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Karen Gibbs and Geoff Colvin Karen Gibbs Geoff Colvin Geoff Colvin Karen Gibbs
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Air date: Jan. 9, 2004
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» Space discussion
» Meaty diets and investing

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KAREN GIBBS: Welcome to Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE. I'm Karen Gibbs.

GEOFF COLVIN: And I'm Geoff Colvin.

Suddenly, space is all over the news. The rover Spirit sends back startlingly clear pictures of Mars. Rumors fly that President Bush may announce a new space initiative. But coming up in just three weeks, the anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. Now Americans are asking, should we still be spending billions in space? Or should we spend even more to reinvigorate a tired and directionless program? And as we'll ask a bit later, where's the opportunity for investors?

Space discussion

Harrison Schmitt was the last man to set foot on the moon, in 1972; he was later a Senator from New Mexico and now is involved with companies looking to invest in space ventures. He joins us from Albuquerque. Tim Ferris is professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley and the writer and narrator of two PBS specials, The Creation of the Universe and Life Beyond Earth. He joins us from San Francisco. And Christopher Mecray covers the aerospace industry for Deutsche Bank Securities. He joins us from New York.

Mr. Schmitt, this country was galvanized all through the 1960s by the goal of going to the moon. Now NASA doesn't really seem to have a mission. What should its mission be?

HARRISON SCHMITT: Well, NASA certainly needs a mission if it's going to continue to be a viable, long-term player in the space environment. I think the mission for the space, for our space activities should be to return to the moon. Now whether that should be NASA's mission or the private sector's mission is another question, and I would opt for the private sector with great support coming from NASA and from other parts of the government.

COLVIN: Returning to the moon in what sense?

SCHMITT: Returning to the moon primarily to, in the pragmatic sense, to access its resources, one of which can be used here on earth. That's a fusion fuel called Helium-3. It can be used we believe to generate electricity ultimately in fusion power plants here on earth, and to do it commercially, that is economically. There are other resources, hydrogen, oxygen, water, and ultimately food, that can be produced on the moon that can be used in space, near earth space as well as for those explorers that go on to Mars. But in the longer term, one really has to think of the moon as a stepping stone for the human species out into the solar system and maybe, if we're lucky, out into the universe.

COLVIN: Mr. Ferris, I gather you agree that going to the moon on a permanent basis is the best next step in space.

Relevant Links
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» Timothy Ferris' Life Beyond Earth
» Newshour, David Gergen dialogues: Timothy Ferris, August 22, 1997
» Newshour discussion, Feb. 4, 2003: Reaching for the stars

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TIM FERRIS: Yes.

I have to admit that for many years I've thought otherwise. The moon seemed to me a case of "Been there, done that." The heroic work of the Apollo astronauts had taught us a lot about the moon.

But recently looking into it again, I've come to realize that if we want to go on and colonize Mars, which I think is the real goal of the manned space program, there are excellent reasons to establish a permanent habitation on the moon where we can develop the technologies needed to go to Mars to stay as well. But to do this, as we've been discussing here, we're going to need to find a way to generate some cash flow. We can't expect taxpayers to just keep paying bills indefinitely to sustain a lunar colony. And fortunately a lot of ideas have come up as to how that might be done.

FERRIS: I would. I have to admit that for many years going to the moon struck me as a case of "Been there, done that." It seemed an uninspiring goal. Dr. Schmitt had studied it a lot more than I had, but once I started to take a close look, I recently realized that if we want to accomplish what I think is the ultimate goal of manned space flight, which is to turn humanity into a species that permanently inhabits more than one planet, specifically to colonize Mars, that an excellent way to do it is to get started with a permanent moon base. And as Harrison has just told us, to do that requires finding ways to turn a profit and not just, I don't think taxpayers should or would be prepared to keep spending indefinitely on a permanent presence in the

COLVIN: Well, especially in this environment when we're facing at the moment very large government deficits. But how could a permanent colony or base on the moon generate revenue?

