TheStreet.com's MIDDAY UPDATE
April 17, 2000
Market Data as of 4/17/00, 1:39 PM ET:
o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,368.44 up 62.67, 0.61%
o Nasdaq Composite Index: 3,333.16 up 11.87, 0.36%
o S&P 500: 1,360.07 up 2.76, 0.20%
o TSC Internet: 695.28 down 18.59, -2.60%
o Russell 2000: 444.61 down 9.11, -2.01%
o 30-Year Treasury: 105 21/32 down 27/32, yield 5.835%
In Today's Bulletin:
o Midday Musings: Living in Limbo: Traders Watching Warily as Market Bounces Around
o Herb on TheStreet: Lessons From an Overheated Market
Also on TheStreet.com:
Wrong! Tactics and Strategies: Cramer's Crash Course: Part 1
The introduction to a five-part series that outlines how to survive and thrive after the crash of 2000.
SiliconStreet.com: The Individual Investor Speaks
The buy-the-dip crowd is favoring Cisco while others are cashing in their retirement accounts.
Banking: Repayment Demand Expected to Deepen Concerns About Conseco's Cash Flow
The demand from two large creditors for early loan repayment is the latest in a series of woes.
Dear Dagen: Some HOLDRs Turned Out to Be Folders
In fact, some of the recent HOLDRs turned out to be pretty good indicators of a market top.
Midday Musings: Living in Limbo: Traders Watching Warily as Market Bounces Around
4/17/00 12:56 PM ET Everybody on Wall Street knew that one of two things was going to happen this morning.
The bell would ring and everything would be called down massively, continuing
Friday's rout, which would mean it was time to step in and buy. Or stocks would run higher at the open -- an idiot bounce -- and it would be time to sell.
But neither of those things happened, and now the Street is stuck in a morass of doubt, where nobody has any conviction on where the market is headed, and nobody wants to do a damn thing.
"Sitting on our hands," is how Sam Ginzburg,
senior managing director of equity trading, put it. "It's quiet, the phones are quiet. All we have right now for trades are real short-term -- sometimes 10 seconds."
The open was one of the most confusing in recent memory. Stock index futures fluctuated wildly in the overnight
electronic trading session. After being down as much as 24 points, the
S&P 500 futures managed to briefly trade higher, before dipping a bit below the flat line ahead of the open. The
futures whipped wildly, swinging over 150 points. They started out the Chicago session to the downside, but quickly turned.
"There was pretty good two-way flow early on, and then the Nasdaq futures took off," said Brad Benshop, equity futures trader for
J.P. Morgan Futures
. "I don't have a sense if it was short covering or real money. I guess my gut sense is that it was real money."
But Benshop doesn't see a whole lot of belief behind that buying. "This time around is different than all the previous dips," he said. "Confidence has been shaken."
That lack of confidence may mean that the market has further work to do on the downside, said
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
technical strategist Phil Roth. When investors see that stocks have not made a V-shaped bottom, that it is not off to the races again, they will become disheartened. So far, thinks Roth, there hasn't been any of the real fear that chartists like him like to see before they call a big selloff over.
"Clearly, complacency is being shaken out, but we're not seeing the capitulation you see on a good bottom," he said. "The real pessimism comes in when the market fails to rally."
Roth reckons that it will take a couple of weeks for that to happen, and that once the final selloff sets in, the average stock will go down much less than the glamour stocks that until last month were blowing the doors off the market. "I think the bubble's burst in the speculative favorites of 1998 and 1999, and it will take some time to clear the air," he said.
For Ginzburg, too, the market looks fragile here. He reckons the only thing keeping the market up here is a hope that earnings reports, which will begin coming out in earnest tomorrow, will somehow save the day. Let's hope so.
"If earnings come out good and they sell them off on the earnings," he said, "see you later."
Dow Jones Industrial Average
lately was off 55, or 0.5%, to 10,251, having traded as high as 10,462.13. The S&P 500, which had also been in the green earlier, was down 9, or 0.7%, to 1347.
Nasdaq Composite Index
also slipped into negative territory, and lately was down 34, or 1%, to 3287. It traded as high as 3454.70 earlier.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was off 29, or 4.1%, to 685.
New York Stock Exchange:
857 advancers, 2,034 decliners, 639 million shares. 7 new 52-week highs, 113 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market:
1,250 advancers, 2,887 decliners, 1.36 billion shares. 5 new highs, 512 new lows.
For a look at stocks in the midsession news, see Midday Movers, published separately.
Herb on TheStreet: Lessons From an Overheated Market
4/17/00 6:30 AM ET
Nothing like Monday morning quarterbacking, but in retrospect here are 10 warning signs, in order of occurrence, that would've let you known (and in the future, could let you know) that this market was (or is) headed for something we'll tell our grandkids about:
- Interest rates start to rise. (Rising rates are
never good for stocks, even if their impact isn't yet being felt.)
The exec of a company whose stock is overly heated gets named
Time's Man of the Year. (
Jeff Bezos deserves plenty of credit for starting
Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report, but Man of the Year?!)
Making money (and I'm talking high-double digit returns) in the stock market simply became
too easy. (Whatever happened to being pretty damn happy to get an average annual return of 10%?)
Hostile React-O-Meter seems to be spinning outta control,
outta control, I tell ya, with an unusual frequency.
The latest controversy over whether value is dead (remember
JJC's comments just before the market's top?) and, in the same breath, that
Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) - Get ReportWarren Buffett is being characterized as a rusty relic.
The yield curve turns inverted. (Never good when you're getting paid more to take less risk.)
My column is suddenly feeling (to me, at least) irrelevant (and I start mentioning how irrelevant it feels, in the column, every now and then).
Biotechnology stocks rally. (I'm a big believer in biotech, but when they start rising indiscriminately
just because they're biotech, that cannot be good.)
I write that my email has fallen to a trickle (
anybody out there?), I satirically write that I'm throwing in the towel about being the resident bear (
remember my month-early April Fool's joke?) and Cramer -- yes,
Cramer! -- writes over and over about how important it is to take money off the table.
My short-selling sources start talking about closing up shop. (None did, but in recent weeks I learned never to start a conversation with the customary, "Howya doin' " because
none of them were doing particularly well.)
From the shameless self-promotion department:
If you haven't already done so, don't forget to check out
my weekend piece that took apart Cramer's Manifesto No. 5. It prompted
to write: "It begs a question you -- and perhaps only you -- can someday answer: What are reasonable time frames to expect the fundamentals to eventually overwhelm the gamesmanship?"
Joel, it can go on for years and it only stops when they can no longer fool their auditors (who force them to restate prior financials), customers (who cut down on purchases because they're already too stuffed with merchandise) or investors (who throw in the towel because the company
warns that the gig is up and it can't meet estimates).
Can't help but remember the heat I took when I wrote (and mentioned on our
show a while back ) that maybe
should change the spelling of its name to "Anchor" Communications (because of where its stock was headed.) Took tremendous heat; even Cramer, on our
show, suggested I was wrong! He cited the company's recent deals with
; Intel had actually invested in that company.
Let's just say I hope nobody is counting on Ancor's stock to help the investment gains portion of Intel's earnings statement when it reports on Tuesday. So far this year Ancor has fallen 70%, and the fall isn't
because all of tech has fallen. Remember? It preannounced a few months back that it would miss fourth-quarter sales and earnings estimates.
Really, look for more from me later today if this market continues to gyrate.
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.
Copyright 2000, TheStreet.com