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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Mike Norman, BIZRADIO talk show host, and Danielle Hughes, Divine Capital Markets president.
Trading Pit: Wiretap Worrie$
News last week of a terrorist plot thwarted in 2002. The plan was a West Coast 9/11, crashing a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles.
But President Bush is still facing hearings on wiretapping terrorists, disclosing secrets of how America is trying to stop the next 9/11.
Are these hearings hurting stocks by making Wall Street feel less sure about America's safety?
Gary B. Smith: The hearings are hurting stocks by making Wall Street feel less sure about America's safety. In our latest wars, we've always started strong, but then we can't finish the job. You've seen that in these hearings. I think this invites more terrorism. We need wiretapping because it helps our fight against terrorism. These hearings are sending a bad message. This hurts the market and makes people jittery.
Danielle Hughes: I think President Bush violated the law. Only Congress has the ultimate authority on surveillance and wiretapping, and Bush didn't use the proper channels of going through Congress. I believe in the hearings, but we don't know everything that's going on. We only know little drips and drabs of what's really happening. However, I don't think these hearings are affecting stocks at all.
Tobin Smith: What do people have to be afraid of? I don't understand this. Unless of course you're doing something you shouldn't like cheating on your spouse. But what could you say that would be more important than us finding people plotting against the United States? We're talking about terrorism! We're at war! My uncle used to do naval intelligence, years ago. They listened to every call that went out of the United States, and he said they caught five or six terrorists. We should be wiretapping and I think these hearings are hurting Wall Street.
Mike Norman: How are the hearings hurting Wall Street? All industries are doing well. However, the prospect that this program may be done away with is extremely frightening. Let's face it, the wiretapping program is one of the reasons that we haven't been hit yet. The stock market is just going along on its merry way. If this program is eliminated, we'll expose ourselves to a lot more danger and may be hit again. Then the market will see another crash similar to what we saw after 9/11.
Scott Bleier: Our country is at war and we've got to be proactive. The only way to do that is to wiretap. The NSA listened to every phone call throughout the forty years of the Cold War. As long as the government has had the technology, they have listened in, and will continue to do so. The President has the authority to carry this out, and I think the majority of the American public wants it to happen. The bottom line is we want to stop attacks and the market likes that. Only now, since the latest bin Laden comments, has the market addressed some of the terrorism issues. I don't think an attack is built into the market and that is a worry.
What's the best stock for any investor, from one month to 2 years?
Tobin Smith: My play for the next month is Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI). The company is going to put out its new subscription numbers and they are going to blow everyone away. This stock is going to $7.50 and I own it. (Sirius Satellite Radio closed on Friday at $5.74.)
Scott Bleier: Sirius is overpriced, over loved, and overvalued. I prefer XM Satellite Radio (XMSR).
Scott Bleier: I love 3 Com (COMS), which sells networking hardware and software like switchers and routers. It's a fallen technology angel, but it's in all the right areas of networking. In six months, you will see a nice return and I think it'll get to $7.50. I own and recommend the stock. (3Com closed on Friday at $5.00.)
Danielle Hughes: 3Com has yet to reach profitability. It has a lot of overhang and has moved up 40 percent since January.
Mike Norman: My pick for the next year is Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the largest producer of ethanol. Ethanol is going to be the next gasoline. This stock is fantastic and I own it. (Archer Daniels Midland closed on Friday at $30.72.)
Tobin Smith: It's a good idea, but I own and prefer Pacific Ethanol (PEIX).