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daily10-10-99

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TheStreet.com's DAILY BULLETIN

October 11, 1999

http://www.thestreet.com

Market Data as of Close, 10/8/99:

o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,649.76 up 112.71, 1.07%

o Nasdaq Composite Index: 2,886.57 up 25.87, 0.90%

o S&P 500: 1,336.02 up 18.38, 1.39%

o TSC Internet: 732.79 up 9.57, 1.32%

o Russell 2000: 427.71 down 0.40, -0.09%

o 30-Year Treasury: 99 00/32 down 7/32, yield 6.189%

In Today's Bulletin:

o Editor's Letter: The Coming Week on TSC
o Market Update: Weekend Report: France Telecom May Buy Out Its Global One Partners
o The Coming Week: Fed-Obsessed Market Will Turn Its Gaze to Earnings
o The Coming Week in Europe: Ex-Finance Minister's Heart and Wallet to Meet at Frankfurt Book Fair

Also on TheStreet.com:

Wrong! Rear Echelon Revelations: State of the Web: Yahoo! Envy

How

do

they do it? JJC says the winning ingredient is a stellar management team.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/wrongrear/793022.html

TSC

Technical Forum: Giving It the Old College Try

Gary wants feedback on your alma mater. Also, charts of Cisco, CMGI, Microsoft and more.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/techforum/792812.html

This Week in IPOs: A Few Fundamentals, Part One

A refresher course on the basics of an IPO, plus this week's deals.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/ipoweek/793020.html

Easy Money: Easy Money: Brits Get Webby at First Tuesday

These Nethead gatherings on the Thames have blossomed into a meat market for British VCs and their suppliants.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/easymoney/792173.html

Editor's Letter: The Coming Week on

TSC

By

Dave Kansas

Editor-in-Chief

10/10/99 6:28 PM ET

Weekends are a little different in the investing world. Markets, which used to be open on Saturday mornings, are dormant. Usually-intense weekday investors move at a different pace. And instead of acting on tidbits, the weekend is a time to ponder the previous week's events and recharge for

the coming week.

I know you've come to enjoy our weekday smorgasbord of columns, news and analysis. I encourage you to taste the weekend's mixture of information, entertainment and insight. The

TSC Weekender smartly wraps up what happened in the previous week with a witty summary of the three events that mattered most to the market. Moreover, weekend coverage includes clever takes on basic rules (why spell bank like banc?) and answers questions about

investing,

options,

personal finance,

taxes and other items of interest.

Keeping with the educational theme, the weekend section includes a

James J. Cramer

rewrite of a particularly important column from the week before. The deeper explanation can help readers better understand the Wall Street lingo that Cramer favors when whipping off his diary-like items from his trading turret.

If you've got suggestions about how we can make our weekend coverage even better, please email

Jane Penner

at

jpenner@thestreet.com. She'll be happy to hear from you!

The Y2K issue is creeping closer to D-Day. The topic has captured a lot of attention among investors, some betting that significant Y2K hype could produce some interesting trades. We're tackling the Y2K issue in a

series of stories that analyze not only the prospects of real Y2K problems, but also how investors should approach the Y2K issue. We'll have more in the weeks ahead as we tick down the remaining days before the calendar turns.

If you're curious about what's happening in the Internet investing space, David Readerman, the director of Internet strategy at

Thomas Weisel Partners

, is one of the best people to talk to. On Tuesday staff reporter

Spencer Ante

and Readerman will take your questions on a

Yahoo!

chat. The chat starts at 5 p.m. EDT and it's free. You do need to

register before chatting, however.

Finally, if you've got any comments, questions or thoughts, please feel free to email me at

dkansas@thestreet.com. I'll make sure your issues are dealt with promptly!

L'Etoile du Nord

Dave Kansas

Editor-in-Chief

Market Update: Weekend Report: France Telecom May Buy Out Its Global One Partners

By

David Rheingold

Special to TheStreet.com

10/10/99 7:50 PM ET

How do you cap a week during which the biggest-ever telecommunications merger was announced?

With the biggest telecommunications trade conference in the world. An estimated 200,000 people converged on Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday for

Telecom 99

.

