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I started the day with a set amount to invest. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was my first thought, as the savvy Web 2.0 world is lusting after all of Apple’s products, from the sexy upcoming iPhone release to the underreported Leopard OS release. With the iTunes store, Apple is best positioned to take advantage of legitimate for-profit use of multimedia on the web including movies, mp3s etc.

But Apple’s big releases won't make it to the market until June and there is plenty of room for fluctuation until then, especially given the growing credibility surrounding the rumors of a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) phone. I myself now want a Mac and an iPhone and I’ve never been an Apple lover before. Plus, what other company has two popular magazines devoted to its product (MacLife and MacWorld). Great stock if you have a couple of months and don’t care about value as much. Apple stayed about the same today. On the 3 fundamentals APPL has:

a. Forward P/E of 27.65
b. No debt and a big cash surplus
c. Price/Book of 6.88

AAPL 1-yr chart
AAPL

The next stock that I threw all my cash at is Meritage Homes (NYSE:MTH), a top 10 builder nationwide.

There is blood in the streets in housing. Many stocks such as this one dropped more than 50%. Homes are a necessity and will be bought. The drop was mostly caused by a sub-prime mortgage market crisis. Subprime customers are those who do not qualify for prime market rates because of limited credit.

MTH:US: Approximately 6%-7% was subprime. I think the drop is irrational exuberance, but it may take the market a while to realize. The market for MTH bounded up for over 1% in early trading. I was thinking of taking my money and selling out, but decided not to, and MTH ended the day down 2%. Damn.

Fundamentals:

a. Debt/Equity .73
b. Forward P/E 18.62
c. Price/Book .86

MTH 1-yr chart
MTH

I was also thinking of Central Garden & Pet Co. (NASDAQ:CENT), which:

a. has a crazy low Price-Book of 0.42
b. Forward P/E 16.95
c. Total Debt/Equity 0.79

This is the stock I probably should have gone for with a large margin of safety; it has a diversified pet-supplies and outdoors product line and it ended the day up 1.5%. Though pet supplies aren’t a necessity, pet owners are a loyal bunch.

CENT 1-yr chart
CENT

Which of these would you pick?

Source: Apple, Meritage or Central Garden & Pet: What Stock To Buy?