daily12-05-99

Author:
Publish date:

TheStreet.com's DAILY BULLETIN

December 6, 1999

http://www.thestreet.com

Market Data as of Close, 12/3/99:

o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 11,286.18 up 247.12, 2.24%

o Nasdaq Composite Index: 3,520.63 up 67.85, 1.97%

o S&P 500: 1,433.30 up 24.26, 1.72%

o TSC Internet: 1,028.54 up 51.34, 5.25%

o Russell 2000: 464.58 up 4.14, 0.90%

o 30-Year Treasury: 98 04/32 up 24/32, yield 6.257%

In Today's Bulletin:

o Editor's Letter: The Coming Week on TSC
o Market Update: Weekend Report: AT&T's Loss Could Be ISPs' Net Gain
o Wrong! Rear Echelon Revelations: State of the Web: Just What Is B2B, Anyway?

Also on TheStreet.com:

This Week in IPOs: With Lots of Deals in the Offing, It's Another Big Week for IPOs

The number of deals this week surpasses that of several

months

in 1998.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/ipoweek/833546.html

Jim Griffin: Asymmetrically Awestricken

The jaw-dropping rise of the Nasdaq reflects a growing gulf between the sheep and the goats.

http://www.thestreet.com/comment/jamesgriffin/833479.html

The Coming Week in Asia: Japan GDP Data Could Weaken Yen

Also, China readies for an economic boom as it inches closer to WTO membership.

http://www.thestreet.com/markets/comingweekasia/832681.html

The Coming Week in Europe: German Data May Offer Clues to Euro's Direction

Manufacturing orders, the most forward-looking of next week's economic reports, will be released Monday. Signs of strength could boost the flagging euro.

http://www.thestreet.com/markets/comingweekeurope/833131.html

Editor's Letter: The Coming Week on

TSC

By

Dave Kansas

Editor-in-Chief

12/5/99 4:44 PM ET

The stock market during the past several months has become an even more bewildering place. Debates about mere bulls and bears have given way to hyper discussions about stocks that move in 20-, 30- or 40-point increments. Some of these stocks head decisively higher, while others enjoy brief moments of glory before plunging back to earth.

The addling nature of such moves in the market creates both wealth and confusion. Which stocks will behave like

Red Hat

(RHAT)

and which will behave like

Ariel

(ADSP)

? What's happening with

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

? These are the kinds of questions that everyone is asking, and we are endeavoring to answer them. Columnists like

James J. Cramer

,

Gary B. Smith

,

Herb Greenberg

and

Jim Seymour

sift through these stocks every day, trying to make sense of what's happening. And our staff of technology and markets reporters is busily working to keep you up to speed on the latest twists in these amazing stories.

Certainly the broader market is vital, but the jaw-dropping stuff deserves more examination, and we're going to deliver it for you. Moreover, we're giving you a chance to talk to each other about this phenomenon. Check out our Red Hot stocks boards in the Community

section, and early this week we will add boards on the most wildly moving stocks. Often, the best insight on these stocks comes from you, our sharp-eyed readers. And, of course, you should check out the daily tote board in the

Matt.com Jacobs vs. James J. Cramer B2B rotisserie draft.

This week we will also deliver some Yuletide fare related to those e-commerce sites that seem to advertise on every available piece of space out there. This package of stories should help put the egg nog and cider season into electronic perspective.

On a housekeeping note, we've recently made changes to speed up the load time on the home page, and we will continue the tweaking until you're satisfied. If you've got ideas or suggestions, please feel free to email me at

dkansas@thestreet.com or

members@thestreet.com. We'll get on the case.

L'Etoile du Nord

Dave Kansas

Editor-in-Chief

Market Update: Weekend Report: AT&T's Loss Could Be ISPs' Net Gain

By

David Rheingold

Special to TheStreet.com

12/5/99 7:39 PM ET

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

will open the lines of communication -- to its rivals. The

Washington Post

reported Sunday that the company has agreed to let rival Internet service providers use its high-speed cable lines. Sources tell the

Post

that the concession was part of a tentative deal the company has reached with ISP

MindSpring Enterprises

(MSPG)

.

The U.S. wants airlines to keep tabs on the safety records on their foreign partners, sources tell

Reuters

. The proposed requirement would apply to U.S. airlines that write tickets for flights on foreign airlines.

Meanwhile, competition in the domestic aviation industry could soon get tighter thanks to an overseas competitor.

Richard Branson

tells the

Sunday Times

in London that he is moving ahead with plans to launch a low-cost airline in the U.S., encouraged by the startup of service in Australia.

Overseas,

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

, which has lately been fending off would-be acquisitor

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

, now faces an attack from within. Germany's

Welt am Sonntag

newspaper reports that a group of Mannesmann shareholders filed suit against the telecom giant in Germany Friday. They want the company to stop fighting Vodafone's repeated takeover attempts and let shareholders decide how to proceed.

Having successfully disrupted the

World Trade Organization

meeting in Seattle last week, opponents say they are now setting their sights on the free-trade pact between the U.S. and China. Expect Round 2 of this fight early next year.

Even though sales plunged 50%,

Disney's

(DIS) - Get Report

Toy Story 2

topped the box office for a second weekend in a row, with receipts of $28.3 million. Following were James Bond's

The World is Not Enough

, with $10.6 million,

Ah-nuld's End of Days

, with $9.7 million,

Sleepy Hollow

, with $9 million, and

The Bone Collector

, with $3.1 million.

In the Papers

Unlikely as it may sound,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

could become a takeover target,

Barron's

reports. Speculation has it that the automaker's highly profitable

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

unit, which operates

DirecTV

, could attract a group of investors, the magazine reports.

Xeikon

(XEIK)

has been facing sluggish growth along with the rest of the digital printing industry, but it also faces the growing threat of cheaper competitors,

Barron's

reports in its latest issue.

Barron's

also takes a look at auto-parts maker

Arvin Industries

(ARV)

, which hopes to see its sales and earnings double during a five-year period ending in 2002.

Life's about to get a little more interesting for sports fans in London.

Video Network Communications

(VNCI)

, which provides video-on-demand, will announce a deal with

Universal Sports Marketing

to air live football and boxing there, London's

Independent

newspaper reported Sunday.

Rupert Murdoch's

BSkyB

pay-TV service will take a 24% stake in

Kirch Group

, a pay-TV business in Germany, Murdoch tells France's

Le Figaro

newspaper.

David Rheingold is a New York-based freelance writer. At the time of publication he was long Disney, although holdings can change at any time.

Wrong! Rear Echelon Revelations: State of the Web: Just What

Is

B2B, Anyway?

By

James J. Cramer

12/5/99 3:33 PM ET

It hit me, watching our television show, that we are assuming a level of familiarity with the Web that is false and too radical when we talk blithely about business-to-business.

Join the discussion on

Cramer's Latest, go to the

Red Hots Forum

, or visit our

B2B Forum

.

B2B is, for purposes of this discussion, like saying, "Do you know the market?" Are you talking about stocks, bonds, governments, gold, real estate, oil? Are you talking about buying stocks, selling stocks, working in a brokerage house or being employed as a stock-picker or a futures trader?

In other words, "business-to-business," like "the market," is a meaningless concept unless fleshed out.

I don't pick the analogy idly. The stock and bond markets are in many ways close to being perfect. They have posted prices, efficient ways of delivering the goods, and settled ways of doing things.

Could you imagine if everything were like the stock market, where you could buy or sell anything at the best price, efficiently, and not worry about delivery, as we don't in the stock market? Can you imagine if the custom of the paper or the chemical or the steel industries was as clear-cut as the custom of your buy of 200 shares of

America Online

(AOL)

?

That's what business-to-business is all about, making markets in things that didn't have markets, or regional markets, or shady markets before.

Let's say you are setting up a store, a general merchandise store. You need everything from merchandise across a whole host of industries to sell to the actual accoutrements of your store, everything from cash registers to boxes and bags to light fixtures.

I know I am oversimplifying things a tad, but I am trying to get you into this world because that is where the money is being made.

The ultimate B2B play would be if you, the general merchandiser, could go online among a bunch of storefronts and get the best prices for all of those goods. You would then have them delivered to a location and you could start up, knowing that you had procured everything as cheaply as possible and with no middleman.

That's what almost all of the B2B plays in our

rotisserie league are about. So

Stamps.com

(STMP) - Get Report

is about not having to get in line at the post office. And

RoweCom

(ROWE)

is about getting all the publications you need at the best prices. And

VerticalNet

(VERT)

, which I am long, is about finding one place to buy all of those things you need at the cheapest prices.

Now, imagine, sometimes an auction-style market brings out the best price. Sometimes, because you have better credit, or more money, or something that suppliers want, you can negotiate directly, pick up the phone and short-circuit the whole process.

But that is a rarity. For the most part purchasing decisions are made by people who don't know enough and can't get enough information to do a good job.

Business-to-business plays are meant to change all of that. They are meant to change the way goods are bought and sold in every industry.

Let me take one more stab. Imagine this crazy world. You want to buy a stock. You go to the yellow pages under "stocks," and you see some stocks that you recognize and a whole host of them you don't. All say that prices are "negotiable," but nobody will give you a price over the phone. You have to come in, and you have to bring a pickup truck because you can't take "delivery" of a stock without one. When you get there, you better bring a lot of ID and your tax returns, as well as a

Dun & Bradstreet

credit check and letters of recommendation. If you live in a big city, you get better stocks than in a small city. You go to the wrong stock and you get the wrong price and you get burned.

That's how business is run right now for

everything but stocks

. When this B2B revolution is over, everything will be traded just like stocks. And the world will be a better, more efficient, more fair place.

Random musings:

Our best

TV show yet. Look, if you can't get

Fox News Channel

on your cable system, it is time to make some noise. I can't get it on mine, in Summit, N.J., and if something doesn't change very soon, I think I am going to mete out some pain to my cable operator. Join me.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long America Online and VerticalNet. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.

Copyright 1999, TheStreet.com