Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:
David Asman: Chana, now these digital cameras are paying off for a couple of companies. Which ones?
Chana Schoenberger, staff writer: Well, Dell (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are the most obvious candidates here. Dell has announced, and I actually saw Michael Dell say this at a conference last weekend – he is a man that I would not want to bet against – they are coming out with a new line of consumer electronics.
David Asman: Based on all-new technology, new chips, et cetera.
Chana Schoenberger: Well, the idea is just that you’ll be able to buy it cheaper from Dell, just like you can buy everything cheaper from Dell.
Mike Ozanian: I like Dell; I don’t like H.P. The reason is that this is a commodity business, or rapidly turning into one, and that means that the advantage goes to the low-cost producer. That’s why I like Dell, and not H.P.
Chana Schoenberger: Actually, H.P. has interoperability between its PCs and its cameras, which means the camera docks right into the PC. For people who don’t know a lot about computers, that’s very compelling.
David Asman: OK, Mike. Something else that has become very popular, unfortunately, are hip and knee replacements. There’s a company that makes out from that?
Mike Ozanian: Zimmer Holdings (ZMH). They just bought Centerpulse which was Sweden’s company that made the same implants. They were the largest makers of implants in Europe. Zimmer bought them, they now usurped Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) as the largest maker of such products. The stock is probably going to go up to $70 within the next year.
Leigh Gallagher, staff writer: I think it’s a great company. We also recommended a similar company, Stryker (SYK), last July at $46 and it’s now above $70. I think there is truth in what Mike is saying.
David Asman: OK Leigh, let’s stay with you and talk about high oil prices. Is there a way to get rich off of that?
Leigh Gallagher: There is. ExxonMobil (XOM), the world’s largest oil company, is a steady stock for unsteady times.
David Asman: Now this is the perfect stock that we’ve been talking about. Why is it perfect?
Leigh Gallagher: It’s perfect because it’s got steady growth, consistent earnings, this is a company that makes money in a difficult environment, and it pays a dividend of 3 percent.
David Asman: Well Mike, there are a lot of other oil stocks out there, why Exxon and why not one of them?
Mike Ozanian: The reason why I like them is because oil is, what? $30 a barrel right now? The way the balance sheet is structured for Exxon, they can make money whether oil is $20 or $40 a barrel.
Leigh Gallagher: That’s true, and if oil prices rise, they can benefit more, and it trades on 14 times earnings.
Makers & Breakers
Sinclair Broadcast (SBGI)
Eric Green, senior portfolio manager at Penn Capital Management: MAKER
We love Sinclair because it’s a very cheap stock with a lot of catalysts. The stock has been hit by some challenges to media regulation, recently. We think that there are a lot of catalysts going forward, fundamentally. The political spending will pick up, advertising spending is going to pick up as the economy picks up. In addition, the Olympics are coming around the corner. We’re going to have some very positive, year over year comps for Sinclair.
Pete Newcomb, senior editor: MAKER
This is a company which runs with 45 percent operating margins and, you know what? I think the ownership restrictions are going to be lifted, and I think this will be a nice takeover play.
Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: MAKER
As a takeover play or as an earnings play, I can’t quarrel with it. But as an investment, I’d rather buy the Sinclair Preferred (SBGIP). 7 percent tax advantaged dividend and convertible into 2.2 shares of stock. You do that and you get a $3 annual dividend, 7 percent tax advantaged, and it’ll move with the stock.
Eric Green: We do own the Sinclair preferred, as well.
Host Marriott (HMT)
Eric Green: MAKER
The hotel sector is not priced into the recovery fully, it’s one of those sectors that hasn’t. Host Marriott is a very well-run company. It’s trading at a big discount to its net asset value. It paid $1 in dividends, two years ago. They have not paid their dividend since then. Ultimately, they will bring it back. We think that business spending takes off again and the hotel sector should do extremely well.
Jim Michaels: BREAKER
I don’t like it. It may sound yield-happy, but if it doesn’t pay a dividend, I don’t like it. It’s had a spotty record, and, as far as net asset value, you couldn’t realize that net asset value in this hotel market today. I’m a breaker.
Pete Newcomb: MAKER
I like it. I think travel spending is going to increase. I think these kinds of stocks have been really unfairly beaten. I like it.
Eric Green: Jim makes a really good point, that it’s hard to realize the net asset value of the hotel rooms, but that’s in a lousy market. Supply has been really constrained over the past couple of years in a down market. The fundamentals look very good.