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Fast Money Madness: Pepsi vs. Merck

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Get ready for Fast Money madness! As the NCAA tournament heats up, we're pairing off the most-talked about 64 companies on the street. Here are the rules.

From tech to healthcare, financials to industrials we here at Fast Money seeded the stocks based on Wall Street analyst opinion. The higher the opinion, the higher the seeding.

The fast money five will determine the winners through heated debate, bracket by bracket . We'll battle through the elite eight and the final four - And end up with a national champion -- the best stock, decided upon by our guys.

The second region to battle it out is … Health & Home

This bracket is home to the most controversial number one seed in PepsiCo (PEP) but the analyst ratings do not lie. Wall street loves this soda stock and their new female coach Indra Nooyi. Some see her as the University of Tennessee’s Pat Summitt of finance.

Pepsi will have a tough first round match-up for a one seed. They’re going head to head with Merck (MRK), though the drugmaker comes into the big dance having lost 2 of its last 3 Vioxx trials.

And in a match-up of Dow industrial conference powerhouses, 4 seed Altria (MO) locks horns with 13 seed, Coke (KO). While loved by the street, many in the public despise Altria as much as the 1990 UNLY squad because of the way they play the game.

Dylan Ratigan says today’s match-up is Pepsi (PEP) vs. Merck (MRK)

Eric Bolling likes Pepsi because they have had 10% returns for the past 3 years running. He reminds us that they’re not just a soda-maker, they make salty and sweet snacks. Merck is still trying to get back to 2004 prices.

Guy Adami says Pepsi is going to run out of steam and Merck has a deep bench.

Tim Strazzini says Merck needs to shell out cash and buy a pipeline. He likes Pepsi.

Jeff Macke chooses Pepsi. Give it to the fat kids with the soda, he says.

Dylan Ratigan declares Pepsi the winner!

Here are the results from other match-ups in the Health and Home space as announced today on Fast Money. Winners are in bold.

McDonalds (8) vs. Amgen (9)

Barr Labs (5) vs. Lowe’s (12)

Altria (4) vs. Coca-Cola (13)

Target (6) vs. Starbucks (11)

UnitedHealth (3) vs. Wal-Mart (14)

Procter & Gamble (7) vs. Allergan (10)

Gilead Sciences (2) vs. Nordstrom (15)

See The Fast Money Brackets From TV

*The teams were seeded using analyst ranking data from the Wall Street blog http://tickersense.typepad.com/ .

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
MRK
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PEP
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Questions? Comments? fastmoney@cnbc.com

Trader disclosure:
On MAR 12, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders. Bolling Owns (BP), (DIS), Gold, Silver, Soybeans I s Short Corn; Macke Owns (JWN) Strazzini Owns (EWG), (STM), (SNDK), (VZ), (WMT), (HAL), (MER), (YHOO),(T)