Amid the din of deals and expansions,

France Telecom

(FTE)

said it was willing to buy out its two partners in

Global One

, a U.S.-French-German telecommunications alliance that has been plagued by infighting. Fred Rucker, a member of Global One's executive board, told

Reuters

he estimated the venture was worth well more than $10 billion.

The other two partners are Germany's

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

and the U.S.'

Sprint

(FON)

, the recipient of the record $115 billion bid from

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

last week.

Deutsche Telekom also plans to sell its 10% stake in Sprint.

Germany's

Siemens

has acquired a 15% stake in

NeoPoint

, a privately held company in La Jolla, Calif., that makes smart phones. Siemens is aiming to triple its mobile phone sales by 2001. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Redback Networks

(RBAK)

wants to ease

traffic congestion in Europe -- online traffic, that is. The company said Sunday it is opening offices in Europe, where cable TV companies, Internet firms and telecommunications carriers are trying to meet a surging demand for the Internet.

Meanwhile,

World Access

(WAXS)

is looking to increase its own access to European consumers. The company is eyeing the purchase of half a dozen telecommunications companies there, Walter Burmeister, president of the privately held

FaciliCom International

, told

Reuters

. FaciliCom is now merging with World Access.

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

, a U.S. network operator, said Sunday it will soon announce acquisitions in Europe or Asia. The company recently bought

Frontier

.

Rupert Murdoch

is in talks to buy a 25% stake in Germany's digital television company

Premiere

, the U.K.'s

Independent

newspaper reported Sunday. Murdoch's

News Corp

(NWS) - Get Report

is looking to expand its presence in Europe.

Software maker

Real Time Synthesized Entertainment Technology

may soon make its debut on the

Frankfurt Stock Exchange

. The company is a subsidiary of Israel's

BVR Technologies

(BVRTF)

, which announced Sunday the hiring of two European underwriters for the deal.

J. Sainsbury

, the British supermarket giant, is shopping for a partner. In the face of mounting competition, the company is looking for potential buyers in the U.S. and Europe, the

Sunday Times

in London reported. Its rivals include

Tesco

and

Asda

, the latter of which was earlier this year taken over by

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

.

Back home,

Ford

(F) - Get Report

and the

United Auto Workers

reached a tentative agreement after a marathon contract negotiation session that lasted nearly 30 hours. Details were not disclosed, but sources told

Reuters

the union agreed to let Ford spin off its

Visteon

parts unit as long as the unit's workers are still considered Ford employees.

Think polo playing in an orchard.

Warnaco

(WAC)

, which makes

Fruit of the Loom

,

Olga

and other brands of apparel, said Sunday it was launching a $525 million bid to buy swimwear company

Authentic Fitness

(ASM) - Get Report

, whose brands include

Polo Ralph Lauren

.

In Canada, just over 94% of the

Canadian Auto Workers

ratified

DaimlerChrysler's

(DCX)

three-year contract proposal, the union announced Sunday.

In the Papers

Deutsche Telekom is in talks with

SBC Communications

(SBC)

, unnamed sources told German weekly newspaper

Welt am Sonntag

. The sources did not reveal the focus of the discussions. Speculation about some sort of Deutsche Telekom acquisition is rampant, especially with the money it stands to gain from selling its stakes in Global One and Sprint.

Virgin Atlantic

(VIRGY)

denied a report in the

Sunday Times

that the airline was planning cutbacks. A company spokesman told

Reuters

that, within the next year, Virgin Atlantic actually plans to add routes from London to Chicago, Cape Town, Las Vegas and Nigeria.

After selling the idea of a merger to the customers of banking giants

Norwest

and

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

, CEO Richard Kovacevich is now trying to sell them on a myriad of financial services. He told

Barron's

that cross-selling is the key to Wells Fargo's growth. The company is looking at buying small Midwest banks, but would not comment on speculation that targets may include

Comerica

(CMA) - Get Report

,

Commercial Federal

(CFB) - Get Report

and

ReliaStar

(RLR)

.

Exodus

(EXDS)

is trying to keep shareholders as other companies invade its turf. Exodus, which operates server farms, has seen its losses drop 41% this year, but CEO Ellen Hancock told

Barron's

she predicts a turnaround within the next two years.