FERRIS: Well, there are a number of ideas out there, and I think the answer will also be several answers rather than one, but they include, in the near term, data storage, sort of the ultimate iron mountain is the moon, and that would be something one could establish early. If the moon has water, and this is still in doubt, rocket fuel can be made on the moon, and that could be very helpful in constructing large objects in lower orbits. Because anything that you can bring from the moon down to lower earth orbits is a lot cheaper than lifting it off the earth. The cost presently to lift things off the earth to orbit is about $10,000 a pound. The moon has a lot of materials that can be mined and used so that if, for instance, you want to build a resort hotel in orbit, which a lot of people are interested in doing, and servicing it with a space elevator, which is the best way to get there and bring costs down, that's a lot of construction in orbit. It's very expensive if you bring all that stuff up from earth, but to the extent that you can exploit the resources of the moon, which has a surface area larger than that of Africa, and bring those things down to earth orbit, you may be able to bring those costs within reason.

COLVIN: Mr. Schmitt, is NASA the agency to lead a revitalized space program?

SCHMITT: Well, right now I don't think NASA is the agency to do that. It doesn't mean it couldn't be restructured and revitalized to do it or a new agency could be created. But again I think that because of one resource on the moon that would have economic value here on earth, commercial economic value, and that's the fusion fuel called Helium-3, a light isotope of helium, I think you can attract investors from the private sector with a properly constructed business plan and strategy to provide the majority of the funding necessary to develop the infrastructure that would get us back to the moon, and also the infrastructure that would be largely necessary to go on to Mars.
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Nova Online: Apollo 17

The final Apollo mission was one of superlatives.

The longest of all, it featured the only night launch of the program, the first professional scientist to walk on the moon (geologist Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, seen here collecting soil samples on the North Massif), the most samples yet gathered on the moon (243 pounds), and the lengthiest moonwalks.

All told, Eugene Cernan, who was the last man on the moon, spent 22 hours over three days walking and driving around Taurus-Littrow, Apollo 17's landing site on the edge of the Sea of Serenity (which forms the man-in-the-moon's left eye). By contrast, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, stood on the lunar surface for a mere two and a half hours.

-- Nova Online, To the Moon

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COLVIN: What kind of time frame should we be thinking of for colonizing the moon and producing H-3?

SCHMITT: Well, that's purely dependent on the rate at which capital and good management is available, but probably 10 years is a reasonable number. Certainly we did it once before within 10 years, and I think it's reasonable to think that we could get back to the moon within 10 years, certainly within 15, to have everything in place not only to access the resources, but to have the fusion power technology developed here on earth to utilize those resources. Now as a byproduct of the production of fusion fuel on the moon, you also get what Dr. Ferris was talking about, and that is the hydrogen, water, oxygen and other consumables that can be used in space at a much lower cost than if you have to transport them out of the gravity well that we call the earth.

COLVIN: The latest intelligence we have from Washington is that the President will probably not say anything in his State of the Union address about a major space initiative, but I want to ask each of you, and Mr. Schmitt, you first: If you could insert a paragraph into President Bush's next State of the Union address about space, what would the gist of it be?

SCHMITT: Well, I would maybe do a sentence and say the government, this administration will do whatever it can to encourage and support the private sector's access of lunar resources to develop an electrical power industry, fusion electrical power industry here on earth. I think that that kind of encouragement would go a long way towards exciting investors so that they would begin to support particularly the bridging businesses that are necessary to get through that 10-year period of time before there's a return on investment on the lunar portion of the activity.

COLVIN: Tim Ferris, what would you have the president say?

FERRIS: I would go for a permanent moon base with international cooperation and with projects set up to encourage the private sector. The government can do things such as offer prizes for milestones along the way. That way it's sort of the best of both worlds. If someone is able to put together a spacecraft and achieve a milestone, you've gotten it done more cheaply than you would the normal government way, and if not it hasn't cost you a nickel. An example of this is the South Pole. The South Pole was initially visited briefly with great hardship and risk by a few intrepid explorers, much as Dr. Schmitt explored the moon. Now we have a permanent presence at the South Pole, and it's an international presence. Now the South Pole doesn't turn a profit yet, so the trick's going to be to do that on the moon.

COLVIN: What's the significance of the current mission to Mars? We've all been enjoying these rather amazing pictures, but where does it all fit into the big picture?

FERRIS: Well, we're still engaged in the search for life on Mars. That's a very important priority. And of course it could be viewed as another early step in reconnoitering Mars with the goal of eventually making it a habitat for humanity. The land area of Mars is about equal to the dry land area of earth. The tremendous future advantages to becoming a two-planet species, it's a kind of insurance policy. It opens up a wonderful new frontier for people. But it's a big task. It's going to take generations and centuries to do it. And the first step is to understand the planet better so that we know how we can proceed realistically and how to do it in an ecologically responsible way.

