Bottom-fish for auto stocks -- or sushi?

Bottom-fish for auto stocks -- or sushi?
Shares in General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. plunged during this week's market meltdown, with GM closing Friday at $11.55 a share and
Ford down to $4.98.
It was an ugly week on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average losing more than 500 points in two days. The drop is almost 20 percent off last year's high, making it almost an official bear market.
If you're a GM or Ford stockholder, the growling you hear probably is your stomach. Both stocks hit new 52-week lows -- and in GM's case, it sank to levels not seen in the last three decades.
Now folks are wondering: is it time to buy?
Maybe, maybe not. Wall Street types say "sell," but it's hard to imagine shares could get much cheaper, either. The important thing is to weigh the alternatives.
For example: Consider putting all your money into a big pile in the backyard, standing in the middle, and setting it on fire. It would be faster and more fun than watching your shares of Ford drop by 26 percent this year, or GM plummet by 54 percent.
What are the other options for any money you might suddenly feel the urge to invest in cheap Ford or GM stock? Your Money & Life pal has a few suggestions I guarantee you won't hear from E.F. Hutton: GM stock -- $11.55 a share
One King Crab California Roll ($10.50), featuring Alaskan crab, from Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe in Detroit. Hey, the Japanese are eating your lunch, so at least get a bite of theirs.
One used paperback copy ($8.97) of "The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market," by Micheline Maynard on This is one we KNOW you haven't read. Shipping adds $3.49, so return a few Vernors bottles to make up the difference
Slightly more than 2.8 gallons of regular gas ($4.093 per gallon as of Friday in Metro Detroit). Dribble that into your 14-mpg Chevy Tahoe and you can almost make it 40 miles -- hope that gets you to your broker.
Two adult tickets ($3.99 each) for tonight's showing of "Get Smart" at Dearborn's Ford-Wyoming Drive In. And no, it's not a tale about the imported 50 mpg Smart two-seater -- or even a documentary about GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
Eleven downloads (99-cents each) for your iPod. While your musical tastes vary, don't forget to add your very own copy of Bob Seger's old theme song for Chevy trucks, "Like A Rock." Perfectly describes the stock's performance. Ford stock -- $4.98 a share
Almost enough for one $5 foot-long Subway sandwich. It's only one meal, but at least you won't have to eat your losses.
One hour of labor from a Ford line worker in 1914, when Henry Ford paid the men who made the Model-T $5 an hour. In a week, your grandpa could have purchased a controlling share -- just ask Kirk Kerkorian.
Five pairs of rose-colored sunglasses ($1) at any Dollar Tree Store. Makes life look cheerier -- until you notice that Dollar Tree stock (Nasdaq: DLTR) trades at $32.51 a share. That's right, for the price of one share in the stores that sell odd lots of barbecue sauce you could buy six-and-a-half shares of the company that makes the $38,000 Lincoln MKX.
Two used hardcover copies of "Ford Tough: Bill Ford and the Battle to Rebuild America's Automaker" by David Magee ($1.95). But with $3.99 shipping from, you'll have to cut back to one copy and dig some spare change out of the sofa.
Two 40-ounce bottles of Old English "800" ($2.39 plus deposit). Or just keep the Ford stock -- the hangover will be about the same.
Civis Romanus Sum

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