• Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:

    David Asman: Bob, we've been hearing a lot of fanfare about the euro but most Americans are saying so what?

    Bob Lenzner, national editor: No they're not. There's a lot of pluses to this. It means that companies are going to be able to do a lot more business, a lot easier. And because the dollar is worth much more than the euro right now, it'll be a lot more easier for American companies to buy European companies.

    David Asman: Jerry you know the car industry better than anyone else. Will this effect them?

    Jerry Flint, columnist: No. What counts is the rate. We don't sell a lot of cars from here over there. If the euro strengthens, then it'll reduce the profit ratio of the Mercedes.

    David Asman: Quentin, how about the tech industry?

    Quentin Hardy, senior editor: The euro's going to be more troublesome in countries that are already highly developed like Germany, Spain and Italy. It didn't change the economies of the these countries to have a uniformed currency.

    David Asman: If countries are doing business with these countries they have to deal with border exchange and a whole bunch of issues. You've got a company that helps them deal with those, right?

    Quentin Hardy: Vastera (VAST) masters the customs rules and regulations. They know what you need when you get to the border. They're a consulting firm that was growing a 100% in revenues.

    David Asman: Melanie, we've seen those huge lines of trucks at the borders. Is this company good for that?

    Melanie Wells, senior editor: I have a question for Quentin. With revenue of $90 million and a market cap $616 million, isn't this company over priced?

    Quentin Hardy: No I don't think so. They're growth and visibility is good and they lock in contracts that last for years.

    David Asman: Okay. Jerry, in car sales this year I keep hearing about these 2002 rebates everywhere. What about those?

    Jerry Flint: In 2002, we're going to pay the price for 2001. It doesn't mean it wasn't worth it. We're gonna see about an 8% to 10% decline. GM will probably do the best out of the Detroit companies because its trucks are strong. But incentives are going to be high.

    David Asman: Plus, can they make money with these rebates?

    Jerry Flint: Look, it's like war. You fight with what you've got. They don't have the product often so they're fighting with money.

    David Asman: Okay. Melanie, Saks Fifth Avenue. I remember that store.

    Melanie Wells, senior editor: Risk takers with some play money at hand might wanna take a look at Saks Inc (SKS), which is the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue. This company is having trouble at the cash register and in the stock exchange.

    David Asman: But people aren't buying big ticket items.

    Melanie Wells, senior editor: The question is how many Cartier necklaces can they really sell in this market? CEO Brad Martin is trying to address that problem. He's bringing in more moderately priced goods. But they've got to also get younger consumers into their stores.

    Makers & Breakers

    Boeing (BA)

    Mike Norman, the Contrarian Group: MAKER

    Boeing (BA) is the number one commercial airline company. Obviously, it's been hit hard by the events of September 11th. I think Boeing is a currency play and I'm very bullish on the euro. I think Boeing's earnings got hurt because of an excessively strong dollar. I think the main theme this year will be a rise in the euro and the decrease in the dollar.

    Matt Schifrin, senior editor: BREAKER

    Mike you're a macro guy, I'm a micro guy. The commercial airline business right now, because of 9-11, is very dismal. I don't think it's going to get better anytime soon.

    Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: MAKER

    Micro or macro, Boeing is one of the great companies in the world. You can buy it at 15 times depressed next year's earnings. I would buy it at this price.

    Motorola (MOT)

    Mike Norman: MAKER

    Motorola (MOT) is the #2 cellphone maker. China becoming part of the World Trade Organization will effect this stock greatly. Motorola for quite some time has had a big amount of exposure to China.

    Jim Michaels: BREAKER

    I don't like this company and I'll tell you why. This is a cyclical company with some growth in it. It's selling at 25 times peak year earnings. The numbers don't look good to me.

    Matt Schifrin: MAKER

    I disagree. The person to watch at Motorola is Ed Breen. He's their chief operating officer, Mr. fix-it there. This stock is at its bottom I think.