Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:
David Asman: We have national editor Bob Lenzner with us, along with senior editor Elizabeth MacDonald, staff writer Leigh Gallagher and senior reporter Victoria Murphy. Bob, you recommended Tyco (TYC) back when it was $8. What is it now?
Bob Lenzner, national editor: $17. At a luncheon this week, Bill Miller of Money Managers of America suggested that both Tyco and Comcast (CMCSA) are going to double and are on his list of stocks to buy.
David Asman: Wait a minute, Tyco and Comcast are going to double? Within what amount of time?
Bob Lenzner: He didn't give a time on Tyco and he gave three years on Comcast. Comcast is a cable company. Just bought AT&T's cable.
David Asman: You recommended Tyco at $8. It's now $17. Will it double again?
Bob Lenzner: It's not me saying it. It's Bill Miller saying it and he's got one of the most fabulous records in managing money in America.
Leigh Gallagher, staff writer: He's made some precious bets this year, Kodak (EK) being one. He also made bets on AOL (AOL) and those obviously didn't pan out, but he's one to watch.
David Asman: What do you think about Tyco?
Leigh Gallagher: Well, it did as Bob said.
Bob Lenzner: It is at its biggest position. 6 percent of the portfolio
David Asman: Well, you would have thought it was a counter-trend because of all the scandals they had, but Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) is the most counter-intuitive stock pick I would have imagined.
Leigh Gallagher: It is, but I'm going for it. Carnival is the $15 billion leisure cruise conglomerate. It owns six or seven brands under Carnival. It's down to about $26 right now and there has been many recent and well-publicized episodes of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships. Only two were Carnival's, but the industry's really suffering because of this right now. This is pure, overblown media hype, just like the shark epidemic of two summers ago.
David Asman: But people were getting sick.
Leigh Gallagher: They were, but this happens all the time. This happens every year. There was an outbreak in Alaska on six cruise ships you never heard about. Bottom line is this is a solid company. People are flocking towards cruises like never before. There are record numbers.
David Asman: Victoria, you agree with Leigh on this?
Victoria Murphy, senior reporter: Yeah, I agree with Leigh for two reasons. First of all, if you look at January's prices for cruises, they're either flat or up, so people aren't flocking away despite the illnesses. Also, Carnival is an especially good pick because they are likely to acquire Princess, which will make them a cruise Goliath. It will put them in a really good spot.
Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: It's almost as if the companies want the investors to ride their cruise ships through a strait of formaldehyde before they invest. It seems to be what's keeping the stocks up. The stock has some price pressures, but I think what you're saying is baby boomers are going to flock to convenience and they're going to avoid air travel because they're scared.
David Asman: Carnival Cruise Line is a counter-trend. Let's go to Victoria Murphy. BMC (BMC), a software company, Victoria?
Victoria Murphy: Yeah, I think BMC Software is in the right place at the right time and they're not getting the credit for it. They make software that helps companies cut costs on stuff like servers and storage. They also recently made an acquisition of a company called Remedy that adds to their product line, but more importantly gives them about 6,000 new customers to cross-sell. So, I think they're in a good spot.