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No. 3 - It's Alive

Although many investors saw their gains laid to rest today, the coffin industry was anything but dead.

Funeral service provider, Service Corp. International (SCI), surged 7% today after its first quarter earnings killed street estimates. And casket and hospital bed maker, Hillenbrand Industries (HB) said it was splitting into two companies, sending shares up 10%.

Well, nothing lasts forever and these companies may find themselves with some stiffer competition from Costco (COST).

Following are excerpts of the report filed by CNBC Business Reporter Jane Wells on Fast Money.



It's been more than two years since Costco started selling caskets, and sales have been so lively, Costco plans to expand the number of in-store self service kiosks, where members choose a finish...fill out a form, or go online, and order a casket shipped directly to a funeral home. The price? One that would usually run you $2,500 are available for $799.

When a big box retailer gets into the wooden box business, there are ripple effects--casket prices across the industry have come down. Caskets that produce a $1000 or $1,500 dollars in profit 3 or 4 years ago are now maybe producing $500 dollars in profit. (The average funeral now costs $6,500)

Of course, not everyone wants to choose a casket in the same setting where shoppers are buying toilet paper and roasted chicken.

Though for some, that's just fine. In fact, Costco has turned casket buying into something like car buying. People are coming into casket stores with internet printouts showing Costco prices.

Jane Wells joins the guys via satellite from Los Angeles. She and the guys all agree, as the baby boom generation gets older, this is the ultimate growth industry.

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Trader disclosure: On May 10, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders
Macke Owns (SWY), Strazzini Owns (CBS), (HLT), (MER), (WMT (JBLU), (YHOO);Bolling Owns Gold, Silver Bolling Is Short S&P Futures, Bolling Is Short Nasdaq Futures Gartman Is Short (NUE), Gartman Is Short (BG)