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Why Hot Topic Could Still Ignite


Numbers for November were weak, but there are potential opportunities.

Man I'm beat. I got only about 4 hours of sleep and this morning I feel like five miles of bad road. Must rest up for Festivus!

Asian stocks rose yet again overnight. The Hang Seng and the Nikkei were up 1.19% and 3.84%, respectively. European stocks were in positive territory, too, early this morning. And here in the US, we're currently trading higher.

Here's what I'm seeing this fine Thursday morning:

Hot Topic (HOTT):
The retailer's comp-store numbers for the month of November left a lot to be desired. They dropped 11.7%, which wasn't too terrific in that the Street had been looking for a decline of under 8%.

Some thoughts:

1. In its defense, it was going up against a difficult comparison.

2. With the stock now just a bit north of the $5 level, I'm a little concerned because we could see some tax-loss selling in the next couple of weeks before 2010. Also, if it does go under $5, some might stop paying attention to it.

3. At the same time, there could ultimately be some opportunity here. I don't think it's flat-out dead, and I believe next year, things could perk up again despite the woes in the sector. If the situation turns even a bit, the shares could level off and start to rise again.

Bottom line, my eyes are wide open because this could end up being a nice winner. We shall see.

Dell (DELL):
Reuters quoted the computer-maker's CFO as saying he believed the holiday season would be "moderately good."

I don't know how much confidence those words give me about the company's near-term prospects. However, I did want to use this chance to weigh in on the overall situation:

1. On the one hand, I'm seeing that the estimate for the current quarter, current year, and next year have come down over the last 30 days, and that doesn't exactly scratch me where I itch.

2. However, as I mentioned in Why Dell's a Winner, With or Without Perot, I still think there's opportunity with Perot Systems.

3. It's a good deal at about 11.5 times next year's estimate, which is $1.19 as I write this. And the recent pullback captures my attention, too.

4. It's super attractive on weakness, as a couple years out, it could be a double from the current price (which is $13 and change).
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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