Q. Recently, my broker recommended Bausch & Lomb as a good stock. What's the near- and long-term outlook.?
A. All the necessary positives are in focus.
Buy shares of Bausch & Lomb (around $88 a share, New York Stock Exchange), the vision care and instruments firm, because they are still trading at a discount despite the company's strong 15 percent annual growth rate, said Ruth Alon, analyst with Kidder Peabody & Co.
Among its products are Soflens contact lenses, ReNu lens solutions, Ray-Ban sunglassess, telescopes and binoculars.
"Bausch & Lomb continues to show a strong bottom line and good financial management, as well as a good consumer franchise for its products," said Alon. "It has proven that it could perform even during a recession, a point that investors should keep in mind."
Q. My wife and I have owned 200 shares of Chrysler Corp. for 10 years. We're beginning to wonder if now is a good time to sell, given the many pressures the company is under. What would you recommend?
A. Even No. 3 should benefit from an improved economy.
Hold your shares of Chrysler Corp. (around $13, NYSE) on the likelihood that economic recovery will benefit all of the stocks in the automobile group, advised Wendy Beale Needham, analyst with Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
Sales should pick up during the course of the year, with production accelerating more rapidly than sales due to the fact so much inventory liquidation has already taken place, explained Needham.
"While General Motors is the strongest candidate to benefit from upturn, Chrysler stock should also receive the positive effects of any auto recovery euphoria," said Needham.
Q. What are the prospects for Mattel Inc.?
A. Ties to Mickey Mouse should help.
Prospects for toymaker Mattel Inc. (around $26, NYSE) are just so-so for the medium term, but rather good long-term, said Harold Vogel, analyst with Merrill Lynch & Co.
The company makes the Mattel/Disney infant and preschool lines, including items such as Ride-On Mickey. It is famous for dolls such as Barbie and P.J. Sparkles and various action figures. About 85 percent of its sales are toys for girls, which have given up much less market share to Nintendo's video games than boys' toys have.
"Mattel has a solid product line," said Vogel. "In addition, it will benefit from the Euro Disney opening next spring, where so many specialty toys will be sold."
Q. In our rush to meet the April 15 deadline, my husband and I forgot to sign our names on the federal tax return. What steps does the Internal Revenue Service take at this point.?
A. If you fail to sign a return, it technically is not a completed return, said Garry Moody, tax partner with Ernst & Young. This subjects you to the failure-to-file penalty of 5 percent on any tax due on a return.