Barron's

also features an interview with Anthony Weber, who manages the

(VERDX)

Alleghany/Veredus Aggressive Growth Fund. His stock picks include

Optical Coating Lab

(OCLI)

,

Varian Semiconductor

(VSEA)

,

Terayon Communications

(TERN)

,

Cytyc

(CYTC)

,

3DO

(THDO)

and

Navistar

(NAV) - Get Report

.

********

David Rheingold is a New York-based freelance writer. At the time of publication he had no positions in any of the securities mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.

The Coming Week: Fed-Obsessed Market Will Turn Its Gaze to Earnings

By

Justin Lahart

Senior Writer

10/8/99 8:04 PM ET

Earnings are coming, and they're going to be good. Big deal.

Join the discussion on

TSC

Message Boards.

Yes, it's ugly to think the market won't at least momentarily take its eyes off of interest rates to gaze lovingly on third-quarter results. Consensus estimates call for

S&P 500

companies to add 19.3% to their numbers over last year, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, and it is likely that, as is usually the case, final results will be even better than that.

But with the

Federal Open Markets Committee's

move to a tightening bias at its meeting on Tuesday, the market still lacks clarity on what's going on with interest rates. Effectively, the bias tells the market that the Fed will weigh the coming economic data and then figure out if it should hike or not.

"The Fed's action will keep investors obsessed with every statistical wiggle that crawls across the tape," said Charles Crane, chief market strategist at

Key Asset Management

. "That means volatility, and whether the market recovers to post a new high or if it drops below 10,000 will depend on the tenor of economic statistics between now and the next Fed meeting."

Economists are pretty much on the fence when it comes to Fed. One camp says the odds favor tightening; the other says they favor standing pat. Friday's bizarro September

jobs report

, with its unexpected drop in payrolls, did nothing to resolve things. Because it was so out of whack with estimates, there's a general sense that there will be a payback when the October numbers are reported next month.

"If, as many suspect, this number was subject to distortion, you could still get a very strong number next time around," said Marc Wanshel, financial economist and Fed watcher for

J.P. Morgan

. Moreover, Wanshel notes that in the minutes to the Aug. 24 meeting, the FOMC said it was "concerned about the potential for increased cost pressures even if the labor market doesn't get any tighter."

Yes, the economists at J.P. Morgan think the Fed's going to tighten in November.

Not that the outlook from those who think we'll squeak by without a rate hike this is entirely sanguine.

"We're looking for pretty bearish economic numbers through the rest of the month," said Mike Cloherty, senior economist at

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

Inflation numbers don't look like they'll be all that good. The September

Producer Price Index

, coming out on Friday, should gain about 0.5% overall, 0.4% excluding food and energy prices, according to First Boston (both those numbers are 0.1% ahead of consensus). Oil prices stayed strong in the month, and

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

(RJR)

and

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

boosted prices to distributors by 11%.

On the positive side, Cloherty said there should be some signs of moderating growth in the September

retail sales

figures, coming out on Friday. The suggestion of a slowing may take enough of the sting out of strong inflation data this month to keep the Fed pat.

"In the end, we think the data isn't going to be strong enough to force the Fed to move in November," said Cloherty, "but it seems unlikely that we'll have enough data to have any confidence in that until the next employment report" at the beginning of next month.

But just because the market remains on Fed watch, and just because there remains a real possibility there's another hike coming, doesn't mean stocks have a heck of a lot of downside left in them. The economists at

Salomon Smith Barney

are some of the more hawkish ones on the Street, but the strategists at the firm doubt there's much stuffing left to knock out of equities.

"At this point, everything we look at tends to say that things are about as bad as they're going to get," said Solly equity strategist Jeffrey Warantz. "The Fed, they've done their damage. The market has pretty much priced in the expected rate increase."

Though he doesn't expect a shoot-em-up rally at the end of the year, Warantz does believe stocks will be higher when everyone's trying to remember the words to

Auld Lang Syne

. "Do I expect to see

Dow

12,000 by the end of the year? Absolutely not. Do I think it's possible that the Dow could end the year at 11,000? It's well within reason."

The bond market will be closed Monday for Columbus Day

.

Europe: The Coming Week in Europe: Ex-Finance Minister's Heart and Wallet to Meet at Frankfurt Book Fair

By

Marc Young

German Correspondent

10/9/99 12:25 AM ET

The

Frankfurt Book Fair

is one of the largest trade fairs for the publishing world each year, but next week the event will play host to a settling of old political scores.

