TheStreet.com's MIDDAY UPDATE
July 21, 1999
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Market Data as of 7/21/99, 1:19 PM ET:
o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,986.00 down 10.13, -0.09%
o Nasdaq Composite Index: 2,744.14 up 11.96, 0.44%
o S&P 500: 1,377.88 up 0.78, 0.06%
o TSC Internet: 609.25 up 15.52, 2.61%
o Russell 2000: 453.54 down 0.01, -0.00%
o 30-Year Treasury: 90 29/32 down 7/32, yield 5.901%
In Today's Bulletin:
o Midday Musings: Traders Look Ahead But Averages Haunted by Yesterday
o Herb on TheStreet: Why One Money Manager Doesn't Agree With My Coke Comments
Also on TheStreet.com:
Wrong! Dispatches from the Front: Your Net Friends and Enemies
Cramer examines the Net's opposing poles, America Online and Amazon.com, ahead of their earnings reports later today.
Internet: Amazon Eyes the Wilds of Main Street
The poster child for e-commerce has been in talks with at least one major specialty chain to set up kiosks for face-to-face sales.
SiliconStreet.com: Tale of Two Tracking Stocks
As Microsoft makes waves with its tracking-stock plans, GE quietly files with the SEC for its NBC Internet venture.
Market Features: Teen Wonder Makes Investment Challenge Look Like Young Adult's Play
Harris Kupperman, an 18-year-old from Glen Head, N.Y., led the pack in
Investment Challenge last week.
Dear Dagen: Dear Dagen: Another Round of 'Where Are They Now?'
Plus, more items from the mailbag, including a reader's critique of the Janus Web site.
Midday Musings: Traders Look Ahead But Averages Haunted by Yesterday
Investors wondering if
Friday's record-setting session was the end of the summer rally as we know it should still be wondering, and might even be worrying a bit.
Sure, it's encouraging that after yesterday's harsh sell-off, the major equity indices were up for most of the morning. But following a day like
yesterday -- when the
Nasdaq Composite Index
suffered its fourth-largest point drop ever -- stocks are bound to have something of a bounce to them, regardless if the near-term future holds a new leg up or a repeat of last summer. And come lunchtime on Wall Street, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
had taken a dip into the red while the Comp was off its early high.
Plus -- and this is a big plus -- market players are waiting for
testimony tomorrow morning. Given recent inflation-friendly economic data, most folks expect Greenspan's comments to be relatively
Gary Kaminsky, managing director of the asset management group at
Neuberger & Berman
, expects Thursday's G-SPAN to be relatively eventless -- as least as far as interest rates are concerned. "I don't think we'll get any indication either way, beyond the economy is growing and the world is stable. I don't think we'll get any indication of the next move, so we'll just continue to invest," he said.
"Yesterday's action was a trading story," Kaminsky continued. "And that had more to do with Monday's action and fears about a top of the market. That anniversary got into short-term traders' focus. It made for an interesting storyline." He referred to July 20, 1998, which
marked the Nasdaq's peak before an almost-30% late-summer plummet last year.
"There are two ways '99 is like '98," he added. "The market has been doing well for the last six months, and there was a feeling for profit-taking. But the interest-rate scenario is obviously different, and more importantly, we are not faced with an emerging-markets crisis. Unless there is a
Long-Term Capital Management
hiding somewhere, you can't compare the two years. ... It was just a day-trader type thing."
Although many attributed yesterday's selling to growing concerns about the year 2000 and the strain it may put on the PC industry, Kaminsky said that was just an excuse. "Regardless of whatever happens,
is always going to be cautious about the coming quarter, always. So why after 40 quarters, people would be worried beats me. I guess we have new investors that get involved with Microsoft every quarter. But, you know, in the second quarter of 2000, people will be blaming the 'post-2000' influences."
The Dow, meanwhile, was busy being influenced by the ongoing -- relentless, never-ending, evil, as some chart-compiling journalists might describe it -- earnings season. The blue-chip proxy lately was down 3.80 to 10,992, off an intraday high of 11,055.97.
