Let's forget about electric vs. acoustic for a moment. One of the most valuable investments a new guitarist can make is in a guitar stand. Keeping your guitar out of it's case, in plain view at all times, is tremendously important - you'll find yourself playing MUCH more. If you decide on an electric guitar, you might even consider leaving the cord in the guitar, plugged into the amplifier. That way, you can simply pick up the guitar, flick the amp on, and begin playing.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. I hesitate somewhat in recommending specific guitars, because even guitars that are the same make and model vary greatly from instrument to instrument. Having said that, here are a few specific models of guitars that I've found to be almost uniformly well constructed, while still having an excellent dollar-value. Although there are hundreds of guitars which would make fine beginner instruments, the following are a few I've had some experience in playing.
Acoustic Guitar Recommendations
These Canadian-made instruments are very highly regarded, and although they're not ultra-common, with a few phone calls to local music stores, you should be able to find one. Price generally runs in the area of $350 USD. Perhaps a little more than you'd like to spend, but the resale value for this guitar will be quite high. Trust me, if you can afford it, this is a great guitar to start on.
Electric Guitar Recommendations
Squier Standard Stratocaster
These aren't WONDERFUL guitars, but considering the beginner-friendly price, they're fine. They tend to have sub-par electronics, but these can be upgraded over time. And, if you ever want to sell, these guitars should have a good re-sale value. You can often find these guitars new for around $200 USD. Word on the street is, if you can find a used, American-made model, grab it up.
Hope these recommendations help out! Please note - these are just my opinions, and they might not be shared by everyone. For more insight into finding a great guitar, check out the Gear Review Archive. Best of luck in finding the right guitar for you!