I hate to drive.
I hate it not only because I find it the opposite of fun, but because I'm bad at it. This is for several reasons.
First of all, I tend to daydream. This has compelled me on a few occasions to run stop signs, which when I was 18 years old, had a disastrous consequence to four fences, three cars and a few people.
The other thing is I'm very bad at administrative details, like paying fines on tickets. I tend to lose them and then forget what state I was in originally when I got the ticket. Unfortunately, state governments do remember things like that, even years later.
Finally -- and this is related to how I do investing -- I tend to mostly think about the worst possible scenarios. In driving, let me tell you, it's a drag to constantly be assuming that every car is going to hit you.
So the key for me is to be a very good passenger. But since I tend to get jumpy even when I'm not sitting in the passenger seat, I need to make sure I'm entertained. And quite frankly, AM /FM just doesn't cut it anymore.
Gadgets to Go For
Here, then, is
of companies that make your automobile top of the line.
I need to be constantly stimulated in the car, and these provide the way to do it. And I'm not alone: 100 million Americans drive to work every day and 100% of them are going to have these items in their cars over the next 10 years (source: my opinion). So get these gadgets, and consider looking at these as long-term investments, since the trend for the souped-up car is only going to continue.
First of all, you will have to decide which satellite radio you want, either
(each $12.95 per month).
Sirius is most known for its five-year, $100-million-a-year deal with Howard Stern. XM has Oprah. Howard? Oprah? I like both, so I'm hoping these companies merge -- they're just awaiting FCC antitrust approval.
Neither company has been generating any earnings; in fact, they seem like bloodbaths when it comes to cash. But if this merger takes place, and the cost consolidation that I expect occurs, then that will change. It's also interesting to note that XM, at least, has a strong believer in its director Jack A. Shaw, who just bought 40,000 shares of the company last month.
Now, if you're like me, you get lost. Constantly.
I once spent a half hour looking for my glasses before realizing they were on my face. So forget about handing me a map -- you really can't go anywhere today without a
GPS device, which gives you directions (some even out loud) on top of the map.
The major players are
SiRF Technology Holdings
, which makes the semiconductors for many of the GPS manufacturers.
My pick is the
Garmin Nuvi 660 Portable GPS (about $860). It has an over 4-inch color display screen and can receive traffic alerts in certain cities, as well as offer information on more than 6 million points of interest. Instructions are spoken clearly, including street and place names.
How about investingwise?
Garmin has a price-to-earnings ratio of 35, a price/earnings to growth ratio of 1.7, and even pays a small yield of 0.7%. It recently reported a 73.9% increase in quarterly earnings year over year on a 71.7% increase in revenue. Navteq has a P/E of 45.41 and a PEG of 1.89; the company also just announced that its NavteqTraffic Radio Data System is now a standard, lifetime traffic service in all 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and CL-Class cars. Trimble has a P/E of 38 and a PEG of 1.59, and SiRF has a P/E of 60.53 and a PEG of 0.57.
If you have children who ride in the back seat -- or, if you're like me, adults who do -- and you didn't get a vehicle with a built-in DVD player, you will definitely need the
Dual Screen Portable DVD Player ($180) offered by
There's even a subscription-based 'TV guardian' feature to filter out language that is considered inappropriate. Disney has a P/E of 15.1, a PEG of 1.31, and pays a yield of 0.9%.
If that's too much to hold, how about a
video headrest and sound system (about $1,000) from
, which also makes satellite radios, speakers, amps and navigation systems. This low-cap stock (231 million) has a P/E of 62.61.
And of course, with all these gems inside, you'll want to be sure that your car is secure once you arrive at your destination.
Stolen Vehicle Recovery System ($695) from
will take care of that. The company provides products and services for the tracking and recovery of automobiles, and has a P/E of 17.1 and a PEG of 1.32.
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At the time of publication, Altucher and/or his fund had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.
James Altucher is president of Stockpickr LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com and part of its network of Web properties, and a managing partner at Formula Capital, an alternative asset management firm that runs a fund of hedge funds. He is also a weekly columnist for
The Financial Times
and the author of
Trade Like a Hedge Fund
Trade Like Warren Buffett
. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Altucher appreciates your feedback;
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