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!
The two squads in this particular competition showcase very different talents, and I could study the scouting report to pick apart any holes and find a way to slow down my worthy opponent's one marquee player -- a proven scorer named BerkshireHathaway.
However, I'm not here to exploit anyone's weaknesses. Instead, I'll be playing to the strengths of my own starting lineup. We all know that it takes experience, teamwork, and solid fundamentals (cue the Hoosiers montage) to advance to this level. It also helps to have a player that dominates its respective position (or industry). Fortunately, I have five.
International Game Technology
There you have it: five companies, five world leaders -- a proverbial dream team. This well-balanced mix of industry leaders should have no trouble continuing to light up the scoreboard . unless people suddenly stop drinking, gambling, swimming, shopping, and using the Internet.
Tim Hanson's rebuttal
Nathan is a gentleman and a scholar, but not a sergeant, so I'll go easy on him.
My lineup's risk/reward profile is simply superior. While Nathan is weighed down by an average market cap of $50 billion, I have three small companies that could double over the next three years. None of his stocks will double.
In fact, Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch may gain almost nothing. It's justtooeasy to rehash Wal-Mart's problems, while Bud's problems can be summed up by the joke about the similarities between its flagship beer and, uh, romance in a canoe. (They're both very close to water.) At both companies, management is tripping over itself to destroy its once-strong brand. That shouldn't make investors confident.
Wal-Mart and Bud are both popular "contrary" picks right now. Yet how can a stock be both popular and contrary? These stocks will both weigh down Nathan's portfolio as my picks blow right past it.
Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter once made four consecutive free throws. He owns shares of IGT and SCP Pool. Fool editor Tim Hanson holds no financial position in any company mentioned above. Anheuser-Busch is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy .