Briefly Speaking ...

06/18/2004 12:00 am EST

Focus:

Here, we offer a potpourri of ideas: airline picks from Dennis Slothower, dividend stocks from Barbara Marcin, several favorite options trades from Larry McMillan, the best timber stocks from Richard Young , and a favorite food-commodity play from Eric Roseman.

Slothower, Dennis"We are seeing bullish technical signals, which suggest that you need to get ready to commit the balance of your cash positions," says Dennis Slothower, editor of Stealth Stocks . "Several indicators are now at the very bottom and poised to take off. I think corporate earnings are going to be extremely impressive this quarter. With the market trading sideways this quarter, another big drop in p/e’s is about to happen, making stocks a very good buy. One sector that has been badly beaten down but should benefit in a falling crude oil environment is the airline industry. Two stocks that I like are Mesa Airlines (MESA NASDAQ) and AirTrans Holdings (AAI NYSE). These two companies are doing well now, in spite of high crude oil prices, but should really prosper if crude oil can slide further."

Marcin, Barbara"One savvy investment manager who thinks dividend stocks are about to have their day in the sun is Barbara Marcin, manager of Gabelli Blue Chip Value Fund (GABBX)," notes Matt Schifirin , senior editor for Forbes. "Last year, Marcin's value fund gained 44%. Lately, she has been on a spree buying dividend-paying stocks. ‘Companies are boosting dividend rates at one of the fastest rates in years,’ said Marcin to a group of planners at a recent meeting of New York's Financial Planning Association. ‘They typically don't do that unless they are sure they can maintain their earnings and cash flow.’ Among telecom stocks, she likes Verizon Communications (VZ NYSE), which has a 4% yield; SBC Communications (SBC NYSE), yielding 5%; and AT&T (T NYSE), with a 5.5% yield. Among financial stocks, she owns Washington Mutual (WM NYSE), with a yield of 4.3%; Citigroup (C NYSE), yielding 3.3%; and Bank of America (BAC NYSE), with yield of 3.95%."

McMillan, Lawrence"The recent decline looks like nothing more than the ‘normal’ sharp, but short-lived sell-off," says Larry McMillan editor of The Option Strategist . "Among individual options positions, we like Nokia ( NOK NYSE) and recommend the Nokia October 15 calls at a price of 1.00 or less. Use a stop if Nokia closes below 13. W e also like American Express (AXP NYSE) and suggest the American Express October 50 calls at a price of 3.40 or less. Use any close in the stock below 49.5 as a mental closing stop. AXP has begun to move higher over the past few weeks andgiven the fact that its put-call ratio buy and sell signals are usually reliable we feel it has more room to go on the upside. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD NYSE) suffered badly when growth projections didn’t keep pace with over-optimistic estimates. After gapping lower, nearly a month ago, KKD has stabilized and is trying to complete a basing formation. A close above 23 would complete that base. We recommend a conditional buy for the KKD August 22.5 calls, if KKD closes above the 23 level. If bought, uses 21.5 as a mental closing stop.

Young, Richard"Investors should hold shares of timber firms as a counter-balance to an investment portfolio," notes Richard Young, editor of Investing Intelligence. "Deltic Timber (DEL NYSE) grows and harvests timber and manufactures and markets lumber. The company owns over 400,000 acres of timberland primarily in Arkansas and North Louisiana. The firm’s real estate unit is engaged in both residential and commercial sales. Plum Creek Timber (PCL NYSE) is a REIT that produces lumber, plywood, and medium-density fiberboard. The company owns eight million acres of timberland and ten wood-processing mills. The issue provides a yield of 4.49%. Meanwhile, our latest addition to our monster stock list is Rayonier (RYN NYSE), which owns 2.2 million acres of timberland in the US and New Zealand. Effective January 2004, RYN converted to REIT status. It will now pay out to shareholders annually most of its earnings. The current yield is 5.7%. Long term, I’d look for a total return consisting of current yield plus capital appreciation to match inflation, thus providing your investment with purchasing power protection."

Roseman, Eric"Following a mild correction in commodity prices, the trend remains firmly intact and as bullish as ever," says Eric Roseman, editor of Commodity Trend Alert . "Anyone having doubts about this bull market in hard assets is not looking at the statistics. The key to this new bull market lies in Chinese demand, relatively low global interest rates, and a weak dollar. I think all three conditions will remain in place, providing further support for most raw material prices in the 2000s. Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM NYSE) is America's largest processor of commodity-based ingredients, ranging from oilseeds, corn, wheat, and other agricultural products, providing nearly 1,000 ingredients for virtually every food application. In my option, the stock is heading much higher as the bull market in earnings drives sales through the roof. Here you have all the fundamentals for a great rally, supported by a bull market in the commodities sector for ADM products, huge insider buying, and a stock chart looking like a champ as it breaks resistance levels on superb earnings."

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