daily10-31-99

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TheStreet.com's DAILY BULLETIN

November 1, 1999

http://www.thestreet.com

Market Data as of Close, 10/29/99:

o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,729.86 up 107.33, 1.01%

o Nasdaq Composite Index: 2,966.43 up 91.21, 3.17%

o S&P 500: 1,362.93 up 20.49, 1.53%

o TSC Internet: 750.79 up 30.97, 4.30%

o Russell 2000: 428.64 up 5.83, 1.38%

o 30-Year Treasury: 99 15/32 up 1 06/32, yield 6.149%

In Today's Bulletin:

o Editor's Letter: The Coming Week on TSC
o Market Update: EgyptAir Flight Crashes Off the Coast of Massachusetts
o The Coming Week: Spirits Soar as Fed Clouds Clear
o The Coming Week in Europe: Markets Expect ECB to Hike Rates

Also on TheStreet.com:

Wrong! Rear Echelon Revelations: State of the Web: Dot-Com Big Spenders Leave Analysts Cold

The downgrades of MarketWatch.com and Amazon.com mark a return to sanity.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/wrongrear/809502.html

This Week in IPOs: Cobalt Networks Looks Hot This Week

Ben Holmes is back with some obvious winners.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/ipoweek/809514.html

Jim Griffin: Conservation of Uncertainty

How do markets deal with a reduction in uncertainty? Jim Griffin has a new theory.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/jamesgriffin/809490.html

Middle East/Africa: Oil-Rich Nigeria Sees the Glimmerings of Economic Potential

Resolution of pressing problems in this troubled country could help a new leader take advantage of opportunities.

http://www.thestreet.com/int/mideast/808739.html

Editor's Letter: The Coming Week on

TSC

By

Dave Kansas

Editor-in-Chief

10/31/99 2:55 PM ET

Walking through the canyons of Wall Street this weekend, it's hard not to notice what had everyone's attention on Friday. Scraps of newspapers and shredded documents still float through the strange updrafts, last signs of the

New York Yankees

World Series parade, a seeming annual event in these parts.

Being on Wall Street, we give you the straight scoop from the heart of the action. We fight through parade crowds to help you feel on top of the trading day. And when big events occur, we're right there for you. Former Treasury Secretary

Robert Rubin

striding through the trading floor at

Salomon Smith Barney

this week was big news on Wall Street. And if you haven't read Peter Eavis's

story on that moment, you really should. It's an example of how we can take you right into the heart of the action.

And there's plenty of action to track. Scary October has come and gone, and we're still standing. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(old version) started the month at 10,337 and ended it at 10,729. Not exactly the harrowing decline that many were expecting, though the middle part of the month hardly felt easy.

Now we open November with a new Dow Jones Industrial Average but with some old fears still lurking. With the earnings season largely out of the way, focus will once again turn to the

Federal Reserve

. Will

Greenspan

& Co. take action? Will they sit back? That debate, along with more chatter about Y2K exposure, is likely to make the market ride a little tougher. We'll be there every step of the way, with our markets team combing the action for each important detail in both the Briefing Room and in the bond and stock updates and roundups.

Away from the hurly-burly, we are settling into our recently updated design. While most of you have expressed appreciation at the subtle and important changes, we have also noted some performance problems. We're working on those issues aggressively, making sure that we can get you precious information as quickly as possible. If you have additional comments about the design or functionality, don't hesitate to email our customer service group at

members@thestreet.com.

For those of you scrambling for something interesting on the weekends, we continue to add to your options. First, "TheStreet.com" television show, under the direction of

Gary Schreier

, comes at you three times over the weekend on

Fox News Channel

. It's on at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Saturdays and again at 10 a.m. ET on Sundays (this Sunday's show was pre-empted by news coverage of the tragic crash of an

EgyptAir

flight off the coast of Nantucket, Mass.). Check out the Fox

page on our site for details, polls and video of the show.

In addition, the weekend coverage continues to surprise with new ideas. Last week we added a

contest that tests every market maven's expertise. And, of course, there are all kinds of goodies and prizes for participants. In addition, we're adding to weekend personal finance coverage. Check out

www.thestreet.com/free to get the answers to your personal finance questions and other investment education and guidance.

From the weekend throughout the entire week, we're hustling to bring you more of the news and information that helps make you a wiser investor. Sharp stories about your favorite stocks and insightful commentary that can't be found anywhere else. It's a combination of news, information and data that we're always trying to make better.

Have a great week!

L'Etoile du Nord

Dave Kansas

Editor-in-Chief

Market Update: EgyptAir Flight Crashes Off the Coast of Massachusetts

By

David Rheingold

Special to TheStreet.com

10/31/99 8:16 PM ET

By now, you've no doubt heard about the tragic

EgyptAir

jetliner bound for Cairo that went down off the coast of Nantucket.

A full list of the more than 214 people feared dead has not yet been released, but the passengers on board included

Claude Masson

, assistant publisher of Montreal's

La Presse

newspaper, and his wife, the newspaper told

Reuters

. You can read the latest on the crash at

ABCNews.com

.