COLVIN: Mr. Schmitt, if we're thinking big picture -- big, big picture -- is colonizing Mars what we should be thinking about?

SCHMITT: Well, in the long term I don't think there's any question that humankind will establish settlements on Mars. But I think the equivalent let's say of the human species moving out of Africa some 150,000 years ago or so would be to be on the moon to stay. That would be the first step. If we were there in permanent settlements on the moon, then the next step, a logical step would be to go on to Mars. But the first, I think, logical step is to set up those settlements on the moon, to have them self supporting, as they could be with the resources that are there.

And I might say in answer to an earlier question or statement, that the main thing that we out here in the private sector think we need the government to do is to be supportive. It needs to be supportive in international forum, it needs to be supportive in the tax and regulatory law that's necessary for any business to be successful, and it also might get into the business of helping to develop the difficult technologies that will be necessary for these kinds of endeavors, not unlike what the government did most of the last century in developing aeronautical technologies in what was called the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics Laboratories, which ultimately became NASA.

COLVIN: It became NASA. It's a fascinating topic, an endlessly interesting topic. Harrison Schmitt, Tim Ferris, thanks so much.

Mr. Mecray, you heard Harrison Schmitt and Tim Ferris both advocate a permanent moon colony, which President Bush will apparently propose next week. Now you cover the dollars and cents of all of this. As an idea, is that within the solar system of reasonableness?

CHRISTOPHER MECRAY: You know, it's said that space is full of wonder and potential, but I think you have to realize that investors and people whose money could go into these types of projects are just wondering about the potential for making a buck. And I'm not sure that potential is realistically achievable in a reasonable time frame. We talked about a decade or so. Perhaps over time it could make sense, but we have to realize that the private investment case requires a return on investment, certainly sooner than a 10-year period and certainly not longer. And secondly, our national resources and our national budget may not have room for the kind of money that would be required here, which would be considerable.

COLVIN: It would be considerable for sure. Now we don't know, we keep hearing rumors of some kind of new space initiative, possibly being proposed by the President. If anything like that were to come along, who would benefit? Who would win? Who would lose?

MECRAY: You know, any major space initiative today, especially if it goes through NASA as the existing organization to spearhead that, would likely funnel through the contractors that currently deal with NASA, and who frankly have a bit of a juggernaut, a bit of chokehold on that NASA funding stream.

First of all, Boeing, the largest contractor in space today, generates over $10 billion a year out of space as a whole and as NASA's largest contractor generating on the order of $2.5 billion a year.

Following that, you have Lockheed Martin with about $2.2 billion a year in revenue generated from NASA, and again upwards of $10 billion overall from the space market.

So these large, integrated primes that deal with the aerospace and defense market are also the primary beneficiaries of any such government initiative.

COLVIN: Now there are two or three very small pure play space companies. One of them is Orbital Sciences, and Harrison Schmitt is actually on the board of that. What's that all about?

MECRAY: Well, Orbital is involved in a variety of space components. They have a launch vehicle for the lower cost launch market for smaller satellites and make a variety of space components for orbiting vehicles and satellites. So some smaller companies like Orbital would get involved, would clearly benefit, and indeed if there were a major initiative would stand to gain substantially and could be interesting investment vehicles.

COLVIN: How about one called SpaceDev?

MECRAY: You know, I've met with them recently, and SpaceDev is an interesting example. This is a company that believes in the promise of private investment in space and believes that organizations like NASA may have dropped the ball to some degree in fact in promoting the right kinds of innovation and that it should be left up to the private market and that there are solutions out there that are low cost that can change the way we access space, particularly using things like micro satellites and achieving orbit at a much lower cost.

COLVIN: I know that you do more than just follow the stocks. You think and write a lot about this whole thing. If you could take off your analyst hat for a moment and just put on your big thinker hat, what would you like to see the U.S. do in space?

MECRAY: I think space ultimately has to bring home a tangible benefit. And if NASA's going to project a mission, and they're expected to do that probably this year, that mission is going to have to have real tangible value -- scientific value, and I might add a lot of the work that has been done in space today doesn't have legitimate scientific value or are limited, frankly, given the investment required to achieve that. So, they're going to have to bring home a more definitive scientific achievement and value back to the consumer.

