Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 23, 2001 / 4 Elul, 5761

James K. Glassman

Jim Glassman
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Stocks on the A-List

http://www.jewishworldreview.com --
EACH YEAR, the personal finance magazine Worth polls its readers on the products they use and enjoy. A lot of magazines conduct reader surveys, of course, but there are a few reasons why this one may be of particular interest to tech investors.

For starters, the average Worth subscriber maintains an investment portfolio amounting to $932,000 - yes, even after the NASDAQ meltdown. So we're talking about a fairly elite audience, one that has a lot of money to spend on the consumer side, and probably a disproportionately large influence on corporate purchasing decisions. In a word, they're players.

In addition, many of the product categories chosen by Worth involve technology, so the results of this year's survey may be interesting to consider as you look for the tech firms that will continue to grow and thrive in coming years. Worth calls it "The A-List," the group of products that are first in the hearts of the people who read the magazine. Worth ranks them in two ways -- those products that received the highest satisfaction rankings among subscribers who had used them, and a "Popular Choice" award for the products used by the largest number of readers.

In just three of the categories, the same product won both the top satisfaction ranking and the Popular Choice award. And all three involve tech products. Morningstar.com was the big winner among online financial research sites, so you might want to check it out for its world-class rating system and its abundant statistics on both stocks and mutual funds. But since Morningstar is not a publicly traded firm, this pick doesn't immediately suggest an investment opportunity.

The other two double winners represent intriguing investment options. In the category for personal digital assistants, the double winner was Palm, Inc. (symbol: PALM), maker of those convenient handheld computing devices (also called PDAs, or Personal Digital Assistants). The stock has been beaten up in the past year, falling from a high of $67 a share down to a recent $4. But Palm is still THE brand name in an industry that appears to have enormous potential. And the Worth survey represents a vote of confidence from a very influential group of consumers. Will Palm and its often-maligned management end up getting crushed by Microsoft in this space? Possibly, but if the whole world goes wireless, being a scrappy #2 in the PDA market might not be that bad. And if Palm can right itself and continue to lead the industry, this stock looks awfully cheap.

In the laptop category, Dell Computer Corp. (symbol: DELL) won on both counts. Dell just reported that it lost $101 million in the latest quarter (after a $700 million-plus write-off for costs related to job cuts and plant shutdowns), but it is a superbly managed company whose products and service are a continuing hit with customers.

While the rest of its industry suffers through a slump, the world leader in PC sales continues to grab market share and chase the lead in servers as well. According to a report from market research firm IDC on the second quarter of 2001: "Dell's aggressive pricing and ability to react quickly to changing market conditions allowed the market leader to further distance itself from competitors. The company was alone among the top vendors in growing shipments and market share as its rivals struggled to preserve volume and protect margins. Dell far outpaced growth in all regions, including 10% growth in its core U.S. market, and over 40% growth in the rapidly slowing Asian markets."

Dell is becoming the next IBM, and appears to be an outstanding part of a diversified portfolio. As full disclosure: I am a Dell shareholder. But don't let that influence you either way.


JWR contributor James K. Glassman is the host of Tech Central Station. Comment by clicking here.

Up

08/17/01: Labor and management finding online learning to their liking
08/08/01: Game makers poised to profit
07/19/01: Trade Promotion Authority: High-Techís Key Component for Competitiveness
07/12/01: Nothingís arbitrary about the contrarians
06/27/01: Look to Politics to Find Broadband's Market Cap Shortfall
06/22/01: Tech Commodity Buys Available for Mining
06/18/01: The Blackout Portfolio
06/14/01: The conservation myth stars as latest (sub)urban legend
06/07/01: Will America go high tech on the high seas?
06/05/01: 'Price gouging' doesn't cut it as reason for rising energy prices
06/01/01: Authentication tools opening up opportunities in online security
05/25/01: 'Price gouging' doesnít cut it as reason for rising energy prices
05/21/01: Banking on High-Tech Education
05/17/01: It's No Time to Go Wobbly on Kyoto
05/02/01: Diversify with techís leaders
04/26/01: To Revive The New Economy, Release A Chokehold   —   Break Up The Bells
04/24/01: Whoís To Blame For Broadband Crisis? Wired Article Points To Bells
04/19/01: The Bush Budget
04/12/01: To revive The New Economy, release a chokehold --- break up the Bells
04/04/01: Even as stocks have fallen, the Net keeps booming
03/28/01: Whereís The Profit In Biotech Future?
03/22/01: The Joy of Debt: The last thing we should want is a U.S. Treasury flush with cash
03/19/01: 'Defensive' Stocks in the NASDAQ
03/15/01: Bush administration must say no to Jane and Kyoto
03/08/01: Time to buy small caps? Consider these five great techs
03/01/01: Billís and Larryís continued political adventures
02/26/01: Chips on the Dips?
02/23/01: How Tauzin Can Keep His Word And Stop Telecom "Remonopolization"
02/13/01: Consumers, WAKE UP! Middlemen are ripping you off
02/02/01: Publicity-Seeking Politicians and Contingency-Fee Lawyers Corrupt the Law
01/26/01: DoubleClick, eBay And Their Promising Ilk
01/24/01: Will Cyberspace Look Like France or America?
12/27/00: Cut interest, taxes and regulation to save high-tech economy
12/20/00: Close, But No Big Czar
12/15/00: A Down Year? Maybe. But Letís Put It in Perspective
12/13/00: Clintonís sorry midnight race into history
12/07/00: Is Telecomís Future The Bells, The Bells, and Only The Bells?
12/01/00: Money talks and walks in election aftermath
11/29/00: Climate Treaty Deadlock Shows Lack of Consensus and Common Sense
11/23/00: Climate change participants donít listen to reasons for uncertainty
11/21/00: Will Regulators Create a Recession?
11/14/00: The Election and the Market
10/26/00: Hang on for the long term
10/25/00: On privacy, one size doesnít fit all
10/24/00: Perish the bearish thought
10/19/00: Beating hunger --- the biggest prize
10/13/00: Way to play biotech
10/12/00: Bush vs. Gore on Technology
10/11/00: Global Climate Scare: Fools Rush In
10/05/00: Avoid the Apple Trap
10/03/00: Goodbye, anti-Microsoft crusader --- and good riddance
09/29/00: Should You Invest in Tech IPOs?
09/27/00: Could technology end airline delays?
09/22/00: Donít Forget Small Caps
09/20/00: Is the New York Times Rooting for Disaster?
09/13/00: The Best Argument Against Net Regulation
08/30/00: Political Risk in Big Drug Stocks
07/27/00: Tech Dividends
07/25/00: Government Privacy Violators
07/20/00: If I Had to Pick One Tech Stock
07/18/00: Our Favorite Lawsuit
07/13/00: Silicon Valley East
07/11/00: Election 2000: Year of the Investor Class?
07/07/00: Adventures on the Amazon.com
07/06/00:The Difference Between Bill Gates and Larry Ellison
06/29/00: In the Chips
06/27/00: Free market wins in Federal Court!
06/22/00: Wireless Bargains?
06/20/00: Is Your SUV Warming the Planet?
06/15/00: Shopping for Government
06/13/00: Top 10 Tech Stocks
06/08/00: Riding the eBook Wave
06/06/00: "The Last Mile"
06/02/00: Keep Buying!
05/31/00: Who Asked the FTC to Regulate Online Privacy?
05/25/00: "When Itís Time to Sell"
05/23/00: End the "Telephone Tax"
05/16/00: Time Warner Gets a Bad Rap

© 2000, Tech Central Station