, down 4.5%, was getting punished for missing numbers;
, up 0.5%, was being moderately congratulated for beating estimates; and
, down 1.5%, was getting lightly slapped for merely meeting expectations. Among the Dow leaders to the upside were
(on yesterday's list of most injured),
The Nasdaq had been recovering, gliding as high as 2769.60, but was lately was up 13.41 or 0.5%, to 2745.59. Broadcasting from Netland (which this week has garnered some enthusiasm from IPOs),
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was climbing nearly 16 to 609.53, below an earlier high of 617.73.
was up 1.56 to 1379 after trading as high as 1387 and as low as 1375. The small-cap
was down 0.23 to 453.32.
Market internals were mixed on lukewarm volume. On the
New York Stock Exchange
, decliners were leading advancers 1,444 to 1,292 on 426.3 million shares. But the ups still had the downs in
Nasdaq Stock Market
activity by 1,829 to 1,764 on 580.5 million shares. New 52-week highs were outpacing new lows 33 to 29 on the Big Board and 70 to 21 on the Nasdaq.
Bonds, yesterday's salvation from the equity tempest, were giving back some gains. The 30-year Treasury was down 8/32 to 90 29/32, yielding 5.91%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Paul Rich, a trader at
, said today's trading won't provide any answers. "We're just lingering around here, hanging out, waiting for Humphrey-Hawkins," he said. Like Kaminsky, the trader doesn't expect to get any breakthrough news out of Greenspan's testimony. Rich went on to say he doesn't expect the
Federal Open Market Committee
to change rates at its late-August meeting.
As for Tuesday's sell-off, he said: "What a wonderful run-up we've had. Yes, it was a decent sell-off, but certainly not cause for any alarm. ... We had a whole bunch of earnings overshadowed by the momentum yesterday, and I think that just shows what a momentum market this is becoming. We have all these new players in this market with access to the Internet and third-market brokers. And there are just a whole new set of parameters -- it's pretty funky."
Wednesday's Midday Watchlist
Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.
Three Dow components reported second-quarter earnings today with varying success. Eastman Kodak was up 3/8 to 73 5/8 after posting hot earnings of $1.52 a share, topping the 11-analyst estimate by a penny and up from last year's $1.38. Goodyear Tire was scuttling down 2 9/16, or 4.5%, to 55 1/16 after it said it earned 41 cents a share, missing the seven-analyst call of 45 cents and down from the previous year's $1.25. And Exxon's second-quarter numbers were just right -- 49 cents a share, in line with the 20-analyst consensus and down from the year-ago 65 cents. But in-line earnings are not a warm bowl of porridge, and Exxon was lately off 1 3/16 to 76 3/4.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
was rocketing up 8 1/8, or 16.4%, to 59 9/16 after
Johnson & Johnson
set plans to buy the biotech company for $4.9 billion in stock, or about $61 a Centocor share, based on yesterday's closing prices.
Fiber optic carrier
was lately up 2 3/16, or 6%, to 38 7/16 on news
is buying it for about $3.2 billion, including assumed debt. Under terms of the deal, each share of IXC stock will be converted into 2.0976 shares of Cincinnati Bell stock.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
was losing 1 1/8 to 35 7/16 after posting second-quarter earnings of 75 cents a share, four cents below the 18-analyst view and up a penny from last year's figure.
was off 1 9/16 to 69 15/16 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share, in line with the 23-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 41 cents.
was gaining 2 3/8 to 62 7/16 after posting second-quarter earnings of 27 cents, beating the 18-analyst estimate of 24 cents and up from the year-ago 18 cents.
was inching up 5/8 to 53 1/4 after it said it earned 37 cents a share in its second-quarter, beating the 23-analyst estimate of 36 cents and up from the year-ago 31 cents.
In other earnings news:
Offerings and stock actions
heads today's list of Net IPOs, lately advancing 7 5/8, or 63.5%, to 19 5/8 in its first day of trading, having been priced at $12 a share last night by lead underwriter
Hambrecht & Quist
, an online provider of business information, was lately up 15 1/16, or 107.5%, to 29 1/16 in its trading debut. Lead underwriter
J. P. Morgan
priced the stock last night at $14 a share, at the top of its pricing range.
was up a relatively modest 6, or 25%, to 30 1/2 in its first day on the market. Lead underwriter
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
priced Insight yesterday at $24.50 a share, above its expected range of $21-$23.
was surging 60, or 214.2%, to 88 after the IPO was priced by
Credit Suisse First Boston
at a whopping $28 a share, above its $24-$26 range.
was off a scant 1/2 to 35 15/16 after setting plans to spin off its oilfield drilling products division,
, to its shareholders.
was sinking 3, or 6.6%, to 42 3/8 after
downgraded it to hold from buy.
was plummeting 4 3/8, or 5.3%, to 77 5/8 after
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
cut it to neutral from outperform.
