WORLDCOM: WORTH THE WAIT? Currently, WCOM is one of the cheapest major telecom providers in the world, based on sales or cash flow. Looking out two years, I figure WCOM will generate sales of about $13 per share. In the old days (the early and mid-1990s, before the tech/telecom bubble inflated), respectable phone companies -- not the whiz-bang cellular start-ups --typically sold for 1.5 to 2 times sales. Thus, we arrive at a projected share price of $20 to $26 for WCOM in 2004. That's a nifty gain of 200%-400% from today's quote. But can WCOM deliver? The main risk is that a double-dip recession might unravel the company's finances. At the moment, though, WCOM appears to have adequate reserves -- over $1 billion in cash and no bank debt or commercial paper. The recent layoff announcement shows WCOM is serious about keeping costs in line with revenues. Bottom line: WorldCom is clearly a speculation. (We're carrying it in our aggressive Ten-Baggers List.) If you already own the stock, I encourage you to hold on. However, I won't advise new purchases until we see proof that WCOM's earnings have taken a turn for the better.