Albert Einstein stated that the greatest invention of man was compounding interest. Mr. Einstein obviously never heard of a "Supercenter" discount store or Viagra. I love bargains. I love buying good companies at a discount. The two companies I'm highlighting today are both. They also helped revolutionize America: one through a new retailing model of everyday low prices, and the other through lifestyle-changing drugs. Both companies have faced bad publicity, and their stock prices reflect it. However, both companies are typical of my investment strategy: ample cash flow and manageable debt, and great growth prospects.
The Blue Pill
Newsflash! Pfizer ( PFE) is not dead. Badly bruised, maybe, but not dead. Quite the contrary, Pfizer still has free cash flow of over $9 billion. This is not some airline stock waiting to go bankrupt. Rather, Pfizer is a company still making wheelbarrows full of cash. Pfizer's phenomenal growth has slowed. I believe this is already factored into the price of $21.25 as of Friday's close. Pfizer's acquisition of Pharmacia gave it control over the two Cox 2 pain inhibitor drugs Celebrex and Bextra. The lawsuit against Merck's ( MRK) Cox 2 inhibitor drug Vioxx caused the entire drug class to receive bad publicity and more potential lawsuits. This crippled earnings, and caused this merger to be almost worthless as it stands now. Lipitor is the flagship drug of the company, yet it grew at only 1% domestically in the third quarter and only 6% internationally; Lipitor also faces a patent case at the end of the year. The company offered lackluster guidance for 2005, and withdrew its guidance for 2006 and 2007. This is the bad news -- very bad news if you, like me, were a Pfizer shareholder heading into this week, as the stock was clobbered (pile-drived, bull-dogged and Samoan-dropped) Thursday and was down again on Friday.