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Former Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski (search) has become the poster boy for greed as lawyers try to prove he robbed Tyco of some $600 million to bankroll his lavish lifestyle.
But some say greed is good – it’s the juice that drives a healthy economy and the stock market.
Jonathan Hoenig of Capitalistpig Asset Management says greed is getting a bad reputation, and we should not confuse greed with theft, which is what Kozlowski stands accused of. He says greed is the engine that drives the economy because it stimulates Man’s desire to create and produce wealth. Jonathan says we should not shy away from the idea of greed; that greed should be celebrated as a vital economic stimulus.
Jonas Max Ferris of Maxfunds.com says Jonathan is confusing greed with ambition. He says greed is “taking what is not yours”. Jonathan says that’s theft, not greed!
Hilary Kramer of A&G Capital says Jonas is right.
Wayne Rogers of Wayne Rogers & Co agrees that Jonathan is confusing “greed” with “ambition”. He says Webster’s Dictionary defines greed as an “excessive and rapacious desire for money and possessions”. Jonathan says that definition does not disagree with his point that greed is a desire for money and that desire is a necessary ingredient to a healthy economy.
John “Bradshaw” Layfield, author of “Have More Money Now” says Jonathan’s premise for greed is correct, but it shouldn’t be confused with “passion” which is what he says drives a man like Bill Gates to create better computer software, or Tiger Woods to play better golf.
Be$t Bets: Get Greedy With These Stocks!
Our crew offered up the stocks that they just can’t get enough of.
• Bradshaw can't get enough...
FleetBoston Financial (FBF)
Friday's close (10-31-03): $40.39
Bradshaw says FleetBoston stock will benefit from the planned takeover by Bank of America (BAC). Jonathan says Bradshaw’s “sniffing” in the right area by picking a big money-center bank, but he says the premium has been taken out of this stock, and he’s not a buyer. Wayne thinks the regional banks are a better bet.
• Jonathan can't get enough...
Banco Santander Central Hispano S.A. (STD)
Friday's close (10-31-03): $9.53
Jonathan says this is an unknown name in a very hot sector (Latin American banks). Wayne says this is a good company, but he doesn’t’ agree that Latin American banks are as hot as Jonathan thinks they are right now. Bradshaw says there is too much instability in Latin American companies for him. He’d stick with an American bank like Citigroup (C)
• Wayne can't get enough of…
Pengrowth Energy (PGH)
Friday's close (10-31-03): $13.12
Wayne says this oil and gas royalty trust is a great company with a 14 percent yield. Jonathan says commodities are doing well, and are a good place to bet right now, but he’s playing the base metals more. Bradshaw says Pengrowth is a great bet.