Finding the Hot Spots of American Business

The general theme of my investing articles has been this: Buy healthcare. Buy energy. Buy consumer staples. There may also be a place for tobacco, telecommunications, and utilities depending on your moral sensibilities, desire to receive dividend income while giving up long-term growth, and willingness to deal with the lid on growth that results when you have to rely upon regulators to achieve rate increases.

Some things, like long-term retail investing, are debatable. Equally credible arguments can be made in favor of long-term investing in companies like Walgreen, Wal-Mart, and Target. Others can point to Woolworth, A&P, and Sears to make the opposite case. And then the buy-and-holders can point out that the Sears spinoffs of All-State, Discover Card, Morgan Stanley, and Lands’ End made it a superior investment (stock calculators no longer accurately report this information because they treat spinoffs as one-time special dividends and then reinvest it into the parent company because the calculators no longer actually track the individual spinoffs and their dividends payments). Reasonable minds tend to disagree on retail.

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