publishes selected email received by the publication and its staff members. To send an email intended for publication in this section, email and include your full name and city. Letters may be edited for length, style, clarity and accuracy

One Pepsi

Katherine Hobson:

In response to your story

Just One Shortcoming: Pepsi One Sales Fail to Fizz Despite Steep Tab, I drink


(PEP) - Get Report

. I


Pepsi. The company? The stock? They're going nowhere. They're floundering. If they are interested in shareholders, they should consider either splitting the company up or coming up with a reasonable plan for the future.


Patrick Nolan

(received 3/30)

Katherine Hobson:

This is a good-tasting

diet cola. If the product is good but is not moving, marketing has to take the blame.

The TV advertising has been abysmal. The ads that ran during the


playoffs gave no reason to buy or drink the product. They are a jumble of visuals that are almost nonsensical. One wonders where the wizards who convinced Pepsi that this ethereal junk is supposed to push product to teenagers came from. As with the new campaign for Pepsi, this Pepsi One campaign wildly misses the mark.

I like and will continue to buy the products. I'm not teenaged. But based on these TV ads, I can understand why they're not motivated to buy. These ads portray them as a bunch of dolts to be manipulated by bright lights and idiotic actions.

Pepsi should retain someone older than 22 to help make these judgments.


Robert T. Lloyd

(received 3/30)

If You Can't Beat the Net...

James Cramer

: In response to your column,

In Pursuit of a Net Killer, it's ironic that the only way to kill the Net stocks is to become one of them, thus building out the Net in the process.


Ron Walker

(received 3/30)

A History Lesson for

James Cramer:

In response to your column

Growth Is the Real Thing, I'm enduring a semester of American history and trying to make it personally meaningful by reading what I can on investment during the period 1500-1850.

Readers might be familiar with the

South Sea Company

, incorporated by the English


. The panic it caused didn't hit until the 18th century. Short South Seas? Never! A quick road to ruin.'s

(AMZN) - Get Report

day will come. One day the sky will be clear and birds will be chirping in the trees. The next, Amazon will be trading at a single-digit P/E. The pain will be enormous.

-- Patrick Nolan

(received 3/30)

Not Always Coca-Cola

James Cramer:

In response to your column

Coke Must Cut Prices, Not Increase Them, first,


(KO) - Get Report

has substantial earnings and pays a dividend. Second, look at what has happened to the communications sector: Telephone companies are trying to give away their products by offering checks to sign up and free long-distance calls. Eventually, the Internet sector will have to reduce its fees to pennies because there will be so many products available.

After a while, the Internet sector will be so saturated that we will not know where to turn (it's like restaurants in NYC). Even though people may not be as interested in Coke as they once were, Coke has the financial stability to break into other areas the way

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

has done.

Let's face it: One Internet product is just as good as the next. It simply comes down to price -- six months of free service, anyone? Come on! The Internet is a fine idea, but after a while it becomes very boring. As an adult, I know very few other adults who are using the Internet frequently.

-- Robert DeRosa

(received 3/30)

James Cramer:

Amen on the Coca-Cola

price cuts. And they better be huge cuts. When I buy cola, I buy


(KR) - Get Report

brand. It's about $4 a case. A case of Coke runs about $10. I'll admit Coke tastes a little better than Kroger, but not 60% better!

-- Michael R. Hunt

(received 3/30)

Defending Mutual Funds

Brenda Buttner:

Regarding your column

In Defense of Mutual Fund Investing, some of the responses to your comments, in my mind, are missing the most important point.

That is, companies are run by people who produce products and/or services. Some do so well and provide products the market demands, and others don't. Beating the market, if attempted solely by technical analysis, would be pointless if you reduce performance to statistics and stock selection to luck. Then the market is just gambling.

However, I would bet on

Jack Welch


Andy Grove


Bill Gates

any day of the week, regardless of what they produced. It doesn't matter whether the markets are efficient or not. Invest in good companies; don't invest in bad ones. Why does everybody keep making this so difficult?


Warren Buffett

says on many occasions, "I don't invest in markets. I invest in companies."

As far as mutual fund companies go, their incentives are not aligned properly with the investors they profess to represent. They exist to trade and are not penalized for racking up taxable capital gains.

Internal compounding is where the power is. Mutual funds don't take advantage of that.

-- Paul Bressie

(received 3/26)

Williams-Sonoma's Open Door

Suzanne Kapner:

In response to your story

Resignation of Williams-Sonoma Exec Prompts Investor Concern, first I would like to say that I agree with the unnamed investor who wants to wait and see who will replace

Dennis Chantland

, whose resignation is still quite baffling.

I would also need to see more than a haircut to the stock price before getting excited enough to move in, especially with all of the great companies that currently exist in our world. However, I would venture to say that this company should hold an attractive opportunity for the right person to step in and finish what Chantland was in the process of doing. With the right person coming on board, I think we could see a nice run-up in the stock price as we see the company's financials improve along the way.

I like to go shopping in


(WSM) - Get Report

stores, and I would like to see this open door filled for the better. If it is, I think I may even have to do some stock shopping as well.

-- Brian Chippi

(received 3/28)

Microsoft Soup

Jim Seymour:

Your column

Recipe for Disaster: Split-Microsoft Soup is right on target with your explanation of the potential disasters of breaking up


(MSFT) - Get Report

and placing the Win source code into the public domain. The

Justice Department

demonstrates its technical ignorance, sort of like a blind drunk with a six-shooter in a crowded saloon. After all, the main reason for using Microsoft products is that there is a single point of contact to resolve problems. No computer system works 100%. When it breaks, whom are you going to call? How many different vendors will call you back to explain that it's the other guy's fault?