One of the over 6,800 book exhibitors from more than 100 different nations will be the former German Finance Minister and purveyor of old-school socialism

Oskar Lafontaine

. Lafontaine will present his new book,

The Heart Beats on the Left

, on the fair's opening day Wednesday. By most accounts, the text of the book is a diatribe against his erstwhile colleague and current Chancellor

Gerhard Schroeder's

odious centrist leanings and deals with the period leading up to Lafontaine's resignation and retreat from public life last March.

Over the past few weeks, excerpts from Lafontaine's book have fairly stirred up the country's political scene. His criticisms of Schroeder's "new middle" policies and his condemnation of the government's austere budgetary proposals have brought him into open conflict with the leadership of his own center-left

Social Democratic Party

.

For Schroeder and the SPD, the timing of the book's release couldn't be worse. The party has just stumbled through a string of stinging defeats in regional elections as voters deserted in droves to the center-right

CDU

and the far-left

PDS

, the remade Communist party of East Germany. Schroeder has remained steadfast in his support of the unpopular spending cuts, but Lafontaine's attack has raised doubts over whether the SPD rank and file will continue to endorse the voter-losing measures.

Lafontaine's row with the leaders of the SPD has gotten so bad that there have been calls for him to tender his party membership. The PDS has said it would be happy to accept him as one of its own, but for the time being Lafontaine says he will stay in the SPD, although he now believes that a coalition with the PDS at the federal level should not be considered taboo.

Criticism of such an alliance has come from many quarters including

Nobel Prize

-winning author

Guenter Grass

, who said he was ending his friendship with Lafontaine and it would be best if he "shut up" and "drank his wine," referring to the ex-finance minister's self-styled image as an epicure and gourmet.

For its part, the PDS is trying to capitalize on the fracas and is presenting itself as the only truly left-wing party in the country, hoping to make big gains in western Germany. The next chance to see how much damage Lafontaine has inflicted on his own party will be on Sunday during local elections in Berlin. The PDS has stepped up its campaigning in western sections of the city, hoping to lure away disgruntled SPD supporters, but the CDU is expected to retain control of the capital's legislature.

For the equity markets, telecommunications shares will likely be of interest in the coming week as the industry conference

Telecom 99

kicks off Sunday in Geneva. The forum only takes place every four years, so companies are likely to take the opportunity to offer up some news in the hope of catching some headlines.

Investors will continue to digest the fallout from

MCI WorldCom's

(WCOM)

$115 billion bid for

Sprint

(FON)

, which is part-owned by both

France Telecom

(FTE)

and

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

. Also in the news last week was France Telecom's announcement it would buy a stake in German mobile-phone carrier

E-Plus

and Deutsche Telekom's purchase of 35% of

Telecom Croatia

.

On the economic front, Italy and the Netherlands will release figures for August industrial production, and Germany, France and Spain will publish figures for September consumer prices. Inflation is expected to creep up as global energy prices continue to rise.

"It's frequently argued that because inflation is still so low there is no need for the

European Central Bank

to tighten yet," says Catherine Lee, an economist for

Greenwich NatWest

, a unit of

NatWest

(NW)

, in London. But "the bottom line is that even if the ECB may not expect a take-off in inflation ... the case for keeping a very expansionary

monetary stance is now practically nonexistent."

Lafontaine, always an avid supporter of loose monetary policy, may have something to say about that at the book fair, although he may be busy with cynics lambasting him for the large sums of cash he stands to reap from his vitriolic tome. Belittling his book's title, his critics have become fond of jibing, "The heart may beat on the left, but the wallet definitely sits on the right."

John J. Edwards III on MarketTalk

Monday, October 11

Chat with John J. Edwards III on AOL's MarketTalk at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

MarketTalk is hosted by Sage Online. (Keyword: PF Live)

Vern Hayden on CNBC

Tuesday, October 12

Vern Hayden will be on CNBC's Power Lunch starting at noon.

Spencer Ante and David Readerman

Tuesday, October 12

Join Spencer Ante and Thomas Weisel Partners director of Internet strategy David Readerman for a chat on the Internet sector at 5 p.m. EDT on Yahoo!

Chat at: chat.yahoo.com. It's free!

Copyright 1999, TheStreet.com