TheStreet.com's MIDDAY UPDATE
August 3, 1999
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Market Data as of 8/3/99, 1:13 PM ET:
o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,643.75 down 2.21, -0.02%
o Nasdaq Composite Index: 2,575.24 down 48.39, -1.84%
o S&P 500: 1,318.83 down 9.22, -0.69%
o TSC Internet: 518.09 down 21.94, -4.06%
o Russell 2000: 434.42 down 8.21, -1.85%
o 30-Year Treasury: 88 01/32 down 3/32, yield 6.122%
In Today's Bulletin:
o Midday Musings: Net Stocks Endure Heavy Selling as Another Rally Is Dismantled
o Herb on TheStreet: Summer Re-Runs: Sabratek's Skid, Lernahooligan Alert and 4Kids Climbs.
Also on TheStreet.com:
Wrong! Dispatches from the Front: The Underpinnings Are the Underwritings
That's what is going to show us the bottom of the Net selloff.
IPOs: Market Grows Jittery but IPO Torrent Rushes Onward
A lackluster summer hasn't stanched deal flow, though some issues have failed to fulfill early promise.
Tech Savvy: Don't Yell 'Yahoo!' Quite Yet
A Yahoo!-Excite@Home linkup appears unlikely and, for the latter party, downright unwise.
Nothing but Net: Yahoo! Excitement Gives Way to Online-Trading Dejection
Trading-volume growth appears to be tapering off, a report says, and that means bad things for Net stocks.
Dear Dagen: Dear Dagen Wants More for Christmas Than Just Her Two Front Teeth
She has some ideas for funds-industry accountability, too.
Midday Musings: Net Stocks Endure Heavy Selling as Another Rally Is Dismantled
Yeah, about as nice as a surprise visit from
for Sunday dinner.
After opening on the plus side, major stock proxies quickly reversed their upward trajectory, and amid the lunch hour on Wall Street they were mostly under water.
Arguably the weakest (or most horrid) action in the market was in the Internet sector.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index -- which opened solidly higher thanks to a
Business Week Online
report that said
is in talks to acquire
-- quickly tumbled from its early intraday peak and subsequently fell deep in the red. The DOT had traded as high as 553.42 and as low as 517.54. It was lately down 25, or 4.6%, to 515.
However, Excite@Home President George Bell was quoted on
this morning as saying there was "no truth to the story" on
. Excite@Home was down slightly while Yahoo! was off 5%.
As for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, it was down 22, or 0.2%, to 10,624.
were the biggest drags on the Dow. The Dow had traded as high as 10,727.97.
was down 12, or 0.9%, to 1316. The S&P 500 peaked at the 1336.06 level. The
Nasdaq Composite Index
was down 58, or 2.2%, to 2565. The Nasdaq Comp traded as high 2649.21.
was off 2.1%. Meanwhile, small-caps were getting hammered. The
was off 8, or 1.9%, to 434.
Sector-wise, online brokers were getting shellacked after a Wall Street analyst released a report on online trading volumes. And the volumes weren't robust. On the news,
was off 9.3%;
was down 12.3%; while
was down 14.1%.
Gold stocks were soaring. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold & Silver Index
was up 4.1%.
In the Treasury market, the 30-year bond was lately down 5/32 to 88 2/32, yielding 6.13%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Volume was less than robust and breadth was -- as one would expect on a weak day -- was decidedly poor.
Despite the overall weakness, stocks are poised for a pop, according to some.
"I think we're probably ready for a rally," said Louis Todd, head of equities trading at
, or "a bounce of some sort" in the major indexes -- the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Comp.
Todd said -- when the Dow was up about 60 points late in the morning -- that the average, which opened strong, sold off and then snapped back, "will close higher from here."
However, bonds weren't giving stocks much of a hand. Todd pointed out that stocks are competing with the yield on the long bond which "makes it tough for stocks."
Some of the blame for the selling into this morning's rally came from fears that interest rates are headed higher, according to some.
People are worried about the next
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting, Todd said, adding that there seems to be about a 60% belief that rates are going higher in the wake of
testimony. "That's got people worried," Todd said.
