>> Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you had bought $1000 worth of stock in each of the ten recommended companies on the day this article was published, and then held them until today, you would have watched your $10,000 investment transformed into $5,160 (or about $4,475 in 2000 dollars). By contrast if you had simply bought a passive mutual fund that tracked the S&P 500 you would have about $7,470.
The same reinvention skills are apparent in the management at Houston-based Enron. That company has successfully transformed itself from a traditional natural-gas outfit (complete with a 32,000-mile pipeline) into a middleman for the new economy. Last November, Enron launched an e-commerce site that lets companies trade electricity, coal, gas, and other energy commodities over the Internet. Total amount of deals brokered so far? Try $100 billion, which is more online commerce than anyone else--Amazon.com included. In conjunction, Enron is about to complete a 15,000-mile fiber-optic network that will help it broker the sale of that most precious resource right now, broadband capacity. Need extra pipes to run your telecom network during a busy season? Enron can actually buy bandwidth from one customer with excess capacity and sell it to another. That's a lucrative strategy, given how explosively broadband demand is growing. Gannon at SunAmerica estimates Enron's core gas business can easily grow profits 15% a year--a big jump over its competitors. Tack on the broadband service, which should turn profitable in a few years, and annual earnings growth can top 25%, he says. "Enron is going to become one of the leaders in broadband communications." Not bad for a gas utility.