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

    David Asman: Quentin, what can you tell us about Hewlett-Packard?

    Quentin Hardy, senior editor: Hewlett Packard (HWP) and Carly Fiorina have been squalling for a while now and it's driving the stock down. The one thing these guys agree on is that HP is a really good company. They have a lot of good products coming out. I think the stock is a bargain at this point.

    David Asman: Elizabeth, what do you think?

    Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: The main complaint with this merger was that it would lead to a focus on low performing personal computers. Is that still the case after the merger?

    Quentin Hardy, senior editor: I think that's really off the point. The big argument is about the PC's. HP has done good work in cameras, digital cameras and they have some wonderful high speed printers coming out.

    David Asman: So it's a nasty fight but the stock still looks good. Lisa DiCarlo, what do you have for us?

    Lisa DiCarlo, Forbes.com senior editor: We just wrapped up a hideous week in earnings for the major airlines. The only airline that wasn't hideous was Southwest (LUV). This is the only airline stock worth owning if you must own one.

    David Asman: Wait a minute. I heard you say something about JetBlue not too long ago.

    Lisa DiCarlo, Forbes.com senior editor: I still like JetBlue (JBLU). They just went public about 2 weeks ago. They're already a little over-valued.

    Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: The thing about Southwest (LUV) is that their workers aren't unionized and the highest cost for airlines is labor expenses, right?

    Lisa DiCarlo, Forbes.com senior editor: That's exactly right. Southwest has an independent union which means it's an in-house union for its pilots. And it's no coincidence that they are the only profitable airline right now.

    David Asman: Okay let's move on. Dennis Kneale, we haven't heard from you.

    Dennis Kneale, managing editor: Let's talk about cable stocks. They've been spending billions of dollars to upgrade their plan. There is some great buying opportunity if you want to buy companies like AOL Time Warner (AOL), Cox Communications (COX) Comcast (CMCSK), and Cablevision (CVC).

    David Asman: But you have to wait 2 years before you make a profit on these?

    Dennis Kneale, managing editor: The days of buying a stock and profiting in a month, that's over. That never existed. Be patient here. These stocks are all down 20-60% and yet a very reputable analyst at Morgan Stanley says in 2 years the entire equity value of cable stocks could go up 50%.

    Quentin Hardy, senior editor: Dennis, how are they going to make their money back on these big expenditures.

    Dennis Kneale, managing editor: They have spent $55 billion in the last 5 years. You're going to see that AOL Time Warner has digital cable in 95% of its systems. By year end Time Warner makes a big push for video on demand. Cablevision's stock is down 50-60%. They are now letting customers order Sex in the City on demand.

    David Asman: All right. Well, can't miss that. Elizabeth, you've got Alcatel (ALA). Now you've said this stock was bad. Has it gotten worse?

    Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: There are still problems with this stock. Dennis gave me a good line: We should call it "Alca-sell". You should get out of this stock if you own it. It's at 16 and even if it goes to 10 I wouldn't buy it. This is a company that's been treading water for about 5 years. Also, they're off-balance sheet debt quintupled. I would just stay away from this stock.

    Makers and Breakers

    Sprint (FON)

    Charles Lemonides, Valueworks: MAKER

    I like Sprint because I think this company is growing and I think you're getting extraordinary valuation. They have 8-9 million local access lines. Those local access numbers are easily worth the current price of the stock. Then you're also getting $10 billion worth of revenues in long distance and data.

    Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: MAKER

    Everybody hates this business right now and Sprint is where it was 10 years ago. The time to buy good companies is when everyone else hates them. I'm a maker on this stock.

    Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: BREAKER

    I wouldn't buy this stock until it dropped to $12. This company has very bad earnings numbers. Pre-cash flow has seriously plunged. I would run away from it now but I may buy it at $12.

    JP Morgan Chase (JPM)

    Charles Lemonides, Valueworks: MAKER

    JP Morgan Chase is $2 billion shares outstanding a $75 billion equity cap. It's extraordinarily cheap based on the assets that are there. If you take this stock on a sum-of-the-parts basis you easily get a $55 stock. I think that's the way you have to look at it.

    Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: BREAKER

    This is a company that is being hauled into the Enron mess. They seem to be in the same mess where pinstripes may be turning into prison stripes. They helped fund one of those off balance sheet debt vehicles that helped Enron mask problems. Embarrassing document discovery could really be a drag for this stock. Also, they are one of the biggest players in corporate enterprise loans. Those are loans that are not backed by hard asset. They're marked by debt or market cap.

    Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: MAKER

    I wish there was something between a Maker and a Breaker. This stock is cheap. I don't think it's a very good bank. It can't compare with Citibank and it can't compare with Wells Fargo. But there might be some good points coming up in its future.