Toto, I get the feeling that this column's not in Alexandria anymore ...
(At this point, feel free to start side one of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. This recap, in its entirety, will sync up with the psychedelic score.)
Auntie Em? Ante up! Today we walk the yellow brick streets of Oz -- off to see the Wizard. Somehow, yet not entirely by accident, we dropped a house on traditional financial institutions. It fell with a thud. It came in full Technicolor splendor.
In a tornado-spun frenzy, we crushed the chains that bound the little people to dependency on the Wise. Yes, you, me, all Motley Munchkins, suddenly empowered, suddenly liberated, suddenly singing ...
Ding, dong, the Wise are dead, the wicked Wise, the churning Wise, ding dong, the wicked Wise are dead!
What's that? You don't know about the Wise? I guess we need to roll back a few frames, before the pint-sized coroner's examination and singsong certification. See, in the early days of Fooldom, the market wasn't made for you. It wasn't made for me. Only the chosen few had access to a company's conference calls. Selective disclosure? Man, it just wasn't fair. Financial advisors had no problem shooting down your chances of ever investing on your own, preferring you heed their self-serving advice and plunk your money down on some dud mutual fund with exorbitant loads and fees.
The Internet opened up the educational floodgates. It gave us a voice. It gave you a chance. We don't use the word "Wise" as much as we used to these days. That's because the playing field has been somewhat leveled. But trust me, the Wise were -- and still are -- wickedly villainous.
So, where were we? Oh, yes, that's right, we were about to head down that shiny gold-colored road that the Fool has traveled over the years. It wouldn't be a journey without a few pedestrian hitchhikers along the way, though. Let's make sure we pause to pick up three biggies. Who knows? We may need them if we run across the Wise along the way.
Searching for Scarecrow
Whom should we cast as the Scarecrow? Since we're working on a Motley Fool Rule Breakers-themed production here, it's only fitting that we turn to the very first stock that David Gardner recommended for the newsletter service we launched last year: Blue Nile
Scarecrow has only gotten smarter since it caught David's eye in the fall. This past quarter, the company's earnings climbed 37%. Wall Street believes that the company can be counted on to grow its bottom line at a 30% annual clip through the end of the decade. Putting the "woo" in "woohoo," the shares have risen since they were singled out, but competitors have taken notice. Other well-heeled online savants such as Amazon.com
That's OK. It validates Blue Nile's mission. It expands the market. More importantly, it draws attention to Blue Nile as the pure play. We're talking engagement rings here. If you're looking to pop the question, you want a place that specializes in one thing and does it brilliantly.
Trolling for Tin Man
Next up? A stock with a steely exterior, looking for some heart. Yes, that can be a compliment. We'll go beyond the actual newsletter recommendations for this one. I'm tempted to cast either XM Satellite Radio
But Central Casting has Google
With its $85 billion market cap, Google may be one of the fastest-growing large caps you'll ever see. The company's fat margins are placing it in prime position to earn at least $2 billion next year. The one knock on this well-oiled Tin Man is that 99% of its revenues are the fruits of paid search. Analysts would like to see the company diversify. I'm not sure that's necessary. See, Google has heart. Its ability to draw a crowd, no matter what it does, will always make the company an attractive outlet for advertisers won over by the simplicity and efficiency of affordable (yet perfectly targeted) contextual ad campaigns.
Looking for Lion
For lionlike courage, there's no need to look beyond Archipelago Holdings
Investors had to brave out a dip shortly after Rule Breakers selected the company behind the popular ArchaEx electronic trading exchange. But seeking out industry-altering companies while they're still early in their revolutionary state has its benefits. If they don't overtake their larger rivals, they often become buyout fodder at a healthy premium. That's pretty much what happened here; the stock catapulted higher after the New York Stock Exchange -- yes, that New York Stock Exchange -- decided that its relevance in the future relied on its merger with Archipelago in the present.
Waiting on Wizard
Crew complete, arms intertwined, we skipped. OK, so maybe Blue Nile and Archipelago bored us silly with stories of how they've been hooking people up for years. Google always seemed to have an answer for everything. It was just like any other road trip, only this road just happened to be paved with shiny, precious bricks.
Nobody said finding the Wizard would be easy. Along the way we crossed paths with the Wicked Wise, trying to exact revenge. Winged monkeys? Swatable. The cackling "I'll get you, my pretty" threats? Empty. It doesn't take much to conquer this hideous green vermin. Reason and logic make capable buckets. How does one battle this egocentric evil in concentrate? Just add water.
Oh, what a world. What a world.
So the Wizard waits. But the biggest surprise is that this all-powerful, all-knowing being, the one person who can make all things possible, is no booming stranger behind a tumbling facade. It's someone rather ordinary who believes he or she can make magical things happen. Someone like you. Someone like me. We were off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Us.
With that, we tap our ruby slippers (or, if you prefer the books, silver shoes) and return to more familiar surroundings. Somewhere over the rainbow, we made it back home, with visions of almost Calvinistic self-determination and the ability to map our own financial fate. Was it all just a dream? Perhaps -- but you had that power all along.
Do you think you have what it takes to fly into the Wall Street tornado and blow it away with great growth-stock picks? We can help. You don't even need to tap those slippers to take us up on a free trial offer to our feature-rich Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has apparently seen The Wizard of Oz one too many times. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.