Stock Tricks and Treats

Welcome, Fools and Ghouls, to our annual Halloween stock-picking extravaganza. This year, our writers have selected a number of Treats (stocks we think are good bets for the long haul) and Tricks (stocks we'd stay clear of right now). We've even thrown in a scary story for good measure, too.

Remember, while Halloween can be one of the best nights of the year, you still need to be careful out there. Unwrap your candy carefully, and do your homework anytime you're making an investment. Make sure Mom and Dad follow close behind while you're trick-or-treating, and just skip Jason Michael Krueger's house.

Here's our lineup for Halloween 2004:

Google: A Ghoulish Trick
Google
(Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has a dominant position, smart management, and growing revenue. So why wouldn't we touch it with a 10-foot pole? The devil is in its valuation.

Blue Nile: A Foolish Treat
With rock-bottom pricing, little bricks-and-mortar overhead, and hefty gross margins, online diamond retailer Blue Nile (Nasdaq: NILE  ) appears poised to please investors and pirates alike this Halloween.

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts: A Ghoulish Trick
The Donald heads off a bankruptcy with yet another recapitalization, but the Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (OTC BB: DJTC) remains among the walking dead.

Abercrombie & Fitch: A Foolish Treat
It has alternately hypnotized, scandalized, and scarified investors over the past year. Yet Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF  ) is one of America's top brand names, selling the young crowd wrinkled-up cargo shorts and pre-destroyed pants like crazy. Strong financials and an underrated catalyst make it a sinful, seasonal delight.

Intel: A Ghoulish Trick
Declining gross margins, a bag full of options, and ghosts in the machinery make Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) one spooky stock for the year ahead.

eSpeed: A Foolish Treat
One of two firms that dominate the world market for electronic bond trading, eSpeed (Nasdaq: ESPD  ) has been axed by 50% in the last seven months. Yes, it's been bloody. But this hidden gem stands a good chance to rise from the dead and reward investors.

Blockbuster: A Ghoulish Trick
Disappointing same-store sales and too much debt make Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI  ) a candidate for the crypt. Plus, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) just may eat its lunch.

John Deere: A Foolish Treat
Looking for a nutritious apple to go with all that chocolate in your trick-or-treat bag this year? John Deere (NYSE: DE  ) could be just the value play your portfolio needs.

Xybernaut: A Ghoulish Trick
The wearable computer maker markets a product that should sell itself on the "coolness" factor alone, but Xybernaut (Nasdaq: XYBR  ) has destroyed $160 million in shareholder value, and it looks like this one is going to be a victim of the headless horseman.

Regis: A Foolish Treat
Do you fear even the idea of getting your hair cut at the mall? Well, it's better than getting your locks clipped by Leatherface of Texas Chain Saw Massacre fame. In fact, it can be downright lucrative for investors. Regis (NYSE: RGS  ) is making good in a fragmented salon business.

Attack of the Killer Fees: A Scary Story
The terror is palpable in the lending industry. Over-limit fees, activation fees, annual fees. Convenience checks, balance transfers, credit insurance, ID theft protection. How can you have your candy and pay for it, too?


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