Neil Cavuto was joined by Jim Rogers, author of Adventure Capitalist; Gregg Hymowitz, founder of Entrust Capital and co-chair of Rep. Richard Gephardt’s presidential campaign; Ben Stein, author of Yes, You Can Time the Market! and former advisor to Pres. Nixon; Rosanne Badowski, author of Managing Up; and Georges Leclere, executive director of the International TV Academy.
More For Your Money: Will Martha’s Indictment Hurt Stocks?
Neil Cavuto: Martha Stewart indicted and in the fight of her life. The Feds trying to make an example of her, a poster child for "rich people behaving badly" on Wall Street. But is this actually a bad thing for investors that will stop us all from getting more for your money?
Gregg Hymowitz: If you read the actual indictment, the amount we're talking about is $44,000. This is small potatoes. They didn't even get her on the insider trading. The Ebbers, the Skillings and the Lays, these are the guys who cost investors billions and billions of dollars. And those guys are still out there. So until you see those people are arrested, you're not going to see investor confidence come back.
Jim Rogers: If I was in the jury for Martha's case I'd vote that she was innocent. That wasn't insider trading. What Jack Grubman did is ten times worse than what Martha Stewart did, and that guy isn't going to jail.
Ben Stein: To tell you the truth, I think she was poorly represented. She should've compromised. To me, it was straight up and down insider trading and fraud. But this is chump change. Gary Winnick did insider trading with close to a billion dollars and he's getting off scott free.
Neil Cavuto: Rosanne, the wrap against Martha was that she was not a good manager and not good to her people. You work for one of the world's most acclaimed managers, Jack Welch. Do you think that's why she's in this predicament?
Rosanne Badowski: I think the media finds negative aspects about people and it tends to perpetuate those characteristics. And that’s what’s going on here. That said, a company's longevity depends on the management that's going to carry it through. Great leaders and CEO's pick the right people who make great companies.
Neil Cavuto: People are now asking themselves, where should they put their money if they have doubts about a manager?
Ben Stein: Index funds diversify you away from the bad management.
Jim Rogers: But WorldCom, Enron and Cisco are stocks that effect the index.
Ben Stein: But that's more than if you had just owned those stocks individually. When I say diversified I mean not four or five companies. I mean more like 400 or 500.
Gregg Hymowitz: Good management is one of the most crucial things we examine when we look at companies. One company we like and own is Viacom (VIA-b shares). It's got a top notch management team of Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmazin. The interesting thing is you're now paying a premium for that great management.
Jim Rogers: Management is important, but not the most important thing. The economics of that industry is also important. I'm not buying, I'm selling stocks these days and I would sell Fannie Mae (FNM) because of its management.
Ben Stein: The name that screams out to me is Warren Buffett and his stock, Berthshire Hathaway (BRK-b shares).
Is Iran the Biggest Obstacle to a Bull Market?
Neil Cavuto: Forget about Martha Stewart, Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda -- Is Iran the biggest threat to a new bull market?
Ben Stein: Iran is the main threat to stability in the Middle East and to the stability of the oil supplies there. Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons and is one of the remaining members of the Axis of Evil. I think if we could get the mullahs out of that country, the area would be a much calmer place and the oil supplies would be much more stable.
Col. Hunt: Iran supports Hezbollah and terrorism. Having said that, I don't think we should go into Iran like we went into Iraq. We have enough on our plate as it is. From a terrorism standpoint though, Iran has to go. We have to deal with them.
Jim Rogers: It's true, we have to get rid of the mullahs. The Iranians want to get rid of the mullahs. And Ben you're wrong, if we invade Iran the market is not going to go up. It will go down.