And secondly, it's going to have to be involving I think more private sector interest. If government funding is limited, you're going to have to get the private sector in there and you're going to have to present business models that make sense to the investor and the consumer. We have examples in space today of broadcast satellites, the primary market, including the one that we're using today to talk, as well as examples like direct broadcast radio feeds. Some of these things are starting to catch hold, present real business opportunity, and I think show promise. NASA in the future should promote these types of things, should promote innovation in areas that the consumer has interest. That will bring home the promise of space to the American consumer. It may limit the kind of exploration, the kind of big picture move to Mars that we are talking about anytime soon, but it will move space down a path of realistic returns and future innovation.

COLVIN: You've mentioned some of these companies that are in space one way or another, satellite business, privately. Are there any of them that you follow and like?

MECRAY: You know, the companies that I follow involved in space really are the larger primes today. So from an investment standpoint, I focus my recommendations on people who do a lot of interesting things with satellites and are improving access to space by reducing launch costs. Those are the Boeings, Lockheed Martins, certainly Northrop Grumman, and others like Raytheon.

COLVIN: Right. We should do the disclosures. I believe your firm has investment banking relationships with I think all of the firms you've mentioned.

MECRAY: We do by practice seek work with each of these companies.

COLVIN: And I also believe you do not personally own them.

MECRAY: Correct.

COLVIN: Christopher Mecray, thanks so much.

MECRAY: Thank you.

Meaty diets and investing

(video package starts)

GIBBS: Hi. My name is Karen, and I am a carnivore. Cows are my food friends. I adore a thick, juicy steak. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey -- it doesn't matter. I like meat.

It appears that most Americans like meat too and we eat amazing amounts of it every year: Over 75 pounds of chicken, more than 65 pounds of beef and 50+ pounds of pork. Add in turkey, lamb and the occasional veal chop and this country eats a whole lot of meat.

Heck, this is the country that even created an international diet craze that says it's okay to eat bacon -- yes, the Atkins low-carb diet is all the rage. Ten million U.S. consumers now say they are trying to lose weight by eating fewer potatoes and pasta and more protein.

Ten million consumers! Now that's a number that gets a lot of attention in the business world and scores of companies have hopped on the low-carb bandwagon. From shakes, to bars to ice cream; it seems is everyone is making products with reduced carbohydrates. Even Subway, who created its own mini diet craze with its sandwiches, has launched a low-carb alternative.

But the big winners seem to be the folks who produce the eggs and meat that make up the central component of the diet -- the protein. Since last year we are eating 17 percent more bacon and 14 percent more eggs. And even with the current mad cow news, two-thirds of Americans still see the meat supply as safe.

(video package ends)

GIBBS: Whether you call it Atkins, The Zone, South Beach or Protein Power, it's all the same: Low-carbs and high protein. Jon Markman is editor and founder of StockTactics Advisor. He sees some real winners and losers in this diet trend and he joins us from Seattle. Harry Balzer of the NPD Research Group looks at what American's are eating and why. He joins us from my hometown, the carnivore capital of the world, Chicago.

Harry, what's going on here? Why are so many people starting their day with 5 strips of bacon and three eggs?

HARRY BALZER: Well, I think this is a larger issue. It's about America's desire to lose weight, and I think that's really what we're talking about. And we've found a credible way to do it with a low-carb diet. I don't think you have to go too far to find a friend, if not yourself, who has lost a few pounds trying this diet, and I think that's really what it's about.

GIBBS: Well, is this craze for real, Harry?

BALZER: I think it is for real. We clearly are changing our patterns right now. I think the real question is how long it's going to last. The last time we had a craze like this was in 1994, which was really the end of a period where Americans had tried to remove things from their diet to improve their health or improve their weight. That trend was low-fat, and a couple of years before that it was low-cholesterol, and before that it was low-sodium and caffeine-free and sugar-free. As a matter of fact, I tried all those products in the hopes that I'd live longer. And that was back in the '80s, and so far it's worked for me, so I'm pretty sure I'll be on this one, as well.

GIBBS: Well, Jon, what about the issue of mad cow? We can't get around that.

JON MARKMAN: No, we can't get around that. But I would say that the very, ironically one of the more interesting plays in this area would be the book publishers, because Dr. Atkins' book has sold over 15 million copies for St. Martin's, which has been his publisher for many years. Unfortunately, St. Martin's is part of a German conglomerate and we can't buy it, so we have to focus more on the protein producers in this country instead. You know, companies like Tyson, Smithfield and Sanderson Farms down in the Southeast.

