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The Two Best Stocks to Own in a Recession

By Tom Dyson, publisher, The Palm Beach Letter
Monday, June 30, 2008

Detroit's auto industry was one of the spectacular investment stories of the 20th century. The auto industry became America's largest industry by 1929. Detroit's population rose 500% during this time. Detroit's auto industry bloomed again after the second world war...
But by the late 1970s, everything had fallen apart...
Cheap competition and wage inflation forced Detroit's automakers to move their plants to Mexico. Two different oil crises gifted large chunks of Detroit's market share to the Japanese and their small cars. Riots broke out, workers got fired, and major manufacturing towns like Detroit, Saginaw, and Flint fell apart.
But none of this bothered Ken.
I met Ken in Detroit last year on a business trip. He made hundreds of millions of dollars supplying auto parts during the collapse of Detroit's auto industry. He went into business just as the decline began. And the worse the conditions got for Detroit's automakers, the more money Ken's businesses made...
Here's his secret to making money in a depression...
In 1971, Ken graduated from college and went to work at a factory making industrial fasteners for the auto industry. Six months after he started work, the factory went bust. So Ken decided to go to graduate school instead. While filling out application forms for his prospective schools, he came up with a new method for manufacturing those industrial fasteners.
Ken was so sure of his idea, he used a university acceptance letter to secure a large student loan. Then he bought equipment at auction, rented a small industrial space, and started producing fasteners.
Twenty years later, Ken's company had reached $100 million in annual sales, producing fasteners, airbag canisters, highway construction tools, and dozens of other small manufactured components. Ken recently sold his company... And it became a division of a publicly traded business.
I asked Ken how his business was able to grow so fast in a shrinking industry.
"Simple," he said. "I made my fasteners cheaper than anyone else. When money got tight in Detroit, all the automakers came to me. I became the major supplier of fasteners in Detroit."
This is why business is booming at companies like McDonald's right now. McDonald's is probably the cheapest place to eat in America. You simply can't get cheaper food anywhere else... even in the supermarket. With the real estate and credit problems, Americans are tightening their budgets. So they're going to McDonald's for food instead of more expensive options. Sales at McDonald's have risen 5% in April and 7.7% in May.
It's the same at Wal-Mart. With inflation pushing up food and energy prices, consumers are looking for bargains. Wal-Mart is the cheapest place to shop on Earth. It's winning market share from more expensive retailers...
Wal-Mart's profit increased 6.9% in the recent quarter and its sales went up 10.2%.
Ken made millions in Detroit's recession making fasteners cheaper than anyone else. If there's a recession in the United States, I expect Wal-Mart and McDonald's will dominate their markets... just like Ken's business did in Detroit. Wal-Mart and McDonald's are the price leaders in their markets. They're up 35% and 20%, respectively in the last nine months... And the S&P has fallen 12%.
Good investing,

Market Notes

Halliburton (HAL)... oil services
Patterson-UTI (PTEN)... oil services
Carbo Ceramics (CRR)... oil services
Atwood Oceanics (ATW)... oil services
Key Energy Services (KEG)... oil services
National Oilwell Varco (NOV)... oil services
Spectra Energy (SE)... gas pipelines
U.S. Steel (X)... you guessed it
Schnitzer Steel (SCHN)... scrap steel
Fluor (FLR)... infrastructure
Quanta Services (PWR)... infrastructure
Crude oil, Natural gas, Gasoline, Corn, Soybeans, Cocoa


JetBlue (JBLU)... airline
US Airways (LCC)... airline 
Continental Airline (CAL)... airline
MGM Mirage (MGM)... casinos
Boyd Gaming (BYD)... casinos
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)... casinos
Las Vegas Sands (LVS)... casinos
Monarch Casinos (MCRI)... casinos
Winnebago (WGO)... RVs
Thor Industries (THO)... RVs
Fleetwood Enterprises (FLE)... RVs
Goodyear Tire (GT)... tires
News Corp (NWS)... media
Hershey (HSY)... candy
Playboy (PLA)... eye candy
American Express (AXP)... credit cards
Capital One Financial (COF)... credit cards
International Gaming (IGT)... gambling machines
Circuit City (CC)... landfill stuffing continues to suffer
Veolia Environnement (VE)... world's largest water stock
Honeywell (HON)... conglomerate
General Electric (GE)... conglomerate
United Technologies (UTX)... conglomerate
XM Satellite Radio (XMSR)... satellite radio
Legg Mason (LM)... asset management
Callaway Golf (ELY)... golf equipment
Whole Foods (WFMI)... expensive groceries
General Motors (GM)... read the letter from the Chairman
Lead, Nickel

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