Sunday, November 05, 2006

Barron's Summary

Barron’s cover story discusses US markets generally. One hedge fund manager has built his cash position to 30% of assets under mgmt. He thinks the Dow will fall to 11,300 by year end, and slide to 10,900 by mid-‘07. Several fund managers highlighted favour McCormick (MKC), Kellogg (K), P&G (PG), Dell (DELL), Genentech (DNA), J&J (JNJ), Coca-Cola (KO), White Mountains Insurance (WTM) and Talisman Energy (TLM). Managers say most overvalued issue is Google (GOOG), other pans include General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and CME (CME).

Notablecalls: In the name of truth, we must add that: „The Big Money Poll's report card shows that the stocks money managers deemed most overvalued in the fall '05 and spring '06 surveys in fact delivered greater returns in the ensuing months than the stocks the pros liked most. Blame the BlackBerry: Shares of Research in Motion (RIMM) boosted returns for the pans by rising 44% over 6 months, and 79% over 12.”

So, should we buy Google?

Fund manager picks highlighted. US listed co’s include CVS and BAB.

Evercore (EVR) shares, which have surged from 21 after an August IPO to a recent 35, could easily fall into the 20s if the merger boom subsides or the firm loses mkt share.

Now about 133, the shares of Potash (POT) could bounce around over short stretches. But they're likely to top bullish price targets of 145 and keep climbing for the rest of the decade.

As recently as April, ASV (ASVI) shares were near 35. Now they're at 14.50 and some investors say 10 would be a better reflection of the bulldozer maker's prospects.

„The Trader” section discusses Chico’s FAS (CHS), whose stock dropped about 13% last week on weak comps. James Hardesty, CIO at Hardesty Capital Mgmt began buying shares back in Aug and Sep, and he bought some more last week. The co is partly suffering from the national retail slowdown, he says, but Chico's is focusing its expansion investments on White House/Black Mkt, which has many fewer outlets than the Chico's stores, and a nice demographic, the avg customer is 42 and has annual income of $75K. The co should get itself back on track by next year, at a much lower-than-historical growth rate, but still good, of 20%, he adds. And since the stock now trades at about 16x earnings ests of $1.28 a share for the fiscal Jan’08, it's an opportunity, he contends. There are other interesting long-term bullish signs, too, like increased buying of shares by insiders.

“The Trader” section also suggests that CIT (CIT) shares could get a lift if the co opts to spin off its valuable aircraft-leasing business. On the co's earnings conference call last month, CEO Jeff Peek said CIT is "clearly examining ways in which we could monetize some of the value in our portfolio" of aircraft leases. Peek, a former Merrill Lynch exec, said CIT expects to make a decision by year-end.

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