As far as mad cow disease is concerned, what you really have is a fascinating sort of battle of the mega-trends. You've got mad cow on one hand, where people don't want to eat beef because they're afraid of catching this terrible disease; on the other hand, they want to lose weight. And my belief is that people would rather die thin, so I'd give the trump card to Atkins.

BALZER: But there is no question that mad cow certainly gave us pause. Another one of the things that NPD does is we track food safety in this country and we have for the last two years. Every other week we ask: how do you feel about food safety issues? And during the last week of last year, we saw an increase in concern about mad cow like we've never seen, even during the bovine bonfires in Great Britain and the Canadian outbreak. Last week of this past year we saw an increase of concern about mad cow, but we haven't seen people change their behavior yet. The radar screen is up, so be careful yet here. If this expands beyond what it is today, we'll have changes in our behavior with regards to beef. But right now it's going to move as it has been moving in the last couple of weeks here.

MARKMAN: Certainly an important aspect of mad cow has been the fact that the Japanese, the South Koreans, and Mexico and many other countries have basically stopped taking U.S. exports of beef. And this has really hurt the pure play beef manufacturers. But it doesn't hurt someone like Tyson as much because Tyson is a triple threat. First of all, they don't own any cattle. They're an inventory-less company. They only process it. And they also have chicken and hogs. Tyson has been a beaten-down stock in the last few years. It didn't really participate in last year's rally as much as a lot of other mid-cap companies, and that's why I think Tyson in particular can benefit from the Atkins, the secular movement towards a low-carb, higher-protein diet.

GIBBS: Jon, are there any other ways that investors can get in on the pure beef play or jump on this low-carb, high-protein bandwagon?

MARKMAN: Oh, sure. One of the interesting aspects of this low-carb craze is not just a shift towards protein, but away from carbohydrates. And to the extent that people want to eat less bread, bread manufacturers will be hurt. Well, what do they do? They go out and try to make low-carb versions of their breads. And the way they do that is not necessarily by taking out the carbohydrates, but by adding more fiber. When you add more fiber, you have less net carbs.

There's a small-cap company based in Kansas called MGP Ingredients, MGPI, that makes an ingredient that helps these bakeries create lower-carb versions of their standard breads, so that's an interesting way to play it.

Another way to go may be the soy meal manufacturers and producers, companies like ADM (Archer-Daniels-Midland) and Bunge, to the extent that cattle processors or cattle yards will not be using as much meat in their feed. They may be using more soy, and that would benefit those two companies.

And finally one other company I'd take a look at is Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson makes Splenda, which has become the sugar of choice, the sugar substitute of choice for low-carb dieters.

GIBBS: Harry, as we go forward here and everybody's trying to jump on this low-carb and high-protein diet, are people still going to eat out?

BALZER: Yeah, they're still eating out. As a matter of fact, the trends toward eating out have been increasing in the last two weeks. The growth in eating out in this country has been the strongest we've seen in the last two years. So even the mad cow hasn't stopped it, and Americans are coming back out to eat at restaurants.

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» From FORTUNE:
Atkins World

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But I think it's another issue with this low-carb that's going to give it some time, some life, is that every manufacturer who has a product that is high in carbs is thinking right now about offering a low-carb alternative. And as that plays out and Americans try these new things, that's going to give this a life of about two or three years before we really start to see this taper off. And I have no doubts about it, because I know one thing about Americans: we like to try new things. And this is one of those things that we're trying because, gee, we'd all like to lose weight, and the one thing I know that we want to do about losing this weight is we want to do it as easy as possible. And it would be great if we could continue to eat as we have been eating in the past.

MARKMAN: One company that really jumped on the bandwagon early was Budweiser when they created their Ultra low-carb beer and began advertising it as a low-carb beer well before any of their competitors. And I believe that Ultra now has 3 percent of market share in the supermarkets, which is fantastic for a beer brand that's only been out for about a year and a half.

BALZER: And that's critical, too, because as that becomes more successful, the big manufacturers are going to look at that and say we've got to get into this business, and they'll be trying it as well, and that will give it life. Even though we'll long have stopped talking about low-carbs, consumers will have new options to try so that the consumption of it will actually continue to increase years after we've stopped talking about this craze that we're talking about right now.

