Recap of Saturday, October 20

Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:

Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: Despite Cipro craze, Bayer (BAYZY) stock is not a buy! Bayer's going to be making probably 200 million Cipro tablets within the next month.  Investors are saying that that's probably about $450 million in sales.  What does that do to Bayer's bottom line?  Guess what.. Bayer is one of the worst stocks.  It's trading way too high and it's facing numerous lawsuits because of an alleged 52 deaths from its cholesterol drug, Baycol.

Bob Lenzner, national editor:  Bayer's earnings are going down.

MacDonald:  It costs $350 a month for a full supply of Cipro.  The generic drug is coming in at $10 a month…

David Asman, host:  Okay. There are a lot of people who just want to get away from all this.  Bob, what do you have?   

Lenzner:  Anheuser-Busch (BUD) has 50% of the beer market in the US.  It always out-performs the stock market in recessions.  Morgan Stanley says BUD will increase its earnings 11%.  It's not a cheap stock but it's had a fantastic performance.

Asman:  So, when times are bad, people soak up the suds.  Bill Baldwin, your turn.

Bill Baldwin, editor:  Because anthrax is creeping into secure buildings, ID security will have to get smarter.  The world leader in smart card technology is Schlumberger (SLB) -- the oil service comapny. SLB just announced a big deal with the defense department whereby one of their cards will give you limited network access and building access.

Asman:  Oracle's Larry Ellison just met with Attorney General John Ashcroft pushing the same idea.  Is Oracle a buy here also?

Baldwin:  I don't know if Oracle will get a piece of the action. I feel confident that Schlumberger will. 

Dennis Kneale, managing editor:  All of these security systems will need computers and computer systems to keep track of them.  There are two surprise companies here, Accenture (ACN) and Electronic Data Systems (EDS).  Accenture was up 17% in sales growth in the quarter that just ended in August.

Asman:  What does Accenture do?

MacDonald:  Accenture reconfigures the digital programming in your computer.  And this company had $350 million in losses but a record $1 billion in sales.

Lenzner:  I did a cover story on Accenture two years ago and since then they've added 13,000 employees and $2-3 billion in sales and this was at a time when information selling fell off a cliff.

Kneale:  EDS is also a good company.  70% of EDS revenue is outsourcing.

Makers & Breakers

Procter & Gamble (PG)

Max Ansbacher, Ansbacher Investment Management: MAKER
PG is a company that, in the midst of all this uncertainty, will continue to do its work.  Americans will continue to brush their teeth, and wash themselves with Ivory soap.  The S&P is down 19% this year.  The category PG is in is only down 3%.

Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: BREAKER 
If I want safety with a little bit of income, I'll take treasury securities.  I see no reason to pay 21 times earnings for a company that hasn't got any big growth in it.

Jim Clash, associate editor: BREAKER
I have to agree with Jim. Yes, it's a defensive stock, but I think you're much better with treasury bills.

Ansbacher: PG says their earnings will grow 10% in the foreseeable future.

Ford Motor Company (F)

Ansbacher: MAKER
Ford had huge problems with their tires as we all know, but now they're selling bonds and trying to recuperate.  It's the second largest motor company in America.  It's a good buy and even has a dividend.  I think it's on its way back.

I don't have a car, but if I were about to buy one I'd be a little skeptical about Ford.  I think it's going to be a while before people start buying the big ticket items.

Michaels: BREAKER
I'm torn on this one.  I think if you buy Ford now, in 5 years you'll feel pretty good that you bought it.  But I think that there's a good chance that you're going to get it cheaper.  General Motors (GM) is practically giving cars away.  I think you wait on Ford.