The plane itself was a Boeing 767, which has been involved in two other fatal crashes since 1982,

Reuters

reports.

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

, meanwhile, said a 1980 report of fuel tank problems in its military E-4B jet did not appear relevant to the aircraft's commercial cousin, the 747. A 747 was carrying the 230 people killed in the 1996 explosion of

TWA

Flight 800. The

National Transportation Safety Board

said Saturday it was dismayed that it did not get a copy of the report until this year.

The only hopeful news within the aviation industry this weekend was that

American Airlines'

pilots union had agreed to sit down at the bargaining table, ending a dispute over the airline's acquisition of West Coast carrier

Reno Air

. An arbitrator will decide the status of Reno's pilots under American's labor contract, a controversy that prompted a pilot "sickout" earlier this year. American is a unit of Texas-based

AMR

(AMR)

.

Elsewhere,

Danzas

-- a unit of Germany's

Deutsche Post

-- has made a $1.4 billion bid for

Air Express International

(AEIC)

, the U.S.-based freight forwarder,

Reuters

reported Sunday. The news came two days after a report that Air Express had rejected a $1 billion takeover offer by Danzas.

In an effort to break into the U.S. asset management business, German insurer

Allianz

is acquiring about 70% of

Pimco Advisors

(PA)

in a deal worth $3.3 billion,

Reuters

reports. Pimco, based in Newport Beach, Calif., manages about $256 billion in assets.

Pacific Life Insurance

said Sunday it planned to maintain its 30% stake in Pimco, and welcomed Allianz as a partner.

Visitors to the Middle East may soon recognize two familiar franchises:

Citibank

and

Planet Hollywood

(PLHYA)

.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

plans to open a Tel Aviv branch for corporate clients next year. Meanwhile, Saudi

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

, who's trying to save Planet Hollywood, announced he was opening a restaurant in Amman, Jordan, with more to follow in the Middle East and Europe.

The

Justice Department

is taking a closer look at

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

planned acquisition of

Visio

(VSIO)

, which makes technical drawing software. Visio said Saturday that both companies have been asked to submit more information about the $1.3 billion proposed merger.

In the Papers

Amid an investor selloff, home builder

Kaufman & Broad

(KBH) - Get Report

is planning a partial IPO of its French division on the Paris

Bourse

for the first quarter of next year,

Barron's

reports. CEO Bruce Karatz tells the magazine his company would likely retain a 60% stake in the new venture.

The latest Big Money poll in

Barron's

finds that more than half of the 165 money managers surveyed have either a "bullish" or "very bullish" market outlook for the next year. Some 69% also think

George W. Bush

will be the next president.

Speaking of presidential contenders ... If

The Donald

is worried about his ex-wives dishing up any marital secrets, he may find some pleasure in

Barron's

latest examination of some of the shady characters associated with

Ivana Trump's

company

5th Avenue Channel

(FAVE)

.

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: Spirits Soar as Fed Clouds Clear

By

David A. Gaffen

Staff Reporter

10/29/99 8:00 PM ET

The stock market brings out a lot of extreme emotions in people. A few strong sessions can rejuvenate one's spirits after weeks of slogging through the mud. Some try to convince themselves that a three-day rally means the frustrating, up-and-down range-trading may be over for a while.

This time, they ain't whistling Dixie.

Coming Week: Join the discussion on

TSC

Message Boards.

Stocks may have bottomed out a few weeks ago, but there wasn't much confidence that the market would head higher -- until the bond futures price bounced off its yearly low a few days ago. Technicians, believing the Treasury market was oversold, started buying, and that was supported by several friendly economic releases. While the threat of

Fed

hikes still looms, and many are predicting a blowout

employment report

next Friday, analysts still see blue skies on the horizon.

"This has been an on-again, off-again market, so no one should be surprised if we have a down week

next week," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at

First Albany

. "The one thing that does seem to have turned the corner is the bond market -- which means the stock market might have turned the corner."

Greg Nie, chief technical strategist at

First Union Securities

, is also optimistic. A pullback next week below 10,500 on the

Dow

would signal a technical failure to him. But saving that, he said, "We've gone far enough to say we've reversed the downtrend."

Why the outpouring of free love in the market? For the first time since early this year, the Fed outlook is beginning to clear up. The majority is still betting on another interest-rate hike come Nov. 16, when the Fed next meets. Following that, though, the Fed could be out of the picture until at least next spring. It took only a few releases to generate that sentiment -- a strong

gross domestic product

report, coupled with a weaker-than-expected 0.8% increase in the

employment cost index

, an important measure of wage inflation, and the 12% drop in the September

new home sales

report.

"My feeling is that it's 51 to 49 the Fed will hike, but when they do,

stocks will rally," says Al Goldman, chief market strategist at

AG Edwards

in St. Louis. "It's the 'dropping the other shoe' syndrome -- people will conclude the Fed is out of our face."

There's still a full complement of economic reports on the schedule before the Fed meeting, including third-quarter

productivity

figures, employment figures and the

consumer

and

producer price

indices. But those reports will now be informing a bond market seeking to do better, rather than worse.

