It's official. Marvel's
Do superheroes belong on the big screen? You can discuss that one amongst yourselves. That's not the question that I'm aiming to tackle this week. Do superheroes belong in your portfolio? Now that's what I'm talking about. Yes, some stocks can behave like comic book stars. How many times have you held a stock that you thought was made of steel -- only to find its growth wither when it comes across some fiscal kryptonite? How many promising stocks have outgrown their surroundings in a devastating rage reminiscent of the Hulk? Too many, I'm sure.
Then again, some superhero traits can be welcome features in a stock. Take, for instance, the titular quartet behind F4. Each character comes away from a life-altering experience with a unique power that comes in handy from time to time. These also happen to be qualities you may want to seek out in your next investment. Let's see whether we can recast this multiplex popcorn-muncher with a bevy of Wall Street stars.
Reed Richards led the F4 expedition that resulted in his acquiring the power of elasticity. You just have to love a stock that masters the ability to stretch. Flexibility can be a wonderful thing, especially in the scalable realm of Wall Street.
My choice for Mr. Fantastic would have to be Google
Some see Google as a mere search engine, but the company has evolved into far more than that. Its groundbreaking Google AdSense program has found the Google brand penetrating the most obscure Web pockets, its targeted text ads showing up everywhere. Google wasn't the first company to find a way to sell and distribute content ads. It just became the best at it. Google wasn't the first company to offer users free email, comparison shopping, geographic maps, or perpetually updated news. It just approached these areas so intuitively and creatively that it blew -- or is in the process of blowing -- the pioneers out of the water. That, folks, is the elasticity I want in a stock.
Sue Storm isn't simply blessed with the ability to vanish. She can also create force fields around herself. Now, I'm all into that invisibility thing. If you can slip under the radar and spring up to surprise the market -- or your rivals -- that's a talent that will serve you well out there. However, what I'm really looking for here is the force-field trick.
In business terms, we would call this a barrier to entry. You can have a great idea, but if there's nothing stopping your competition from copying the better mousetrap, you will be swimming in a sea of knockoffs and generics.
That's why I'm going to have to go with eBay
Oh, sure, there are plenty of companies out there with auction sites. We're talking about some of the biggest names in dot-com land, too -- like Amazon.com
Johnny Storm is a combustible fellow. Well, at least he is now that he is able to ignite and control fire. Yes, flames can be a wild thing. Folks in red shiny trucks with hoses are trained to tame the random whims of the fiery. If you're an investor, there's no doubt about it. You want your stock to get hot. You want it to be able to get hot at will and still keep its head.
Yes, Google would be a good fit here, but that wouldn't be fair. We would have just three fantastic stocks to discuss. That's why I'm going to roll with Apple Computer
Things have been very different since 2003. Steve Jobs has been pure butane as his company has come racing back into consumer fancy with his stock ablaze. The iPod has helped lead the way. Last quarter the company moved 6 million iPod listening devices, and earlier this week the company announced that it had sold a total of 500 million tracks since launching its digital storefront to support the iPod.
With the wick burning bright, Apple's other products, such as its Mac desktops and laptops, have come storming back into the mainstream. Yes, history has shown that Apple has let its light go out in an unguarded moment. The difference this time is that Apple has never been this diversified. That's how you keep the fire going.
Ben Grimm was a superb pilot before the F4 experience transformed him into a hardened, powerful creature. He's as solid as a rock. Stock? Hard as a rock? While the Thing is a rather imposing figure, I'm going to have to go with the epitome of kid-friendly on this one. Disney
You may come to outgrow Mickey Mouse, but that's why there's ESPN, Disney cruise ships, and Desperate Housewives. Disney has become the total company. It can even survive on auto-pilot. Think about that for a spell. CEO Michael Eisner was so under attack that he was nearly voted off the company's board last year in a shareholder rebellion. You don't come across too many companies where that kind of corporate coup d'etat can nearly succeed. Yet the company's earnings were starting to inch higher at the time. That's a brilliant example of a company in which dissidents can have a laundry list of complaints against an executive, yet the company is pieced together so perfectly that, in the end, errant steering can't drive it off course.
Putting it all together
Google. Apple. EBay. Disney. These are the four stocks that I wouldn't mind hanging with if I found myself in an alley fight. Like the F4 flick this month, all four companies have proved that they can entertain the masses. That's powerful stuff. Strong enough to put Dr. Doom -- or any resident bear -- in his place.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that most superheroes can use better outfits . He does own shares in Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.