The Chart du Jour

A Better Candidate for the "Nonsensical Nine"

February 13, 2001

By, Barclay T. Leib

Chart constructed using Advanced GET End-of-Day

As readers of this site know, one of the few stocks we have favored in recent months has been Campbell's Soup. We have done so both because of its chart pattern and the prospect that someday soon this venerable Camden-NJ-based consumer food stock is going to get sold.

A week ago, Bloomberg columnist John Dorfman poked fun at Campbell's, citing it as one of his "Nonsensical Nine" for the year 2001, and berating its high debt-equity ratio of 23-1. Dorfman had previously bashed Campbell's in an article entitled "Five Stocks that Would Make Benjamin Graham Choke," only to see the stock rally 20% in his face. Perhaps it is Dorfman who should be choking.

Now, don't get us wrong. We are the first to admit that Campbell's has way too much debt. That's part of the reason we think the still large family holders of this stock will opt to sell out instead of holding on. We also would like to ask Mr. Dorfman, even with all this debt, which is the better buy? Campbell's Soup trading at 19 times trailing earnings, or another consumer food company Coca-Cola (pictured above) currently trading at 69 times trailing earnings? With Coke pretty much going the way of MacDonald's in popularity, but still sporting such a lofty P/E, maybe Dorfman should have named Coca-Cola as one of his "Nonsensical Nine" in lieu of Campbell's.

While we are on the subject, technically we see the stock of Coca-Cola (KO) likely to fail under its 200-day moving average (currently rolling over just above the recent trading range), and then potentially head toward a Fibonacci objective just under $32 a share.

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