A Hot Cell Phone Play From The Holy Land

Nicholas Vardy

Nicholas Vardy has a unique background that has proven his knack for making money in different markets around the world.

With over 2.5 million subscribers, Partner Communications owns an estimated 32% of the cellular market in Israel. Operating under the Orange brand, it’s the #1 telecom brand in Israel and offers its customers roaming in 163 countries worldwide.

The market penetration of Israel’s cellular companies is among the highest in the world. But Israeli customers embrace new technologies with more vigor than almost anyone else on the planet. Partner Communications launched its third generation (3G) network in 2004 and already has over 165,000 3G subscribers. Israel’s early adopters are key to ensuring that the company stays on its fast growth trajectory. Recent financial results bear this out: operating profits, up 23.7%; net income, rising 50%; and earnings per share, jumping 56.2%; between Q2 this year versus the same quarter in 2005.

Partner Communications is a world class company with world class disclosure. It first listed on the Nasdaq in 1999 and it is a member of the Nasdaq Global Market Select. With the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading at near record levels, the stock also has the tailwind of strong market momentum at its back.

So buy Partner Communications (PTNR) at market today and place your stop at $10.70. There are no options on this one.

PORTFOLIO UPDATE

Last week’s pick, Russian cell phone giant Vimpelcom (VIP), announced earnings of $1.32 a share versus expectations of $1.23. That sent the stock soaring. Sell half your options for a quick 125% profit. But hold on to the stock and tighten your stop to $70.70.

Our Indian banking play, ICICI (IBN), also is up over 10%, with the options up almost 65%. With the Indian market the most vulnerable to any global market sell off, take your profits on half of your options here, and tighten your stop to $37.40.

Thanks to tight stops, we exited our position in the Swedish ETF (EWD) last week. Nevertheless, the fundamental picture for Sweden remains strong. Swedish economic reforms are moving ahead and this Nordic country may be the strongest top down theme in European markets over the next 12-24 months.

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