Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:
David Asman: Mike Ozanian, let's start with you. You've got news on Cablevision?
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: Cablevision (CVC) is a financial house of horrors. This company has a mountain of debt. It's generating far less cash than it's consuming. The stock right now is at $14. I think it's going to go a lot lower.
Dennis Kneale, managing editor: I like all cable stocks. I think they're cheap. They've got 97 percent of their cable lines upgraded to fully interactive digital. I think it's worth a buy.
David Asman: You're up on cable stocks. You were down on Qwest (Q) a couple of weeks ago. Those theories proved correct.
Dennis Kneale: Yes, for once I was right. Joe Nacchio, the CEO left and the popped 20 percent.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: I think the new CEO will want to keep the company big. It's hard to run and he'll try to keep it alive. I think it's too risky.
David Asman: Okay, let's talk US Dollar. It's not so strong right now, right?
Luisa Kroll, associate editor: No, it's actually been falling. It hit a 2-year low last week. Some economists predict it's going to fall by another 8-10 percent. I think there are some really good buys here where companies are going to see their earnings pop as a result of this drop. Four that I like are Caterpillar (CAT), Procter & Gamble (PG), Sara Lee (SLE) and International Paper (IP).
David Asman: It means US products become cheaper and that's good for these companies that sell overseas.
Luisa Kroll: That's right and also, when it comes time to reporting in the US, they get the benefit of the currency exchange.
Dennis Kneale: When the dollar is too strong, companies complain. When the dollar is weak, they complain again. It always gives them a handy excuse.
David Asman: Okay, Quentin tell us about the future of broadband.
Quentin Hardy: President Bush is calling for a national broadband initiative, playing to what the hi-tech companies want. Politicians don't know enough about this yet. They don't really know how much to put on it. No one needs this much bandwidth right now. If you're betting that Cisco and Intel are going to get a boost from this, I'd say get out of it.
Mike Ozanian: Quentin, who's on the hook now for investing all this money on broadband? Are there major write-offs here?
Quentin Hardy: Yes so far, I can't believe Level 3 (LVLT) is still in business.
David Asman: What is Level 3?
Quentin Hardy: Level 3 has laid all this fiber in the ground. There are 5,000 fibers in the ground around America. You could carry the entire Internet on five of them.
Makers & Breakers
ConAgra Foods (CAG)
Bernadette Murphy, Kimmelman & Baird: MAKER
ConAgra Foods is a consumer stock that pays a good dividend and is selling at a multiple less than the market. I think this is a good combination.
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: BREAKER
I think this company has an inept management of their brands.
David Asman: What are some of their brands?
Mike Ozanian: Beatrice is one of them. Even if they reach analyst earnings targets this year they're still going to be making less money than they did two years ago.
Bill Baldwin, editor: MAKER
I like this stock and I'll tell you why. Congress just decided to take $180 billion away from consumers and give it to needy millionaire farmers. Some of that money is going to slip through their pockets and land in the hands of ConAgra.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
Bernadette Murphy, Kimmelman & Baird: MAKER
After 9-11, it was decided that airlines shouldn't carry packages anymore. That's a benefit for United Parcel Service. Also, the post office will be raising rates as of the end of June. They have a lot of locations and have been in business since the 1930's.
Bill Baldwin: MAKER
I like UPS. It's only other competitor is the post office and the post office is hog-tied by feather betting unions. So what can you do? Do you short the postal service or buy UPS? I'd buy UPS.
Mike Ozanian: BREAKER
64 percent of UPS' labor is unionized. I think that any new revenue will go to the union. And Federal Express has been taking some of their market share away.
David Asman: Bernadette, what about the union problems?
Bernadette Murphy, Kimmelman & Baird: They're supposed to be resolved by the end of July.