Office Depot"Office Depot (ODEP, OTC, $23) is the largest...

STOCK WATCH

March 06, 1991|By Steve Halpern for Knight Ridder.

Office Depot

"Office Depot (ODEP, OTC, $23) is the largest office superstore chain in the United States. Based in Boca Raton, Fla., the company currently operates 103 units in the South and Midwest," says The Ruta Financial Newsletter of Bronxville, N.Y.

This 4-year-old company has completed its seventh straight quarter of at least 25 percent profit growth. The stock appears reasonably priced at only 13.5 times estimated 1991 earnings. Our best guess is that this stock could easily double or triple in the next few years. Buy."

St. Joe Paper

"St. Joe Paper (SJP, NYSE, around $35) has been outperforming the overall market as a result of Wall Street's focus on cyclical stocks," says Street Smart Investing of Brewster, N.Y.

The issue now trades at 23.6 times trailing earnings. For the latest nine-month period, earnings decreased 43 percent. St. Joe Paper appears to have limited near-term fundamental upside potential. But . . . the company's intrinsic value on a breakup basis is estimated at $85 or more per share. We continue to view the stock as an attractive long-term holding."

Benihana National

"Benihana (BNHN, OTC, around $1) operates 21 Japanese-style restaurants; the units feature Teppanyaki style cooking in which the food is prepared on a grill that forms a part of the dining table.

"The company's most recent quarter was disappointing," says Bill Mathews, The Cheap Investor of Northbrook, Ill. "Earnings fell to 4 cents per share. But, with a book value of $1.65 per share, we now consider the stock to be undervalued. . . . the stock should return to the $2 per share level . . . We rate the stock a buy."

Devcon Inter.

"Devcon International (DEVC, OTC, around $22) is engaged in the production and distribution of cement and related products in South Florida and the Caribbean. The company is also a leading developer in those markets. The dynamic regional economy in the firm's territory has allowed it to weather the recession unscathed," says The Zweig Performance Ratings Report of Bellmore, N.Y.

"The company's stock seems very inexpensive, with a price-to-earnings multiple of only 7.8. We recommend purchase with a stop loss at 17 1/2 ."

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