Herb on TheStreet: Why One Money Manager Doesn't Agree With My Coke Comments
Wimp out Wednesday:
No Coke ... Pepsi:
on last week's
show and in this column between
, me and my boss,
, (better known by
as Dust in the Wind ... don't ya love it!) prompted Mike Kagan, who runs the closed-end
Salomon Brothers Fund
, to opine in email that JJC and The Boss are right. "Coke has a great franchise, that can't be spoiled easily," he says. "But the multiple, at a 50% premium to the market, offers no upside if they turn things around."
That's why he likes
instead. "Pepsi has finally gotten its act together," he says. "They spun off their most capital-intensive businesses, the restaurants into
and the bottling ops into
Pepsi Bottling Group
. They have honed down the company to one awesome business (
) and one great business (Pepsi).
"Frito-Lay is even a better business than Coke. Volume growth is as fast as Coke's -- 7%-8%. Volume growth in its category, snack foods, is as fast as soda growth -- the only food categories growing faster than GDP. It has a huge, 55%+ market share in the U.S., and an even higher market share internationally. It has all of Coke's strengths plus one. It has no No. 2 competitor.
"Pepsi has even managed to gain soda share with a new product introduction in the cola area --
. And they are even behaving themselves by not messing up Coke's attempt to lift pricing in the U.S.
"Pepsi is trading at a discount to the market, or 1/3 less than KO. It's a screamer here."
And regarding this column's
: "You've got it pegged," he says. "The stock has no downside here, only dead money risk ... I think that the key thing to look for is industry consolidation. If Seagate's aggressiveness on price forces
out of the game, then that is the signal to buy Seagate."
On the other hand, "If Western Digital or Maxtor is somehow able to raise money to keep on going, then Seagate is much less interesting, as the industry downturn can continue for quite a while."
Don't say you weren't warned.
Point of order:
An item yesterday noted that Charles K. Stewart, a large investor in
, is also chairman of
. We've learned, thanks to a call from Aware, he
chairman until March.
Thanks for telling us! You wouldn't have known it unless you read the bio of every board member in the latest proxy, or happened to note who signed the most recent 10-K.
According to the proxy, from last April, Stewart had been chairman since April 1995. It didn't say that his term ended in March of this year. You only find that by reading the bio of John Kerr, which says Kerr became chairman in March of this year.
Still, go to a reputable financial site, like
, not to mention
, and who is listed as the chairman? Charles Stewart.
Why? Because Aware doesn't issue press releases about comings and goings on boards. Why not? Because, to paraphrase an Aware exec, it doesn't like putting out press releases every time somebody sneezes. (Would love to hear from other investor relations folks with their philosophies regarding press releases on board changes.)
Speaking of the Sabratek item:
The column mentioned that the
was a large holder of Sabratek as of April. So said Sabratek's proxy statement (which spelled Kaufmann with only one "n"). Kaufmann fund co-manager Hans Utsch, however, said Kaufmann sold the stock in December. Paper chase aside, Kaufmann would certainly like it to be known they do
own the stock -- as Utsch pointed out to my assistant Mark Martinez. Utsch continued that in December "we were short 10,000 shares at 25 1/2 dollars, and if you publish that, I'll deny that I ever said it."
Mark Finklestein, of Ithaca, NY, writes:
"You preface your comments on Sabratek by stating that 'it's borderline for this column to even write about. It has a market cap of less than $300 mil and a mere $65 mil in sales.' Fair enough. But consider some of the Net highflyers. Take
, for example. Yes, it has a market cap in excess of $5 billion. Its sales in the last year? A paltry $20 million! Yet untold barrels of cyberink have been shed over it. Who's to say what is worth commenting on, let alone investing in, in this brave new world of valuations?"
You'll note this column has never mentioned Inktomi!
Thanks, but ... :
passed along congrats in
his column regarding my coverage of
, which dropped 23% yesterday. Sorry, Jim, you got the wrong skin! You're thinking of
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.
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