The FOMC is slated to meet Aug. 24.
Traders also have their eyes on Friday's release of the July
New York Stock Exchange
, decliners were outpacing advancers 1,920 to 939 on 413 million shares. On the
Nasdaq Stock Market
, losers were beating winners 2,647 to 1,032 on 579 million shares.
On the NYSE, 100 issues had set new 52-week lows while 23 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 76 issues had set new 52-week lows while new highs totaled 45.
Meanwhile, among other indices, the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
was down 1.1%, the
Dow Jones Utility Average
was up 0.2% and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
was down 2%.
On the Big Board,
was most active with 27.1 million shares changing hands. It was down 5 1/8, or 5.6%, to 87 3/4.
On the Nasdaq,
was most active, with 20 million shares changing hands. It was down 5/8 to 70 11/16.
Tuesday's Midday Watchlist
Yahoo! lost 6 3/4, or 5% to 125 9/16 and Excite@Home slipped 11/16 to 42 1/4 after Excite@Home President George Bell denied a
Business Week Online
story which reported the companies had held talks over the last six weeks about a possible merger. Yahoo! reportedly would buy Excite@Home for some amount greater than its market value of $17 billion.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
America Online shed 5 1/8, or 5.6%, to 87 3/4 and
jumped 4 1/16, to 19 15/16 after the companies announced a retail services pact. AOL said it would make an unspecified investment in Radiant.
British American Tobacco
moved up 1/16 to 9 3/8 after it agreed to buy the 58% of
that it does not already own for roughly $6.8 billion.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
lost 1 1/16 to 35 11/16 after posting second-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share, a penny shy of the 10-analyst estimate of 58 cents and up from the year-ago 54 cents.
fell 2 1/8 to 62 1/8 after it posted second-quarter after-tax operating earnings of $1.22 a share, ahead of the nine-analyst estimate of $1.14 and up from the year-ago operating earnings of 98 cents.
lost 2 7/16 to 37 5/16 after posting a second-quarter loss of a penny a share, in line with the single-analyst estimate and narrower than the year-ago loss of 58 cents.
rose 2 1/16 to 34 1/2 after reporting a narrower-than-expected loss of 66 cents a share, compared with a five-analyst estimate of a loss of 69 cents, but wider than the year-ago loss of 34 cents.
moved up 1/2 to 12 3/4 after posting second-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, in line with the 11-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 28 cents.
slipped 7/8 to 52 1/2 after it posted second-quarter operating earnings of 68 cents, ahead of the one-analyst estimate of 65 cents but down from the year-ago operating earnings of 76 cents.
edged up 5/16 to 23 after it reported first-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, a penny shy of the eight-analyst estimate and down from the year-ago 28 cents.
ascended 5 1/or 10.2% to 59 1/4 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share, better than the eight-analyst estimate of 42 cents, and up from 57 cents a year ago. The company had a 2-for-1 stock split July 26 but reported fourth-quarter earnings on a pre-split basis.
moved up 1 3/8 to 13 15/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, in line with the five-analyst estimate and up from 11 cents a year ago.
Offerings and stock actions
(BGST:Nasdaq) was down 1 15/16, or 19.4%, to 8 1/16 in a poor first day of trading.
late yesterday priced 2.5 million shares at $10 each, cut from a planned 3.1 million shares at $12 to $14 each.
was wilting in its public debut, down 1 1/2, or 7.1%, to 19 1/2.
last night priced 6 million shares at $21, above the expected range of $16 to $18.
(QUOT:Nasdaq), was down 1 1/16, or 9.7%, to 9 15/16 in early trading, after being priced top-range at $11 a share yesterday by
Hambrecht & Quist
lost 5 3/4, or 6.4%, to 83 3/4 after
downgraded the stock to near-term accumulate from near-term buy.
rose 4, or 6.2%, to 68 1/2 after
Banc of America Securities
upgraded the stock to buy from outperform.
