Stock picks and pans: MSFT, AMSC, IBM, PLA, BKS, SPLS, AAPL, TGT ...

As the market tries to come to terms with the state of the economy, the financial, the auto and the housing sectors, as well as digest the different bailout and stimulus plans, investors continue to find value and growth stocks appropriate for long-term investors. Here are a few picks from BloggingStocks and around the Web:

Microsoft (MSFT) decided recently to get into retailing as well, but that is not why Bill Martin thinks it's a buy. The real money, however, is still in its core business of the Windows operating system, its server systems and other software products. They have made Microsoft the cash cow that it is.

American Superconductor (AMSC), while not a profitable company yet, should benefit from an update of the nation's power grid, says Jim Powell. It "looks particularly attractive at this time because the company's second generation technology is now available. The new systems should open many additional markets."

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has been through a recession or two, so it knows how to survive and will likely survive again. It did in fact beat estimates in the recent quarter, and Joseph Lazzaro thinks it will beat again. Since it has a diverse international footprint, it is ready to ride it anywhere a recovery begins.

Playboy Enterprises (PLA) shares now trade at less than a copy of its latest namesake magazine. But despite the change in management and the announced cost cutting measures, Mark Fightmaster wouldn't look for a rally any time soon due to technical reasons.

Barnes & Noble (BKS), Best Buy (BBY), Intel (INTC), Staples (SPLS) and Tiffany (TIF) are five stocks that benefit from others losses, which SmartMoney brings. Best Buy could benefit from Circuit City's demise, BKS from Borders' (BGP) hardships, and Intel from all the problems plaguing Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and so on.

Apple's (AAPL) stock is best approached with a healthy degree of caution, says Richard Widows of, as are most companies dependent on the diminished spending power of consumers.

Target's (TGT) stock may finally hit the bull's-eye, says Johanna Bennett of Barron's. Despite the recent decline, with multiples are bouncing off five-year lows and the stock "offers a compelling opportunity for patient investors with a long horizon."
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