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, a potential for a thousand percent increase?
Bob Lenzner, national editor: Well, a very smart investment man called the demise of the investment companies and Japanese banks well before it happened. He's been trying to get me to invest in gold for over a year. Gold is up 38 percent, so we missed the beginning of it, but he's predicting it will go up another ten times based on a whole number of things - that people are losing faith in the dollar, war is coming, oil is up, what will you do to preserve the safety and value of your money?
David Asman: Mike, are you a "goldfinger", as well?
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: This guy is wired into the smartest moneymen on Wall Street, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one. The long-term bond rate has been going down. In fact, it's below 5 percent. That's never happened when gold is about to take off, since WWII.
Bob Lenzner: I don't know what bond rates have to do with the price of gold.
Mike Ozanian: Dissipation of inflation.
Bob Lenzner: He's saying whether there's deflation or inflation, the gold's going to go up.
David Asman: All right, look to gold. Melanie, you have the cover story on PepsiCo (PEP).
Melanie Wells, senior editor: Interesting stuff there. This is a company who has become huge by selling fat, sugar and calories. They own Frito Lay. What they're trying to do now is introduce snacks without so much sodium and fat. They want to avoid the lawsuits and if they can convince us to buy this stuff, they can charge a little bit more for it.
David Asman: Bottom line is it good for the stock?
Melanie Wells: It could be down the road. What they need to do now is convince people who don't eat snack foods that they want to eat these healthy foods.
David Asman: Joanne, what do you think?
Joanne Gordon, staff writer: I think it's a dangerous play. They've got to do it, but how do you start selling healthy foods without alienating your core customers who are gobbling Fritos?
Melanie Wells: Exactly. And that's tricky. They don't quite have that figured out yet. How do you sell this stuff without apologizing for Pepsi and for Doritos? They're still working it out. It's not perfect. People who are fat with cash may want to find a smaller company that sells healthier stuff.
David Asman: From one chip to another kind of chip. Mike?
Mike Ozanian: I'm a fan of Linear Technology (LLTC). They make analog chips. That's the high end of the market of microprocessors. Demand is up over 10 percent. I think profits are going to go up more than 20 percent in the next two or three years.
David Asman: But are people buying computers? I bought one this year for my daughter, but are other people buying them?
Mike Ozanian: The computer and telecom market, and the industries they sell to have started to deplete their inventories of the analog chips. This is different from what Intel (INTC) sells and Texas Instruments, which is the low end.
Bob Lenzner: As the price of computers comes down, the prices of the chips are going to come down and I don't see a big boom over. I don't think, given the price of that stock that it's really a good buy right now.