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midday12-28-99's MIDDAY UPDATE

December 28, 1999

Market Data as of 12/28/99, 12:53 PM ET:

o Dow Jones Industrial Average: 11,498.42 up 107.34, 0.94%

o Nasdaq Composite Index: 4,015.65 up 40.27, 1.01%

o S&P 500: 1,461.35 up 4.26, 0.29%

o TSC Internet: 1,140.25 up 11.25, 1.00%

o Russell 2000: 487.97 up 3.51, 0.72%

o 30-Year Treasury: 95 10/32 down 4/32, yield 6.475%

In Today's Bulletin:

o Midday Musings: Nasdaq's First 4000 Close in Sight; Tech Stocks Partying Like It's 1999
o Wrong! Tactics and Strategies: Beating the Lock-up Wrecking Ball Community

Revamp, Rename the Red Hots

New Year. New index. New name.

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TheStreet Recommends

is looking to update its Red Hot Index for the next millennium and wants your help!

During the next few days, we'll present you with the most popular nominees from our message boards and ask you to vote on your favorite stocks. The top 10 vote-getters will be included in the new index, which will be unveiled on Monday, Jan. 3. Plus, rename the Red Hots and win a



"" on

Fox News Channel


Special Times!

Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. ET and Jan. 2 at 11 a.m. ET

A special edition of "" looks at investing in the new millennium. Special guests include

Ryan Jacob

, chief investment officer of the

Jacob Internet Fund


Gene Walden

, author of

The 100 Best Stocks to Own in America

; and

Ken Schapiro


Condor Capital Management


Also on

Wrong! Dispatches from the Front: Message to Matt: Eat My Dust!

Cramer is proud of how he bolted past his esteemed colleague with his B2B portfolio.

Semiconductors: SOX Recovers as Correction Proves Short-Lived

As some investors trim their holdings, others take an opportunity to build positions.

Tech Savvy: Some Lessons From 1999's Stock Picks

Seymour takes a closer look at his list of 25 stocks for 1999 and tells what he learned.

Online Investing: Daytrading Software Goes Mainstream

Mainstream brokers Schwab and E*Trade are starting to offer some tools that professional daytraders use.

Midday Musings: Nasdaq's First 4000 Close in Sight; Tech Stocks Partying Like It's 1999


John J. Edwards III

Markets Editor

12/28/99 12:56 PM ET

Making new highs, making history -- making people some mad, mad money. It's just another normal day in the life of the

Nasdaq Composite Index


The mighty Comp looks on pace to bust through the 4000 mark on a closing basis for the first time ever, putting a glistening maraschino atop this calorie-filled sundae of a year. The tech-sweetened index lately was up 33.6, or 0.9%, to 4009, right around its high of the day, largely powered by






MCI WorldCom


. And it's all just in time for tonight's unveiling of the snazzy new Times Square


Should the Nasdaq hang on and close in record territory, it would most likely set a record for the largest one-year gain by a U.S. stock index. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, as our older readers doubtless recall, rose 81.7% in 1915; the Nasdaq was up 81.3% on the year as of

yesterday's close.

Today, not to be outdone -- OK, to be outdone, but hanging in there -- the Dow lately was up 87.8, or 0.8%, to 11,478.9. It's on pace to break

Thursday's record close of 11,405.76.




American Express





were among the leaders.

Elsewhere, the

S&P 500

was up 3.3, or 0.2%, to 1460.4; the smallish-cap

Russell 2000

was up 2.8, or 0.6%, to 487.2; and Internet Sector

index was up 9.9, or 0.9%, to 1138.9.

Today's advance, like so many of the advances in recent days, weeks and months, was coming on negative breadth.

Nasdaq Stock Market

breadth was about 21-to-16 to the downside, while advancers and decliners were about even on the

New York Stock Exchange

(see below).

Yet technical analysts, who've been known for shaking their heads in disbelief and disapproval as the indices rocket despite the narrow backdrop, are learning to stop worrying and love the gains.

"The trend is up," said Jonathan Dodd, technical strategist at

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

. "It is narrow, but that's what we've got to deal with. There's no sign of a top in the market, so until we get a top we follow the best-acting stocks."

