When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than BeerS

Last month, shares in the New York Times Co. dropped below the $4 cost of a Sunday paper, and shares in Citibank fell below the cost of the bank's ATM fee.

The Times Co. has since rebounded, closing yesterday at a full penny above the price of its Sunday edition, but risk-taking ATM users could still better spend their money by buying two shares in Citibank than by using one of its machines.

Which got us to thinking about what other companies are now underwater when one considers the share price against the cost of the things they actually sell. Here's a fun list of firms that you could own a piece of for less than the cost of the their products, based on their share prices at yesterday's close. Prices are for New York.

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

General Electric: $8.86
GE 45 watt fluorescent light bulb: $14.97

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

Altria Group (maker of Marlboro): $16.60
Two packs of Marlboro cigarettes: $20

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

Anheuser-Busch: $20.16
Case of Bud Light bottles: $24.99

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

Office Depot: $.92
Bag of rubber bands: $4.59

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

Wendy's/Arby's Group: $4.03
"Baconator" combo meal: $8.24

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

Borders: $.51
Mr. Wiggle Bookmark: $3.99

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

The Gap: $10.61
Pair of Gap dotted boxer shorts: $12.50

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

Whole Foods: $12.71
One pound of sea scallops: $18.99

When It's Cheaper to Buy Companies than Beer

General Motors: $1.89
2009 Saturn Outlook XE: $32,625


[Photo by Walknboston]