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Some Consumer Stocks Are Still a Buy

Q: What about the old-line department store chains? Some of them seem to be slipping.

A: We believe that there's a long-term shift under way in which department stores are losing market share to discounters and specialty retailers. Partly as a result of this, there are no department-store stocks among our buy recommendations in the consumer-discretionary sector.

Q: How do you feel about Circuit City (CC ) and Best Buy (BBY )?

A: Our advice is to avoid shares of both Circuit City and Best Buy. We're concerned that competitive levels will put pressure on profit margins and that there's risk of earnings disappointment in the year ahead.

Q: Tom, are there any new trends in consumer products that might affect stock value?

A: Some of the trends that we see occuring in the consumer-discretionary area are movement toward consumers staying closer to home and putting more of their dollars and time into where they live. Also, we be

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