Dodd said he's little troubled by the negative advance/decline line, the consistent excess of new lows vs. new highs on the Big Board and other downbeat signals. "It's a few indicators, it is of concern, but it's not something to say you get out of the market," he said.

Still, Dodd's not quite so blithe in the face of the Nasdaq's startling run, which he said has heightened volatility so much that the future course is tough to read. "You may just have a pullback without any warning," he said. "It's vulnerable if there's something to cause a selloff in a broad number of leading stocks."

Another technician, Frank Gretz of


, is a bit more concerned about the market's health. "It's worrisome because historically this kind of action doesn't persist," he said.

But Gretz is encouraged, too. He's starting to see tentative signs of some broadening in the market, citing the paper stocks as an example of a downtrodden group beginning to perk up. Indeed,

International Paper


was among the stronger stocks in the Dow, up 2 5/16, or 4.3%, to 56 9/16, and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index

was up 4.9%.

Gretz also likes the action in the oil and oil-service sectors, saying he bought some



today. That stock lately was up 11/16 to 81 15/16; the

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

was up 0.7% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was up 2.1%.

"There are a lot of lower-priced stocks that at least have stopped going down," Gretz said. But he's not yet confident saying the positive trends he's seeing will persist meaningfully.

Gretz does see further strength in the overall market early in January.

"With all the money flows, it's unlikely early in the year that the market's going to get in a lot of trouble," he said, adding that Wall Street could then see a correction later in January.

Away from the equity side today, the benchmark 30-year Treasury was off 4/32 to 95 9/32, its yield swelling to 6.475%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early

Bond Focus.)

Market Internals

Breadth was middling to negative, with volume as limp as you'd expect in this holiday season.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,428 advancers, 1,511 decliners, 345 million shares. 62 new 52-week highs, 285 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

1,729 advancers, 2,240 decliners, 644 million shares. 185 new highs, 98 new lows.

Tuesday's Midday Watchlist

By Tara Murphy
Staff Reporter


Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.


Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Associates First Capital


is acquiring



credit card portfolio of about $1.3 billion in receivables and nearly 600,000 active VISA and MasterCard accounts. Shares of Associates First were bouncing 1 to 27 13/16, while KeyCorp was edging up 1/16 to 22 1/16.


, a global investment group, is acquiring



. Jostens shareholders will receive $25.25 a share in cash for 98% of the company's outstanding shares. The remaining 2% of the outstanding shares will constitute 6% of the post-takeover equity. Jostens shares were lifting 5 9/16, or 30.3%, to 23 7/8.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews



was climbing 1 5/16 to 74 13/16 after it said that, according to preliminary figures, the company's revenue for 1999 will rise to 148 billion euros, compared with the year-ago's 131.8 billion euros. DaimlerChrysler also said the preliminary numbers indicate its operating profits in 1999 will have risen more strongly than revenue, as projected in October. DaimlerChrysler expects further increases in sales and revenue in 2000, based on the projections released today.

joint newsroom wrote about the announcement in a story

this morning.



, a manufacturer of electronic connectors, warned it expects to post a loss of 4 cents to 7 cents a share before restructuring costs, below the one-analyst estimate of a five-cent profit. Shares of PCD were gaining 5/8, or 11.3%, to 6 1/8.



was unchanged at 16 3/8 after said it would assume a fourth-quarter charge of $3.5 million as a result of restructuring charges after its purchase of chip maker


. Sipex said the charge includes $1.9 million for consolidating Calogic operations into its own facilities in California and a $400,000 charge to revamp its global sales, marketing and research activities. Sipex also said it would assume a $1.2 million charge related to the merger.



was advancing 5/16 to 12 1/8 despite warning investors that it would post fiscal 1999 earnings of roughly $1.90 a share, greatly missing the 14-analyst estimate of $2.42 a share. The company blamed the earnings shortfall on a loss of major customers and additional costs. Warnaco said it sees its fiscal 2000 net earnings to increase 25%.

