TheStreet.com's MIDDAY UPDATE
December 15, 1999
Market Data as of 12/15/99, 1:20 PM ET:
o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 11,261.10 up 100.93, 0.90%
o Nasdaq Composite Index: 3,602.22 up 30.56, 0.86%
o S&P 500: 1,414.81 up 11.64, 0.83%
o TSC Internet: 1,090.07 down 7.36, -0.67%
o Russell 2000: 459.65 down 3.10, -0.67%
o 30-Year Treasury: 97 16/32 down 2/32, yield 6.305%
In Today's Bulletin:
o Midday Musings: Tech Turnaround Sparks Rally in Nasdaq, Dow
o Herb on TheStreet: Getting to the Bottom of a Pink-Sheet Promote
Also on TheStreet.com:
Wrong! Rear Echelon Revelations: Weighing In on Scale
Companies that aren't scaling quickly enough need to re-examine their strategies now, Cramer says.
Banking: At Wells Fargo and Citigroup, a Bank-Stock Flight to Quality
But the richly priced shares have some observers looking elsewhere for bargains.
SiliconStreet.com: Discount Days Are Over for Israeli Stocks
That doesn't mean the whole bunch is fully valued, but many are now getting some attention.
Dear Dagen: Dear Dagen: When Trading Gets Hectic, Nasdaq Can Get Cross(ed)
A crossed market happens when buy and sell prices get out of whack.
Midday Musings: Tech Turnaround Sparks Rally in Nasdaq, Dow
12/15/99 1:32 PM ET
At recess time on Wall Street, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was out in the yard playing, while the
Nasdaq Composite Index
had left detention, where it spent most of the morning as moderate profit-taking continued in the tech-laden sector. The Comp's offense? It was just too darn rowdy of late, and investors thought it needed a little discipline.
The Comp's good behavior earned it some brownie points, as it bounced off a morning intraday low of 3503 and was lately up 27, or 0.8%, to 3599.
Earlier this morning, "it looked there might be some panic," in tech stocks, said Brian Finnerty, head of trading at
C.E. Unterberg Harris
. "I don't see a lot of selling. I see the chasing has stopped though," said Finnerty, adding this doesn't look like the long-awaited correction people have been worrying about yet. Nasdaq breadth was looking pretty bad, though, with laggards thumping leaders (see below).
A positive earnings report from
last night was lifting the stock 12.9%, this morning. But the optimism it inspired was somewhat overshadowed by the overreaction to news that
said net sales could grow at a slower pace in the future in a quarterly filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
Cisco was sliding 2.3%, and never mind that it said the sales guidance reiterated a long-standing outlook. After the winning sprint that technology stocks have had in recent weeks, tech investors are understandably throwing a lot of nervous glances over their shoulders.
Philip Tasho, CEO of
Riggs Investment Management
in Washington, saw the Nasdaq's action yesterday and this morning as understandable but unwarranted. "Is there a rational reason for profit-taking
in the Nasdaq? No. Do I think the fundamentals have changed? No." Tasho believes that much of the investment in the tech sector is focused on the fact that this is a longer-term trend. Still, he says "a drop of 25% to 35% in the Nasdaq, that would be the threshold of pain for a lot of people."
The Dow was having a good day, quickly reversing an early-morning dip and lately rising 98, or 0.9%, to 11,258.
was helping out, lifting 3%, on news that the aerospace company is expected to announce orders worth about $8.5 billion.
contributed to the gain as well, rising 6.3%, after it said a new Windows 2000 operating system was released for manufacturing. The stock hit an all-time intraday high of 105 1/4, making
... let's see ... yes, rich. Very rich.
Oil prices were rallying again as dealers cited the latest weekly U.S. data showing another sharp decline in crude oil stocks. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
was jumping 5.3%, while the
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
was up 2.6%.
The benchmark 30-year Treasury was down 2/32 to 97 17/32, its yield at 6.31%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
Breadth was negative, particularly on the Nasdaq, on moderate to heavy volume.
New York Stock Exchange:
1,347 advancers, 1,627 decliners, 650 million shares. 37 new 52-week highs, 338 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market:
1,567 advancers, 2,393 decliners, 1.06 billion shares. 68 new highs, 136 new lows.
Wednesday's Midday Watchlist
Here's something for the much-ado-about-nothing category. Reports that
said it expects "that in the future, our net sales may grow at a slower rate than experienced in previous periods, and that on a quarter-to-quarter basis, our growth in net sales may be significantly lower than our historical quarterly growth rate," according to its 10-Q filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
filed yesterday, hurt the stock ahead of the open. However, the language cited in reports has been standard language for the company in recent SEC filings. Shares of Cisco were slipping 2 3/4 to 95 1/8.
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
is negotiating to acquire closely held
for about $1.65 billion, the
reported. Shares of Ariba were falling 6 1/2 to 227 1/2.
was edging up 3/16 to 8 after it said it has inked a five-year primary source pact with
. Bergen Brunswig said Duane Reade would purchase roughly $1 billion in products throughout the life of the agreement. Shares of Duane Reade was sliding 11/16 to 21 13/16.
was retreating 6 7/16 to 198 11/16 after it said it would acquire
for stock. CMGI said it would issue 0.1252 CMGI shares for each share of Yesmail.
US Bancorp Piper Jaffray
rolled out coverage of CMGI with a strong buy rating. Shares of Yesmail.com were popping 2 3/4, or 13.4%, to 23 5/8.
have entered an agreement which calls for Circuit City to market AOL's products and services in its store.
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
began coverage of Circuit City with a buy rating and a price target of 57. Shares of Circuit City were climbing 3, or 7.6%, to 42, while America Online was sinking 3 15/16 to 84 15/16.
was tacking on 3/16 to 16 13/16 after it announced its plans to sell its natural-gas distribution division for $425 million.
are negotiating a possible pact that would deploy enhanced TV. Shares of Excite@Home were bouncing 2 to 50 15/16, Microsoft was mounting 3 3/16 to 101 7/8.
has launched a $5.3 billion to $6.2 billion offer for the financially floundering
news agency reported,
said. Shares of GM were adding 11/16 to 71 1/16.
announced its plans to launch its own Internet company called
. CEO Floyd Hall said
Softbank Venture Capital
would back the Web company with $62.5 million, while
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
, which is already in a retail partnership with Kmart, also plans to make a "strategic investment."
will give Bluelight with personalized Web content. Other partners in the initiative include
. Shares of Kmart were sliding 7/8 to 11 3/8.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
said they have agreed to a joint marketing pact. The announcement is seen as progress toward a global alliance between Continental, KLM,
. The pact includes passenger and baggage check-in and exchangeable frequent flyer program participation. Shares of KLM Royal Dutch were hopping 1 9/16, or 6.2%, to 26 5/8, while Continental shares were declining 1/8 to 41 7/16.
said they have agreed to a joint development and marketing deal to design a system for telephone service over cable lines. The two companies said they would combine the software that runs their equipment.
Separately, General Instrument said it received an order from
for 1 million interactive digital consumer terminals. Lucent was losing 1 5/8, while General Instrument was bouncing 4 11/16, or 6.9%, to 72 5/8. Charter Communications was skidding 1/16 to 22 5/8.
have teamed to provide an end-to-end system to reduce the time it takes cable providers to activate new subscribers for cable Internet access. Shares of Motorola were soaring 7 3/4, or 6.4%, to 127 3/16, while Redback Networks was declining 1 3/8 to 139 1/2.
said it has agreed to acquire
in a stock deal valued at up to $3.25 billion. Nortel said the price of the deal would be partly determined on Qtera meeting "certain business objectives." The acquisition would not add to fiscal earnings until 2001. Shares of Nortel were dwindling 1 3/8 to 86 11/16.
was unchanged at 10 1/16 after it said it has entered an agreement to purchase closely held
, in a deal valued at $108 million.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.
was plummeting 11 3/4, or 51.9%, to 10 15/16 after late
yesterday warning of a fourth-quarter earnings shortfall. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray cut its fourth-quarter earnings forecast to 8 cents a share from 17 cents and cut the stock to buy from strong buy, while
dropped it to near-term neutral from accumulate and to long-term accumulate from buy.
was climbing 7/8 to 19 7/8 after it said it expects fiscal 2000 sales growth to slow to about 8% and set an earnings-per-share target of $1.20 for the year.
was jumping 9 15/16, or 12.9%, to 87 after it reported second-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, beating the 30-analyst estimate of 22 cents and the year-ago 19 cents. For more on Oracle's
earnings, check out the coverage provided by
joint newsroom. Earlier today,
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
raised its rating on Oracle to strong buy from buy.
was gaining 7/16 to 34 13/16 after it said it is on track to meet or beat the fiscal 1999 nine-analyst consensus estimate of $2.86 a share. The company also said it agrees with the nine-analyst estimate of $3.64 a share.
Transaction Systems Architects
warned investors that it expects first-quarter and fiscal 2000 earnings to greatly miss consensus estimates, citing Y2K woes. The company expects to post first-quarter earnings of 2 cents to 9 cents a share and fiscal 2000 earnings of $1.29 to $1.46 a share. The eight-analyst estimate is forecasting first-quarter earnings of 38 cents and the nine-analyst estimate sees fiscal 2000 earnings at $1.70. Transaction Systems was falling 5 5/16, or 16.6%, to 26 3/4.
Offerings and stock actions
was edging up 3/8 to 13 9/16 after it said it set a share repurchasing plan for up to $100 million.
Equity Office Properties Trust
was declining 1/16 to 20 15/16 after it said it has set a $250 million stock-buyback program.
was tacking on 11/16, or 11.4%, to 6 11/16 after it said it has set a $20 million share-repurchasing program.
was shedding 1/16 to 40 15/16 after it said it repurchased 720,000 shares from its biggest shareholder,
, for $30 million. Tiger still holds a 26% interest in the company.
Abercrombie & Fitch
to its recommended list. Shares of Abercrombie were gaining 3, or 12.3%, to 27 1/4.
initiated coverage of
with a buy rating and a price target of 230. eBay was up 3 5/8 to 154 1/8.
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray upped its price target on
to 77 from 63. Shares of Factset Research was climbing 2 1/8 to 70 5/8.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
upped its rating on
to an outperform to a neutral. Shares of Ford were advancing 1 7/8 to 50 3/8.
Credit Suisse First Boston
cut its fiscal 1999 earnings-per-share estimates on
to a 40-cent loss from a loss of a penny and lowered its rating to a hold from a strong buy. Inacom were shedding 2 3/4, or 30.5%, to 6 1/4.
Goldman Sachs began coverage of
with a market outperformer rating. Shares of Infospace.com were faltering 3 1/2 to 140.
upgraded share of
to an attractive from neutral. Shares of Sallie Mae were adding 1 3/4 to 44 5/16.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
raised its rating on
to strong buy from buy. Shares of Tekelec were bouncing 1 7/8, or 10.4%, to 19 15/16.
Merrill Lynch sliced its rating on
Thomas & Betts
to intermediate-term neutral from accumulate. Shares of Thomas & Betts were plummeting 10 11/16, or 27.2%, to 28 1/2.
Banc of America Securities
cut shares of
to market perform from buy after the company posted second-quarter earnings below its year-ago report. Shares of Verity were sinking 23 3/16, or 47%, to 26 1/8.
will announce firm orders for 120 planes valued at about $8.5 billion,
The Wall Street Journal
reported, citing execs close to the deals. The
reported that the announcement from Boeing could come as early as today. Shares of Boeing were adding 1 5/16 to 39 13/16.
Dun & Bradstreet
is expected to vote on management's plan to split its
Moody's Investors Service
unit into a separate firm, people familiar with the matter said, according to the
. Shares of Dun & Bradstreet were 2 1/2, or 9%, to 29 1/2.
A group of U.S. and French farmers filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Washington against
, charging it with attempting to monopolize genetically modified crops and with not thoroughly testing the products for safety. Monsanto said the allegations are "absolutely baseless." Monsanto was declining 7/8 to 41.
is under investigation by the
for alleged antitrust violations in dealings with big music companies, the
reported. Shares of Viacom were losing 9/16 to 54 11/16.
Herb on TheStreet: Getting to the Bottom of a Pink-Sheet Promote
12/15/99 6:29 AM ET
This column goes out of its way
to report on pink-sheet companies. But in this market, where fundamentals appear to be irrelevant and where new investors are likely to feel invincible after a few good trades, an exception might be
GK Intelligent Systems
. Here's a company that was the topic of a
story last summer about how its executives left and its Web site and phones were disconnected -- a company that the newspaper said has "vanished" -- yet it trades (and fairly actively in recent days) on the pink sheets at around 31 cents a share. The stock actually rose 16% on Friday for no apparent reason; it rose again yesterday by another 15%.
How can a stock that doesn't exist trade? More likely than not, it reflects year-end covering by short-sellers, according to Cromwell Coulson, chairman of the
National Quotation Bureau
, which operates the pink sheets. He says shareholders and short-sellers need the stock to continue trading, even if the company is on what he calls "life support," so they can unwind their holdings. In fact, he says companies that are defunct are likely to continue trading unless they've formally filed for bankruptcy. (GK's incorporation has been suspended by the state of Delaware, but it can be reinstated if the company pays current and back fees of $4,200.) Don't laugh: These defunct companies can and do spring back to life when promoters buy their shells.
In the interim, isn't it dangerous to allow a stock to keep trading when the company itself has disappeared? Couldn't people be duped into buying what is nearly a worthless company?
Indeed, says Coulson, but he adds that "you cannot regulate against stupidity. You have to do homework before you invest. You have to look under the hood. You should know how to invest in these companies. This is an area that can be very inefficient.
," he says. "The 'Iridiots' are not going to get anything. And yet the stock recently traded for $6. But go look at a daytrader who doesn't care what
Iridium is doing. He may have got in at $2 and got out at $4.
"I wish people were smarter. But you cannot regulate against 'Iridiocy.'" (His words, not ours.) We tried calling GK, but, as the
reported, there doesn't seem to be anybody home.
Taking out the Garbage:
After considerable deliberation with Greenberg's
Garbage Index selections committee (
and me), we've decided to refine the index to only include stocks that, in the past, were no-hit wonders or flashes-in-the-pan or have no profits. That means
is out and
is in. Corel, while up on little more than the Linux love-fest, is making money, and besides, there are simply too many Corels out there; Linux stories should be
Red Hots or something else. WebLink, meanwhile, was called
until Dec. 1. It did and does operate a large network. Then it created a new focus and put "Web" in its name. What next, Linux? (I'm sure WebLink fans will argue that it had positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, but the company has never earned a dime of real earnings, and in fact, it has an accumulated deficit of $392 million.) Ever since, its stock, which had been given up for dead, has come back to life.
Since its creation last week, the Garbage Index has slipped nearly 6.5%. And this note to those who have griped about the inclusion of a favorite stock in this index (after all, nobody wants to see their company labeled "garbage"): The index was compiled with suggestions from Wall Street's sharpest short-sellers, who have tracked these stocks, on and off, for years. (Most were surprised to see their recent phoenix-esque performances.) The index's purpose is to shine a light on today's highfliers that have a history of not living up to expectations -- stocks that are swept up in the euphoria of a market that has no limits. One or more may turn out to be a great company, but until that happens, investors have nothing but their history of broken promises and/or wacky financials.
Speaking of which, a great idea sparked by an comment from a regular on my message boards: The Greenberg Family of Indices is proud to introduce the
Greenberg Effect Index. These are stocks that rise, as if out of defiance, to items here that have questioned their fundamentals and valuations. The current index:
Lernout & Hauspie
Diamond Technology Partners
Join the discussion on
Herb's Latest or the
The purpose of this index? To serve as a reminder that, historically, most stocks that experience the Greenberg Effect also experience the reverse-Greenberg effect. And
usually happens when investors expect it the least. Just go back and look at
, etc., etc., etc.
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.
Join longtime tech watcher Jim Seymour today for a Q&A about the future of Microsoft, B2B and other tech-related queries. Post your questions now. Seymour will be jumping on the board Wednesday afternoon to answer all yourqueries.
Then, check out the new Message Board Index Guide. It's an easy way to find our individual equities boards from B2B to Red Hots to more.
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