Johnson & Johnson
rose 2 1/8 to 94 1/16 after
upgraded the company to buy and set a price target of 110.
lost 1/2 after Banc of America Securities upgraded the stock to buy from market perform.
sank 13 3/4, or 57.6%, to 10 1/4 after an announcement last night that the
Food and Drug Administration
had not approved a cancer painkiller.
gained 2 13/16, or 12.3%, to 26 after the company reported results from an early trial phase of a tumor-shrinking drug.
lost 1/16 to 32 1/8 after it announced a cost-cutting plan under which the company expects to eliminate 1,000 jobs.
Herb on TheStreet: Summer Re-Runs: Sabratek's Skid, Lernahooligan Alert and 4Kids Climbs.
Sabratek, the plot thickens:
, no stranger to
this column, issued a stranger-than-usual press release early yesterday. Buried deep down, somewhere toward the end (almost as afterthought) came the disclosure (oh, by the way) that Sabratek's second-quarter profits will be "significantly" lower than expected. The stock responded by tumbling 30% to 14 9/16.
Sabratek didn't say why it would miss the quarter by so much, but this much is clear: Sabratek will miss the earnings even after the company engaged in several questionable quarter-end deals -- previously
reported here -- that should've
Lernahooligan alert (or the games people play):
One of the market's few winners yesterday was this column's old friend (friend?!)
Lernout & Hauspie
. Investors cheered the company's announcement that
had given the company a "new multimillion-dollar contract" to translate various Microsoft software products to other languages.
Short-sellers, however, scoff that the announcement is a sign of desperation. "It's not a new deal," says one, who points out that Lernout has been doing translation business for Microsoft for a number of years.
"The best they can say is that they didn't lose the contract," says one longtime Lernout short, who concedes that Microsoft's translation biz with Lernout, on a rev basis, is growing. This year, based on quarterly rev, it could be as much as $28 million, up from $18 mil last year. However, he quickly adds, no analyst raised revenue or earnings estimates on the news. "Either that means it's a nonmeaningful contributor of new revenue," the short figures, "or analysts must've thought that this replaces other business."
What's more, this agreement is "nonspecific" in details, which means it's unclear whether it includes a licensing deal or is merely grunt work. "You don't pay a tech multiple for a service company," the short says.
Giving credit where credit's due:
Missing from this column's recent
report card was the fab call
here back in May by Jordan Kimmel, of
Magnet Investment Group
in Randolph, N.J., and the author of the recently published
Relying on a combination of charts, technical indicators and fundamentals, he was quoted here several months ago singing the praises of
. While 4Kids has licensing rights to
World Championship Wrestling
memorabilia, that's not what's making the stock soar: It's 4Kids ownership of the worldwide licensing rights to the use of the
character, including trading cards and the Saturday morning TV show (though not the
The stock has more than doubled since then, hitting Kimmel's target of 40. Yet he says he hasn't sold a share. "Everybody is still telling me it's a fad, but they're completely underestimating what 4Kids is all about," he says.
When will he sell? "When a handful of people grab me on the street and tell me to buy it," he says. Despite the stock's rise, he says that "as far as I'm concerned, money managers and the public are still not aware of it."
Another favorite, along those lines, is
, which licenses the rights to
World Wrestling Federation
replicas. "When I run my spreadsheet, it's coming up as my No. 1 stock," he says.
On the downside, he says that
is still his No. 1 short. "There's still tremendous debt, margins are decelerating and insiders own little stock," he says. "I think it will absolutely implode."
Remember, this is the guy who told me (and I chose not to print because I couldn't verify any trouble at the time) the same thing about
That's the name I gave
investors who feel they must blast this column for
raising questions. Several readers, including
was more appropriate and accurate. (Well, I was trying to be polite, but Cree-tins it is.)
Speaking of Cree: Best email of the day from
, who writes:
I am a Cree investor and I like your articles. Keeps everyone on their toes. I look for the long term. If the short-term investors can't take the heat, they shouldn't be in the kitchen. Good muckraking! Keep it up, I say. And if you are right, then the company should fix the problem. If you are wrong, then it's a buying opportunity for the rest of us.
Finally, someone who gets it!
and I clashed on last week's
about daytraders and whether they're gamblers. I said they are. He said
they're not. To which I say, "Gary, nonsense. Are too!"
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
email@example.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.
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