Offerings and stock actions

Centennial Cellular


was soaring 32, or 48.3%, to 98 1/4 after it set a 3-for-1 stock split.



was rising 2 1/8, or 5.1%, to 43 3/4 after its board declared a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Brown Brothers Harriman


American Home Products


to short-term strong buy from neutral. Shares of American Home Products were mounting 1 to 39.

Merrill Lynch

cut its December quarter and full-year earnings estimates for four airlines:



, parent of

American Airlines


Alaska Air



Continental Airlines



Delta Air Lines



All was not glum out of Merrill, however. In a research note, Merrill said: "In spite of the December-quarter EPS reductions, we think the industry's capacity and revenue trends are improving."

Shares of AMR were slipping 1 1/4 to 64 5/8, while Alaska Air was losing 1/4 to 35 5/16. Continental shares were skidding 5/8 to 42 11/16 and Delta was declining 3/8 to 49 1/8.

SG Cowen

sliced its rating on

Gene Logic


to neutral from buy. Gene Logic was shedding 2 13/16, or 10.3%, to 24 3/8.


upped its near-term price target on

JDS Uniphase


to 420 from 310. Shares of JDS Uniphase were shooting up 11 5/16 to 346 9/16.


initiated coverage of

Newell Rubbermaid


with a neutral rating and set a 33 price target on the stock. Shares of Newell Rubbermaid were adding 3/4 to 30 1/4.

Gruntal raised its near-term price target on



to 275 from 234. Shares of SDL were gaining 14 3/8, or 6.2%, to 245 1/4.

Merrill initiated coverage of

Teekay Shipping


with an intermediate-term neutral rating and a long-term buy rating. Shares of Teekay were lifting 1/4 to 15 3/4.


General Electric


has sought to manage concerns among investors about succession at the top of the company with a series of announcements meant to communicate a message of long-term stability, the Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

reported. Much-heralded GE boss John F. Welch Jr. is scheduled to step down in 16 months. Shares of GE were losing 2 3/8 to 157 1/8.

Orbital Sciences


was bouncing 3 5/16, or 22.4%, to 18 1/16 after it said it won a five-year, $1.5 billion satellite production contract from


. The deal permits NASA to buy five different types of satellites.


Florida Supreme Court

refused to intervene in a class-action suit that sided with Florida smokers. The ruling in the


suit, which allows smokers to be awarded damages collectively instead of individually, leaves tobacco companies exposed to a potential multibillion-dollar judgment.

Separately, the nation's major tobacco companies yesterday asked a federal judge to dismiss a whopping U.S. lawsuit against the tobacco industry, arguing in part that the government has no legal basis to sue.


-- a closely held, start-up Internet company -- said it must temporarily halt the development, production and sale of certain products because of a restraining order stemming from a lawsuit filed against the firm by



. Shares of RealNetworks was falling 2 5/8 to 126 15/16.

Wrong! Tactics and Strategies: Beating the Lock-up Wrecking Ball


James J. Cramer

12/28/99 10:55 AM ET

Carnage on the


? I know it is hard to believe, but there are some stocks that are getting the wrecking ball off these lock-up expirations. What do you do if you are in

Ask Jeeves



Digital Island


, to name two that have really been hammered here?

Join the discussion on

Cramer's Latest, go to the

Red Hots Forum

, or visit our

B2B Forum


Me? I am strictly using

Gary B. Smith

on this stuff. I am going to buy these stocks up 10. Yep, that's another big change from the old days. In the old days, you were worried about catching 10 points. Now you want to miss those first 10 points because you want to be sure that the locked-up stock is digested, put away and not floating around where it can do some damage.

And why not? These days it is the 30 points you want to capture, not the 10. And when these stocks are done with their sellers, they have the possibility to have that kind of rally.

Random musings

: Don't forget to

vote for both a new name for the

Red Hot index (something less incendiary would help) and for your favorites to be included. Unlike the


or the


, our index is not the work of the Manhattan Project, hidden away in some quiet office and done by fiat.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. Cramer's fund also may be long or short certain stocks in his B2B rotisserie league or Red Hot index. 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

Copyright 1999,