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P&G's Mr. Clean Still Looking Shiny


Stalwart remains boring-but-safe play in troubled market.


According to the New York Times, the European Parliament voted last week to "scold advertisers" for ads that perpetuate sexual stereotypes. Among the offenders named was Proctor & Gamble's (PG) Mr. Clean whose sleek baldness, muscular build and general Macke-ness (from the Latin meaning, roughly, "all that is macho") "might imply that only a strong man is able to tackle dirt."

The French are obviously behind this: Clearly, it's their first step in a campaign against me personally. Needless to say, the French are right to fear me. It's human nature to fear what we don't understand, and this attack demonstrates a near-total ignorance regarding cleanliness, particularly as it relates to machismo. The only thing Mr. Clean actually cleans is himself; the rest of his dirt-tackling is farmed out to others.

Suffice it to say, I'm unafraid of Europe's saber-rattling, and Proctor & Gamble is exactly the kind of boring stock I like in this market. Here's what I'm doing when not giving free lessons on manhood to sniveling, quivering Euros:

  • Sirius (SIRI) CEO Mel Karmazin is lashing out at his competitors using terms seldom uttered in polite company (unless the topic is the housing market). I agree with Mel -- and I love my Sirius -- but neither fact makes Sirius touchable as an equity.

  • Research in Motion (RIMM) is dribbling slightly higher in a market where lazy indecision seems to be the rule of the day. Despite the fact that I've made more than one accidental phone call by stuffing my Blackberry in my pocket, neither PT Barnum nor Steve Jobs could make the release of a flip-phone newsworthy. As mentioned previously, I like RIMM as a long trade off $100, but I'd keep it on a choker-tight leash in terms of stop-losses.

  • Regarding both Steve Jobs and losses, I see no reason to back off what I've previously written regarding Jobs and Apple's (AAPL) board. In short (a position I don't have in the stock): Steve's health matters - I don't think Apple's board has handled the issue well, and it will weigh on the stock until investors get comfortable about either Mr. Jobs' longevity or managerial bench strength. As for whether or not it's "in bad taste" to discuss the issue: Grow up, we're traders, and it's obviously material information. As Todd-O mentioned, $150 is a key level for the stock. It's also just about where Apple traded afterhours when Fast Money first raised the issue during Apple's last earnings call.

  • I never get tired of the Miracle speech Todd-O and I were discussing. I actually downloaded the whole movie on Sunday just for the speech. While we're sharing, "the game can't be won or lost, only played". Something to keep in mind when you find yourself gripping life's club a bit too tight.

  • That been said, remember: It's a metaphor. As far as I'm concerned, being long Lehman (LEH) shares here, or anywhere, is likely to create losses that can't be helped by all the new-age sports-movie motivational speeches in the world. Banks can't be valued here, and I continue to be baffled by the idea that people are waiting for mystery buyers to emerge - especially with no answer as to why they'd pay any sort of premium to buy huge risk from desperate sellers.

  • Now get out there and play your own game, Minyans.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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