Leggett & Platt"Many furniture retailers are in weak...

STOCK WATCH N

January 15, 1992|By Opinions on stocks offered by investment experts. Compiled by Steve Halpern for Knight Ridder.

Leggett & Platt

"Many furniture retailers are in weak financial shape and very vulnerable. However, Leggett & Platt (LEG, NYSE, around $42) is in good shape because its customers are manufacturers, not retail clients," says Susan Hager of Pioneering Management Corp.

"In addition, there is no fashion-related risk with this company because it sells components and mechanisms. . . . Leggett will outperform its industry peers."

Heilig-Meyers

"Heilig-Meyers (HMY, NYSE, around $27) is a strong furniture retailer that focuses on niche markets," says Tammy Kuntz of Morgan Keegan & Co. "Heilig has a well-defined strategy that allows it to outperform its competition in both good and bad economic periods, reporting 77 profitable years out of 78 years in operation. The stock sells at a discount to the market; investors appear to be underestimating the company's potential."

Armstrong World

"Armstrong (ACK, NYSE, around $28) is a major player in the furniture market through its premier Thomasville line," explains Budd Bugatch of Ferris, Baker Watts.

"Thomasville appears as well situated as any company in the industry. Recently, the stock suffered when management announced that earnings would not meet expectations for the fourth quarter of 1991. We used that price drop to add the stock to our . . . buy list."

Dycom Industries

Dycom Industries (DY, NYSE, around $10), based in West Palm Beach, Fla., is a play on fiber optics," says Robert Flaherty of Equities Special Situations in New York.

"In fact, we consider the company the leading beneficiary of the growth in this market. Now, the lines leading from the local telephone offices to individual homes and offices are being changed to fiber optics as well. . . . We recommend purchase up to $11 a share."

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