The following article is part of The Motley Fool's "Stock Madness 2006," based loosely on the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament, a.k.a. "March Madness." Throughout the competition, our writers and analysts will engage in head-to-head competition. You, dear readers, are the fans and referees -- after you read these exciting duels, your votes will determine who moves on to the next round of play. The writer who survives the tournament will be our champion and most valuable "coach."
But, please, make no mistake -- "Stock Madness 2006" is a GAME!
My opponent Rich Smith's team of has-beens and no-hopers doesn't even belong in the same arena as my health-care-stacked squad. Health care will be the No. 1 growth industry over the next few decades, and the companies on my team are in the prime position to ride this trend and deliver market-trouncing returns to shareholders over the next five years.
My seven-footer in the paint is the world's largest biotech company, Amgen
But that's in the past. How is Amgen looking today? Well, for the first time in years, I think the price is actually attractive; I'd rather buy Amgen now than invest in any of the major pharmaceutical companies. Amgen has far less patent exposure than big pharma, plus a deep drug pipeline with a number of interesting prospects. The company also has a P/E of 25 -- pretty tasty, given its strong, persistent double-digit growth and fat 30% net margins.
The supporting cast of BioMarin Pharmaceuticals
Rounding out my lineup is Jo-Ann Stores
Jo-Ann is cheap for a reason. It's margins are shrinking, and net income has dipped into the red. Despite those problems, I think it's a great pick as a turnaround story. Jo-Ann has $1.9 billion in revenue and a market cap of just $283 million. It's a big if, but if management can turn things around and return the company to earning $40 million a year, there's a lot of room for price appreciation.
Rich Smith's rebuttal
" Someone with the foresight to have invested $5,000 in Amgen 20 years ago would be sitting on a cool $1.2 million today. " -- Charly Travers, five paragraphs ago
Aww. How cute! Of course, $5,000 invested in Cisco
And when today's vote is over, and your team comes in second again, you remember that your mama still loves you.
Fool biotech analyst Charly Travers owns shares of BioMarin and Exelixis. Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position, short or long, in any company mentioned in this article. Exelixis is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy .