TheStreet.com's MIDDAY UPDATE
August 10, 1999
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Market Data as of 8/10/99, 1:01 PM ET:
o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,595.94 down 111.76, -1.04%
o Nasdaq Composite Index: 2,449.97 down 69.01, -2.74%
o S&P 500: 1,274.33 down 23.47, -1.81%
o TSC Internet: 459.62 down 20.41, -4.25%
o Russell 2000: 418.11 down 7.78, -1.83%
o 30-Year Treasury: 86 19/32 down 5/32, yield 6.248%
In Today's Bulletin:
o Midday Musings: Nasdaq Carnage Gets Worse as Traders Flee Tech Stocks
o Wrong! Dispatches from the Front: Pacing the Net
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Energy: Baker Hughes Cooks Up Some Investor Opportunity
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Dear Dagen: Lack of Cash Won't Starve a Closed Fund
If a fund underperforms after closing to new investment, it's probably not because it lacks 'fresh cash.'
Midday Musings: Nasdaq Carnage Gets Worse as Traders Flee Tech Stocks
8/10/99 1:11 PM ET
Watching the stock market lately has been like watching an episode of
Behind the Music
The market is currently in the portion of a typical
Behind the Music
installment where the artist or group in question is going through a rough stretch. And while the typical
Behind the Music
has a pleasant ending with the artist or group coming out of a troubled time better than ever, the same can't be said for stocks right now. Considering the glum view on Wall Street, a pleasant ending seems a long way away, what with market psychology in the outhouse and all.
As the market prepared to exit the lunch hour in New York, major market averages were deep in the red, with the
Nasdaq Composite Index
leading the way on the downside. The Nasdaq Comp was down 69, or 2.7%, to 2450, near its session low.
was down 2.6%.
, a Nasdaq heavyweight, which is set to report earnings after the close, was off 3 1/8, or 5.2%, to 56 3/4. Other Nasdaq titans were lower as well, including
Meanwhile, the selling that has plagued Internet stocks continued to roll on.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was off 20, or 4.1%, to 460, led in the red by
Meanwhile, an upbeat meeting with analysts yesterday sparked some life in technologically troubled
, but the stock is off its intraday high of 84. It was lately up 13/16 to 80 7/16.
As for blue-chips, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 112, or 1%, to 10,596.
was leading the average lower, accounting for 22.80 points of the Dow's decline.
was down 23, or 1.8%, to 1274. Small-caps were again taking a beating. The
was off 8, or 1.8%, to 418.
Dow Jones Transportation Average
was also notable on the downside. It was off 3.2%, dragged down the most by
Meanwhile in the futures market, the September S&P 500 futures contract was down 23.80 to 1279.20.
The contract has fallen through support, which was around 1290, said Dave Eberhart, analyst at
Optima Investment Research
. Eberhart said the contract's next support level is about 1281 to 1275.
Market breadth is weak, and it's not just technology or financial stocks suffering, "it's pretty much everything," Eberhart said. Speaking around 11:15 a.m. EDT, he said 78 of the S&P 500's 89 subindexes were lower and only 11 were higher.
Investors in recent weeks have been apprehensive -- to say the least -- to step in buy stock particularly ahead of the Aug. 24
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting. For a while, there was some debate whether the Fed would hike later this month or not, but
took care of much of that. The stronger-than-expected jobs data greatly increased the odds that the FOMC will raise short-term rates at the next meeting.
There are also fears among some market players that the Fed isn't going to stop there, hiking rates again at its Oct. 5 meeting or even boosting the fed funds target rate by 50 basis points Aug. 24 instead of the usual 25.
The recent revolting performance of the long bond has contributed to the stock market's recent swoon as the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond's yield keeps rising and rising. Of course, higher interest rates are the poison of high-price-to-earnings-ratio issues -- of which the Nasdaq Comp is heavy. Not to mention the effect of rising yields on Internet stocks, and their gargantuan valuations.
And according to some, there's more downside for the market ahead.
Peter Green, director of technical research at
, pointed out that the Dow has broken support at 10,650 and it is likely to go to 10,400. As for the Nasdaq Comp, it should go to 2434. Green pointed out that the market has yet to see complete capitulation.
In the Treasury market, the 30-year bond was lately down 4/32 to 86 19/32, yielding 6.25%. Treasury traders are confronting the first leg of the Treasury's quarterly refunding, which kicks off with the auction of $15 billion in five-year notes. The total amount of the refunding is $37 billion. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
, decliners were outpacing advancers 2,355 to 603 on 470 million shares. On the
Nasdaq Stock Market
, losers were beating winners 2,787 to 948 on 542 million shares.
On the NYSE, a massive 233 issues had set new 52-week lows while 36 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 123 issues had set new 52-week lows while new highs totaled 30.
Meanwhile, among other indices, the
Dow Jones Utility Average
was down 0.3% and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
was down 1.5%.
On the Big Board, AOL was most active with 12.6 million shares changing hands. It was down 5 to 80 9/16.
On the Nasdaq, Cisco was most active with 21.9 million shares changing hands.
