Truth Serum: The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Net Stocks

A speculated announcement from Amazon likely will result in, well, nothing.
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OK, you're not going to get the same ol' song about Net stocks. You're not going to read here how the wishful thinkers are praying for takeovers to goose their shares. And there won't be any excoriation of Net analysts such as

Henry Blodget

, guys who basically are just doing their jobs.

The bigger issue is that this wonderful generation of individual investors will have to navigate its way through a change in what information means.

One glaring example popped up Wednesday on

StreetAdvisor.com

, which dutifully reported noise that

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

is ready to launch a "huge new product line." The site goes on to report that the "hardware is in place" and that an announcement is expected "within the quarter." (Amazon didn't return a call seeking a comment.)

That may turn out to be true. It may even turn out to be great news for Amazon. You know what, though? It probably won't.

Six months ago, Amazon's announcement that it was repainting its parking lot spaces would have juiced the stock 5 points. Under the summer's storm clouds, though, Net companies' actions fail to ignite the stock, even if the moves build market share or brand or eyeballs -- or any of the other inexplicable factors they feed us.

I ran the rumor by Paul Foster, who runs

1010WallStreet.com

and has been known to traffic in some "themes" himself. He summed up the situation perfectly: "Six months ago, that rumor might have been positive news. Today, when investors hear about a new product, it just means Amazon is spending more money."

Joining many others who have made the same comparisons, Foster likens Net stocks to the crazes that brought up biotech booms, casino stock scores and, of course, the rise and fall of

Snapple

. "There was a lot of wishing when those stocks went down, too," he says.

Not a peep from the rumor mill on

Alcoa's

(AA) - Get Report

hostile bid for

Reynolds Metals

(RLM) - Get Report

Wednesday morning.

JagNotes came close Aug. 9 with the sage words that Alcoa would acquire

Alcan Aluminum

(AL) - Get Report

for a 10-point premium over the company's 30-buck share price. (Alcan, of Canada, is in talks with France's

Pechiney

and Switerland's

Alusuisse Lonza

.)

Five days earlier, it said Alcoa would buy

Titanium Metals

(TIE)

for 22.

Well, at least Alcoa is making a bid for someone.

Foster says Reynolds options activity was more than double its typical numbers Tuesday. Still, the jump was to 1,700 contracts traded from 600, so it was a tough one to spot, typically too small to make it onto the most-actives list.

"It was a clean deal," he says, before warning to watch for more consolidation whispers in the sector involving names such as copper producer

Phelps Dodge

(PD) - Get Report

. "The theme will be to diversify risk

among commodity types, and that perception will start showing up in the next few weeks."