumers continue to pay for."
The stock's current price of 16 5/16, he says, ignores several hundred acres (half of which is developable) in Orlando, Fla. But he also dosen't believe it reflects accelerating revenue growth, the new sales chanels and a three-year cost-cutting program that is expected to remove $50 million in expenses by next year.
Bottom line, according to this investor, who owns Tupperware: Financial performance should start to show a sharp improvement in the second quarter. (Ah, but if it does, will anybody care?)
Saved by the buyout:
So much for a column
here a month ago suggesting that
, an electronic provider of stock-and-commodity quotes, which has been on the auction block for nearly a year, couldn't find a buyer. Yesterday, the company announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by
VS&A Communications Partners III
. Short-sellers badgered the company for what they thought were weak growth prospects and the long, drawn-out search for a buyer. Final tally for the shorts, many of whom bought in at around the price of the transaction: 29. A wash.
Even after filing for bankruptcy,
stock (on the pink sheets) traded as high as 5 last week on hopes, by investors, that Craig McCaw would save the day. Never mind that, even under the very best circumstances, stockholders would've gotten zip. Now McCaw says he has no plans to buy the stock. That sent Iridium's stock down to 1.8 which, according to some traders, is 1.8 higher than it should be.
I've been skeptical of individuals climbing aboard the IPO bandwagon. When you read
letter, you'll see why:
Prior to Palm (PALM) Thursday, I listened to an avalanche of media, TV and online hype about the IPO of the decade. Everyone had to do anything they could to get in on the deal. I am new at this online investing, leaving most of it to my accountant, who has done very, very well YTD for me. Anyway, I was led to believe that no one but the "investors in the know" would have a prayer of buying PALM at the opening. So I put in a limit order of 150 shares at 200. At 9:32 a.m., my order was filled at 140 a share and by the time I was able to get a current price, it had dropped so low I felt I couldn't sell. Now I'm looking at a $9,000 loss if I sell and wondering what to do with it. Sell, take the loss and put the remaining into 3Com (COMS) or just hold?
Beats me, but this is the very reason individuals are nuts to try to buy into IPOs, especially hot ones, unless they're getting in on the ground floor. (And even then it's not necessarily the wisest investment.) If you can't get in at the initial price, many pros say you might as well wait until it trades and settles down rather than chase it on day one. (And be happy that Palm never traded as high as 200!)
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.