All this is good news for the stock market: Lower interest rates support higher valuations and decrease companies' cost of capital.

It's noteworthy that the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

was up 9.2% this week. Stocks of lending institutions react strongly to changes in interest rates (banks hold large portfolios of bonds, and as rates fall, their return on investment improves).

Obviously, people still feel the need to

be careful out there.

Attempting to go long during the last six months has only gotten one burned.

In a bear market, investors are always looking for that "real bottom," be it a 20% decline, a

Fortune

cover declaring stocks dead or a panicked day of selling that ends with you collapsed in a heap of paper, deciding which of the cars (or children) to put on the auction block.

Some technicians believe it didn't exactly happen in either stocks or bonds. Manager surveys haven't shown fixed-income investors aggressively short the market, so they believe this could be the beginning of a brief leg up -- that's a prelude to a leg down.

"We never got the capitulation expected in the market, but we've hit new lows, and that should be enough to send us back toward the highs," said Michael Krauss, fixed-income market strategist at

Chase Securities

.

Both markets are likely to freak out temporarily when October's employment figures are released Friday. Seasonal adjustments and an expected turnaround after the 8,000 decline in payrolls due to Hurricane Floyd has economists predicting a 313,000 rise in payrolls for October. Chase Securities goes further, expecting a 400,000 rise, while

Salomon Smith Barney

is looking for a whopping 525,000 increase.

The Coming Week in Europe: Markets Expect ECB to Hike Rates

By

Marc Young

German Correspondent

10/30/99 12:25 AM ET

BERLIN -- Although

European Central Bank

President Wim Duisenberg hasn't indicated what costume he'll be wearing on Halloween, he has certainly put quite a scare into the Continent's rate-hike phobic.

After hearing Duisenberg and his cohorts ratchet up their hawkish rhetoric over the past couple of months, conventional wisdom has Europe's monetary authorities hiking borrowing costs anywhere between 25 and 50 basis points after the ECB's

Governing Council

meets this Thursday.

However, the central bank's telegraphing to the markets has always been somewhat muddled, and whether it will treat financial markets to a full reversal of its 1/2-point cut last spring or trick everyone and hold off entirely remains far from clear. Accordingly, things on the Continent are likely to remain edgy during the coming week in the run-up to the ECB's decision.

Much of the recent hullabaloo has surfaced around the ECB-cherished M3 money supply growth figures. Running above the bank's 4.5% target rate for months, last week a report showed M3 for September surged 6.1% from a year earlier, compared with 5.7% in August.

Since the end of the summer, Duisenberg has harped on the "generous" liquidity situation in the eurozone, while pointing toward M3 as one of the bank's most important indicators. At the same time, ECB Chief Economist Otmar Issing, who sits on the Governing Council and is a renowned hawk, said in a recent interview that money supply wouldn't be the only consideration for the central bank to hike rates.

Issing's comments, however, were more likely a caution that the ECB would not blindly follow the bouncing M3 figure in making policy, rather than a signal of the bank's reluctance to hike rates.

With the latest money supply figures, "the ECB has all the ammunition it needs to lift 'the foot from the pedal' in the words of Duisenberg," says David Brickman, an economist for

PaineWebber International

in London. "It does not seem likely

the ECB would continue to talk in this manner without actually acting on interest rates, and the odds on a Nov. 4 tightening have clearly shortened."

Although Brickman expects the ECB to raise rates by only 25 basis points in order to give Europe's economic recovery a little more breathing room, other analysts point to the bank's reluctance to be seen as having an "activist" role in setting monetary policy, increasing the likelihood of a 1/2-point hike.

The argument follows the same logic as the ECB's quashing expectations of further rate cuts by "going large" on its April cut. A 50-basis point hike would thereby allow the markets to relax with the knowledge that borrowing costs were set for a while.

Europe's central bankers also will have the October

purchasing managers'

indices for Germany, France and Italy to peruse. Due to be released Tuesday morning, the reports are expected to highlight the eurozone's economic rebound.

For the equity markets, much of next week's focus will be on the megaflotation of Italy's state-owned electricity company

Enel

on Tuesday. The IPO, which could net upward of $20 billion, would make Enel Italy's largest company by market capitalization.

Also of interest may be this weekend's gathering in Berlin of top CEOs and government officials under the auspices of the

Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue

. While the conference's leitmotif is rather broad, when people such as

DaimlerChrysler's

(DCX)

Chairman Juergen Schrempp attend, investors are likely to perk up their ears.

Otherwise the Continent's bourses may get off to a slow start Monday as some European countries celebrate

All Saints Day

.

Vern Hayden on PowerLunch

Monday, November 1

Vern Hayden will appear on CNBC's Power Lunch on Novermber 1, at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

John J. Edwards III on MarketTalk

Monday, November 1

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)

James J. Cramer Chats on Yahoo!

Tuesday, November 16

James J. Cramer will be chatting on Yahoo! at 5 p.m. EDT. Register for Yahoo! Chat at: chat.yahoo.com It's free!

Copyright 1999, TheStreet.com