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
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 Half.com. 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
• 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
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 Amazon.com, 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.