Tuesday's Midday Watchlist
fell 2 to 60 after the company said it will form a new Internet unit called
which will boost the company's existing online and business operations.
of Canada added 3/4 to 32 9/16, and
of France slipped 5/16 to 27 5/8 after the companies said they were in merger talks with each other along with
of Switzerland, confirming a report in
The Wall Street Journal
that suggested the three could be planning a merger to create an aluminum-and-packaging behemoth to rival
. Alcoa shrugged off the news, climbing 3/4 to 66 3/8.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
shaved off 2 3/4, or 9.7%, to 25 9/16 after it said it would acquire
in a deal valued around $677 million. i-Cube also fell, 7/8 to 20 1/8.
shed 2 3/8, to 61 1/14 after it agreed to acquire
International Network Services
in a deal valued at $3.7 billion. Each International Network share will be converted into 0.8473 Lucent share. At yesterday's prices the takeover is valued around $3.7 billion, or about $54 an International Network share, Lucent said. International Network jumped 2 13/16, or 5.9%, to 50 5/16.
added 1 1/4 to 65 15/16 after its board rejected
advances for the second time at a meeting on Monday. Elf lost 1/16 to 89 5/16.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
lost 7/16 to 24 7/16 after it posted second-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share, in line with the 14-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 12 cents.
added 5/16 to 42 after the company reported second-quarter earnings of $1.11 a share, a penny better than the 19-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 99 cents a share.
First Union Real Estate
lost 1/16 to 4 13 /16 after reporting second-quarter earnings of 11 cents a share, slightly ahead of the single-analyst estimate of 10 cents and better than a year-ago loss of 48 cents.
shed 6 1/8, or 13%, to 41 3/16 despite reporting better-than-expected second-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, 4 cents ahead of the seven-analyst estimate and up from 26 cents a year ago.
Overseas Shipholding Group
fell 1/8 to 13 9/16 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, compared with 20 cents a year ago. The latest quarter included a 16-cent gain, and no operating income figures were available. The single analyst estimate called for a 5-cent operating loss.
Polo Ralph Lauren
added 7/16 to 18 11/16 after posting first-quarter operating earnings, excluding a charge, of 28 cents a share, ahead of the 14-analyst estimate of 24 cents.
United Retail Group
was unchanged at 10 3/8 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share, ahead of the single-analyst estimate of 38 cents and up from the year-ago 38 cents.
added 7/8 to 41 1/16 after it posted second-quarter operating earnings of 31 cents a share, excluding a litigation-settlement charge of 3 cents. Earnings were ahead of the 17-analyst estimate of 28 cents and up from the year-ago 23 cents.
Offerings and stock actions
lost 5/8 to 63 7/16 after its board approved a buyback of up to 15 million shares.
lost 13/16 to 46 after
cut it to a long-term buy from buy based on valuation, leaving its price target unchanged.
Beringer Wine Estate
rose 3/8 to 36 7/8 and
gained 3/8 to 36 3/8 after J.P. Morgan started coverage with a buy and a market perform, respectively.
gained 3/4 to 80 1/2 after
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
analyst Mary Meeker was out with positive comments on the stock.
lost 11/16 to 48 15/16 after
Salomon Smith Barney
cut its recommendation to neutral from outperform and slashed its 12-month price target.
rose 1/2 to 56 3/16 after
upgraded it to attractive from neutral.
lost 7/16 to 29 and
lost 3/8 to 9 1/2
after CIBC World Markets
complimented both stocks with initial buy ratings.
National Golf Properties Inc
added 3/16 to 22 5/16 after
started coverage of the real estate investment trust with a buy rating.
lost 11/16 to 38 7/16,
lost 1 5/8 to 62 7/8 and
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
fell 15/16 to 81 1/2 despite Salomon Smith Barney's upping its third-quarter earnings estimates on all three financial stocks.
jumped 4 15/16, or 7.4%, to 71 3/4 after ING bumped up estimates, taking its price target to 84.
gained 2 5/8 to 65 1/2 after
Standard & Poor's
said it will be added to the
, which is being bought by
. The change will occur after the close of trading Thursday.
lost 1/16 to 26 3/16 after saying it will offer free Net access for consumers who buy special long-distance calling services. The company said for a flat rate of $24.95 a month, the package features free, unlimited dial-up Net service and 250 minutes of domestic long-distance calling service. The move comes a day after
a rival, cut evening, overnight and weekend calling rates to as low as 5 cents a minute. Shares of MCI lost 1 3/4 to 75 11/16.
fell 2 13/16, or 17%, to 13 7/16 after it announced its second restructuring plan in under a year. The company said it will spin off its media operations, cut up to 1,500 jobs, and form an alliance with
of Japan. NEC lost 5/8 to 73.
lost 2, or 27.4%, to 5 5/16 after it said U.S. regulators suspended clinical trials of its phentolamine-based drugs due to concerns over cancer risks. However, the FDA said it will allow Zonagen's marketing partner
to complete an ongoing 12-week human study of Vasomex, whose active ingredient is phentolamine. Schering-Plough lost 5/16 to 47 3/4
Tara Murphy contributed to this story.
Wrong! Dispatches from the Front: Pacing the Net
James J. Cramer
8/10/99 12:57 PM ET
Ouch! I just averaged down on some
. I bought 2,500 little shares. I've waited 25 points, so that's a scale where I'd buy another 2,500 at 95, a level at which I'd be thrilled to get some.
This selling is intense. But think about the pace of it: If we continue to get these declines, some Net stocks will go through their cash value; others will begin to sell at prices to next year's revenue that seem comparable to other companies'.
We all want to wait until these stocks sell at reasonable price-to-earnings ratios. But that's not going to happen. These companies are building businesses; they're not building earnings. P/E ratios seem like a reasonable way to value these growing businesses.
We are getting there. And I hear about the deals being canceled, which is just right for a temporary bottom.
I am also selling the last of my
puts. I might buy more on a rally, but all I have left to protect is Yahoo! and
, and I don't feel the need to protect TSCM down here.
Enough's enough. I have puts on a few more dot-coms, but again I'm waiting for more lift before I do anything.
And I have been selling puts on dot-coms all morning so I don't get trapped like last Thursday, when the squeeze occurred.
You know my Yahoo! game plan. As always, I welcome your bets against me.
May the best trader win.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long TheStreet.com and Yahoo!. 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
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