Andy Serwer Commentary:
Street Life by Andy Serwer Column archive
Serwer: Oil's fall soups up DuPont
No. 3 chemical maker gets it on with cheaper raw materials while analysts shake Time Warner from its doldrums.
Market insight from Fortune Editor-at-Large Andy Serwer

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The little rally that could! Stocks always climb when you least expect it. The whole deal is orchestrated by the GOP, right? They wish!

DUPONT: How do you make out from falling energy prices? Well, you could short oil stocks but that's a bother. On the other hand, how about buying DuPont? DD (Charts), the No. 3 U.S. chemical maker, is up in premarket trading in Germany as oil prices continue to decline. Oil and its derivatives such as benzene and ethylene are critical raw materials for DuPont and other chemical companies that use them to make adhesives, agrochemicals and plastics. Price oil is now around $60. DD up about 10% this month but still well below its all-time high. Could be a good one now.

TIME WARNER: Yes, it is the parent company of And Fortune. And CNN. And, yes, the stock is on the move! On fire! TWX (Charts) is up from below $16 to more than $18 since August. Up in pre-market tradin' today too. What's the buzz (tell me what's a happenin')? Couple of analysts upgraded the stock saying AOL's new strategy of going free is working and ad revenue will be strong. Also, Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money is yakking up the stock, saying it will go to $26. For real, Jimbo? Buy you dinner at Del Frisco's if it's so! At some point this stock will break out of its $15 to $18 range for the past three years. Maybe it can start to catch rivals Disney (Charts) and News Corp (Charts).

PREPAID LEGAL: Yup, I wrote up PPD (Charts) the other day but I want to revisit since I got a bunch of mail on it. I said that with this stock the trend is your friend. But someone told me with a friend like this you won't need any enemies. Yes, folks, turns out this is a controversial stock. Peter Cohan, a management consultant and venture capitalist, is skeptical. He and others wonder if the company is a glorified pyramid scheme. Cohan and others point to a host of inconsistencies with the company that has also had run-ins with the SEC. So I guess we should go very carefully here. Or not at all!

LOOSE CHANGE: Just finished Philip Roth's (not so) new book, "Everyman." Man, what a bummer! I mean stick my head in an oven... Doesn't poker player Allen Cunningham remind you of Richie Cunningham, Ron Howard's character on Happy Days? "He's Allen Cunningham!"


E-mail Andy Serwer at and see him on CNN's "In the Money" and "American Morning."

Stock picks, stock news, stock advice  Top of page