With the democrats taking control of Congress, some investors expect speedier action on customs and border protection. They are betting on homeland-security stocks. One of them: Ametek (AME), a maker of electronic monitors that detect harmful materials. On Oct. 26 it won a contract from the Homeland Security Dept. to develop a portable radiation detector for customs, border patrol, and emergency services. Selection of Ametek's "high-purity germanium-based detector is a testament to its technology," says James Lucas of Janney Montgomery Scott. The initial $2.4 million deal, he says, could grow to $50 million in five years if the U.S. exercises all its options. Scott Graham of Bear Stearns (BSC) gives the stock, now at 47.80, an "outperform" rating and expects it to hit 65 in a year.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.
By Gene G. Marcial