GIBBS: So, Harry, what is the next craze once we get through this low-carb, high-protein faze?

BALZER: Well, actually in my mind it's pretty easy. In 1994 we tried to lose weight by getting rid of the fat in our diets. Now we're trying to get rid of the carbohydrates. There's only one thing left in the food that you get calories from, and that's protein. So it seems to me, somewhere down the line, I don't know, five years, 10 years, we're going to come up with -- right now someone's writing a book on the low-protein diet. And then after that, we'll have figured out, gee, it's not the fat, it's not the carbohydrates, it's not the protein. Maybe we should stop eating a little bit.

GIBBS: Well, Jon, let me ask you, if I can still lose weight by drinking my beer and eating a ration of bacon, why would I want to go to a health club? And is this signaling the end now of some of these health clubs and companies that are investing in helping us lose weight?

MARKMAN: Oh, no I don't think so, not at all. The Atkins books and the South Beach books and all of the low-carb lifestyle advocates recommend a great deal of exercise, in fact two or three days of solid exercise per week. And one of the things I think that gives the low-carb movement or the low-carb lifestyle a little bit more life than others may suspect, is that even when people go off their diets -- and as we all know something like 50 percent of people go off a diet after about 6 weeks and about 70 percent go off it after about 6 months -- even after they're going off of the low-carb diet, they are staying on carb watch. So about 40 percent of people say that they watch their calories, about 45 percent say that they watch their fat, and according to a Morgan Stanley research study that I saw, 30 percent of people say they are watching their carbs, even if they're not on a low-carb diet.

GIBBS: Harry, let me ask you this, because are we really eating what we say we're eating, or are we mixing our metaphors here? Because people are still obese. We still have a real obesity problem here in the United States.

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» What Balzer's watching in 2004

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BALZER: Oh, no question. As a matter of fact, NPD has been collecting data since March 1, 1980. Every day we have had people give us records on all the foods and beverages they eat. Now that's a long time span. During the '80s, this country was all about health. As a matter of fact, everybody went out and got their athletic footwear. We were all ready to wait in those lines at those fast food restaurants, and run if we had to. And you couldn't convince anybody that we were getting heavy at that time, even though we were. So what we say and what we do, particularly when it comes to the privacy of our food, are two different things.

I will tell you this, back in 1977 when we did our very first study, the number one food ordered at a restaurant in 1977 was a hamburger. And do you know what it is today? Still a hamburger. We don't change all that much. But again, behind this craze right here, this is actually giving us interesting things that we already do. We like to eat meat. This country is a meat-eating country. So now we're just saying, hey, let me give you a new option here, give you a new way to look at the meat eating, and there are a number of people who are considering it.

MARKMAN: You know, I think that's really important in terms of the longevity of this diet, because Atkins is really a fantastic diet for men. This is the first diet which you can admit to other men that you're on. You know, you actually hear people talking in the locker rooms, talking about fitness clubs, about being on Atkins and all the weight that they lost. So really I think that to the extent that men can be on this diet and go out and have a steak for lunch instead of a salad, it really prolongs the longevity of the trend.

BALZER: Well, I'll give you one more stat. Right now today, as we speak, 61 percent of all Americans would like to lose 20 pounds. Whether they're going to do it or not, they have that desire to lose 20 pounds, and I think that's what this whole issue with not only Atkins, and we're going to see variations of Atkins along the way, is playing to, is that there's high desire out there to lose weight. We know we're heavy. We want to lose some of that weight.

GIBBS: Jon, let me ask you really quickly about some of the fast food chains, because we're talking about hamburgers. Well, McDonald's, they're now offering a bunless burger to appeal to these that are jumping on the high-protein diet. Do you think that's going to have legs?

MARKMAN: You know, what it really says to me about McDonald's is that they're willing to be flexible, they're willing to be nimble, they're willing to offer things that people want. They've done a fantastic job of pulling themselves out of the doldrums by offering salads. And if people want a bunless burger, by golly, they're going to offer it to them. You know, another chain whose stock is actually I think pretty undervalued right now is CKE Restaurants.

This is a company that is behind the Hardee's brand and the Carl's Junior brand. They offer a big, beefy burger with lettuce around it, and I think that is one stock that can really benefit in this regard.

GIBBS: All right. Jon Markman, Harry Balzer, thank you very much.

MARKMAN: Thank you.

BALZER: You're welcome.

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