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Tickers in this Article: TOL, HOV, AMD, INTC, DELL, WMT, MRK
Over the last several months, I've received loads of questions from readers. Although I've received inquiries on a wide variety of topics, ranging from Ben Bernanke's and the Fed's monetary policy to the war in Iraq, there always seem to be some questions that are more popular than others.

With that in mind, in this article I will provide my answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

The Dell Comeback
Does Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) have what it takes to improve its operations going forward and increase its share price?

I like Dell's newfound strategy to offer its wares at the big name retailers. In fact I'm thrilled, because to be honest I don't think that a lot of people ever felt comfortable buying a computer on the web. However, what will come of its new relationship with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) remains to be seen.

One thing that does worry me, however, is the accounting concerns that have loomed over the company this past year. I worry that its alleged past accounting problems could continue to dominate the news cycle and overshadow its otherwise pretty decent earnings. Dell remains a solid company and I think it is headed in the right direction.

However, I believe the potential risks outweigh the potential rewards at this point and that the stock should be avoided.

Homebuilders - Worth The Risk?
Are homebuilders worth bottom fishing right now given the recent cut in the discount rate?

Although I think that over the long haul most of the big name homebuilders such as Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) will fare just fine, generally speaking, I don't think it makes sense to jump in right now. As I've mentioned in previous articles there are too many risks still out there.

Taxes remain a big burden on consumers, and they are hurting consumer spending. Consumer debt is swelling, and many people can't afford the homes they have right now. The supply of homes is currently outpacing the demand, which will continue to force prices lower. Meanwhile, small builders are lowering prices and giving away free upgrades to lure buyers. This has hurt the bigger name homebuilders a great deal in recent months. (For related reading, see Why Housing Bubbles Pop.)

In short, the only homebuilder I'd consider worthy of some research at these levels is Hovnanian (NYSE:HOV). But that's because the company has a great reputation and a heavy presence in the wealthy northeastern United States. Also, the company's homes are reasonably priced, and I think that the company will bounce back (once the real estate market starts to rebound).

Big Pharma Picks
Which pharmaceutical stock do you like the most right now, and why?

The answer is Merck (NYSE:MRK). The company has built up its drug pipeline quite nicely over the last several years. It also has a pretty solid balance sheet with roughly $5 billion in cash and short term investments, and has been actively cutting costs. In short, I think the stock has the potential to trade north of $70 within the next 12 to 18 months, indicating a potential upside of 40%. (For more detail regarding that forecast, refer to my most recent article on the company Merck Finds Cure For Ailing Product Line.)

Let The Chips Fall Where They May
Which is the better buy AMD Corporation (NYSE:AMD) or Intel (Nasdaq:INTC)?

For the last decade, investors have been trying to answer that very question. Regarding AMD, I think the company has done a pretty good job leapfrogging Intel in terms of technology over the last several years. I also like the fact that it's trying to trim costs (more specifically its capital expenditures) in order to save money, and that it continues to fight on despite the intense competition and generally lackluster worldwide demand for chips.


Intel continues to impress me as well. Despite its size, it continues to spit out new products regularly and enjoys amazing popularity among computer manufacturers and consumers. The downside is that it hasn't been able to shake AMD as a competitor. And the recent price wars have certainly taken their toll as well.

In short, when it comes to the chips, I'd rather avoid both companies at this point. But if someone were forcing me to pick, I'd go with Intel because of its deep pockets and relative ability to control the tempo of this space.

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