Sunday, October 22, 2006

Barron's Summary

Barron’s discusses Jones Apparel (JNY), whose shares trades at $33 a share, or 13 times 2007 estimates. If the company beats earnings forecasts in coming quarters, the multiple could expand and its shares could rally toward 40.

According to the Barron’s, well-run and with excellent footholds in several electronics-testing markets, Agilent (A) is worth a look. Its shares should rise 15% over the next year.

At a current stock price of $39, Barnes & Noble's (BKS) valuation compares favorably with that of recent retailer buyouts. Shareholders would likely reap at least a 25% premium.

A trade idea highlighted in „The Trader” column: The quantitative and derivatives strategists at Credit Suisse took note last week of the severe outperformance of software vs semiconductors in the past 9 months. The Software HOLDERS (SWH) has outperformed the Semiconductor HOLDERS (SMH) by 25 percentage points since spring. In the past 5 years, these ETFs have had an 80% correlation, but with wide swings in relative performance over shorter periods. The CS researchers were recommending buying the SMH and shorting the SWH to play a reversion to the sectors' average relationship over the next 8-12 months. These swings can always go farther than expected, but the current divergence is nearing extremes hit only twice in the past 5 years, after which it reversed dramatically.

„The Trader” column also highlights Integrated Device Technology (IDTI), which recently acquired ICS. The stock has thrived as earnings momentum surged and it digested the ICS merger, trading at 14.81 on Fri. The stock today looks at least as attractive as it did last Nov. Back then, its earnings for the MarFY were expected to be around 71c a share; the present forecast is for $1.03, and at least one large investor in IDT thinks the Street-high est of $1.20 is more likely, with upside from there into the following FY. If so, the shares are rather inexpensive, at 12x F’07 earnings. One of the major expected benefits of the ICS merger was the ability to push ICS' chip production through IDT's spare plants. Those dividends have yet to kick in fully, say IDT bulls.

“Technology Trader” column discusses Nokia (NOK) and Motorola (MOT). For 4 years, Nokia repeatedly has missed the latest trends in cellphone designs, first clamshells, now thinness. But the co with the most cutting-edge phones might not have the most upside. Nonetheless, it has hung on to its dominant 36% global phone-mkt share. Nokia's long-term financial outlook is brighter. Next year the co's net is expected to rise about 18%, vs 15% at Motorola. Moto's thin phones didn't help the co's profitability in the 3Q. "What's important to shareholders is having a reasonable operating profit, and that's what Nokia has focused on," says Albert Lin, of AmTech. He has a Buy rating on Nokia and thinks it could hit $25. Moto is rated Hold.

Fund holdings highlighted: GE, MSFT, PFE, HBC, AMGN, SNY, TRI, NZT, BUD and AMP.

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