If the Justice Department breaks up Microsoft, the industry will be in chaos until another de facto standard and single-source supplier emerge. Think that's what


(SUNW) - Get Report





(ORCL) - Get Report

had in mind?

-- John Baycich

(received 3/29)

Beating the S&P 500

Dagen McDowell:

In response to your article

Readers Weigh In: You Can't Beat the Market in the Long Term, I find it interesting that the respondents to your story make no mention of risk relative to return whatsoever. The goal of an investor should be to maximize return in relation to his/her particular risk level and not simply focus on return. As an investor, I view the performance of my funds vs. an index in terms of relative risk. So what if my funds only achieved 95% of the return of the

S&P 500

? If my funds had 20% less volatility, then I actually did better than the index. This may sound very academic, but during the rough period of last August-October, this concept would have saved those morons who sold out on Oct. 8 simply because their individual risk levels (said risk levels previously unidentified and quantified) were finally breached.


Ronald L. Papa

(received 3/25)

SEC Reform

Joe Bousquin:

In response to your story

SEC Proposal on Outside Fund Directors Not Radical Enough, Critics Say,

Arthur Levitt's

proposals on outside directors are akin to changing the buttons on the emperor's new clothes. If there isn't anything there in the first place. . . .

In addition, the

Securities and Exchange Commission

must start distinguishing between closed-end and open-end investment companies. Shareholders unhappy with an open-end fund can sell their shares for NAV and go elsewhere. Shareholders of a closed-end fund would typically have to accept 75 to 80 cents on the dollar for their shares. Since these shares are traded on an exchange, managers aren't faced with redemptions and are insulated from market forces.

When is the SEC going to realize these differences and take actions that are meaningful for shareholders of both open-end and closed-end funds?


Rajeev Das

(received 3/25)

Vanguard, Bring Jack Bogle Back

Alison Moore:

In response to your story

Vanguard to Reopen Windsor After 10-Year Hiatus , I am a 29-year-old investor who has had accounts with Vanguard for more than 10 years. I have to say that since the retirement of

Jack Bogle

, Vanguard seems to be blending in more and more with the average mutual fund company. First I hear about Vanguard slapping a 1% redemption fee on its

(VGHCX) - Get Report

Health Care fund to stop "hot money" from coming in. No problem, until I hear the fee is in place for FIVE years . . . give me a break! Suddenly anyone who won't keep their money in for five years is a short-term, hot-money investor?

And now today I read about Vanguard reopening the

(VWNDX) - Get Report

Windsor fund. Wow, how many fund companies can we count that are only too happy to open up funds that have performed poorly and had substantial cash withdrawals? I invested with Vanguard because I felt it stood above the crowd and put its investors first. I am now beginning to seriously rethink that. Any suggestions for a new mutual fund company? Maybe it's time for some competition for Vanguard ... or time to bring Jack Bogle back full time!


Chris Reid

(received 3/25)

Black Gold, Russian Tea

Kim Iskyan:


Russian Stocks Are a Fool's Gold, you did not mention one very important positive factor that certainly could be affecting the Russian financial markets: oil prices. Oil prices, which were less than $11 per barrel a few weeks ago, are now over $15 per barrel, with the prospect of going even higher. Russia exports more than 750 million barrels of oil each year.

I agree that Russia is not without its problems, but higher oil prices could add several billion dollars of hard currency to Russia's treasury. And that is clearly a positive factor underpinning the surge in the Russian stock market since early this month.


Shawn M. Brennan

(received 3/29)

Mind Over Matter Makes Money

Gary B. Smith:

In response to your column

Charted Territory: The Aches and Pains of Trading, it's good to hear some speculation from nonscientists about the effect of the unconscious mind. In reality, your brain is scattered all over your body, with most of it in your head. Not all parts of the brain are in constant communication with all other parts. And as you describe, sometimes the different brain parts have different ideas about what you should be doing or what you're seeing or hearing.

Looks like you and

George Soros

are getting in touch with parts of your brain you otherwise wouldn't be able to get input from, which is good! Your stomach helps make you money. You can't beat that!


Brian Colder

(received 3/24)

Gary B.Smith:


theory regarding the body/mind relationship isn't so far out as you may think. A cutting-edge school of thought called neuro-immunology or something like that, which was recently discussed in

Smithsonian Magazine

, describes the connectedness of the brain and the body via substances called peptides. There is substantial skepticism among the peer community it seems, especially because if one is to accept this supposed connection, it becomes feasible to "think oneself well." Sounds too new wave for most I guess.


Bruce T. Slaby

(received 3/24)

Baron Asset Antes Up

Alison Moore:

Thanks for your story

Baron Reimburses Asset Fund for $1.6 Million Loss on Stock Trade. As an owner of shares in the

(BARAX) - Get Report

Baron Asset fund, I applaud your investigative work showing how Baron, knowingly or not, dumped shares of

AMF Bowling


(PIN) - Get Report

for their "wealthy" clientele and sold them to people like me.

Thanks to you it seems like folks like myself will recover some of our losses.


Albert Altino

(received 3/23)

As an individual holder of several thousand shares of the Baron Asset fund, I am extremely disturbed. Your

article was very enlightening on the AMF trading fiasco. I have read all of Baron's quarterly reports religiously over the years. Not once was there a mention of anything like this happening, or even the potential that a situation that you uncovered with the AMF trading could happen.

I am very concerned about what else was purchased for the Asset Fund in a way that benefited the private accounts that they manage. Should there not be a separation of private and fund knowledge/trading that occurs?


Paul R. Wolfson

(received 3/24)

Beautiful detective work,

scary article on Baron. The more I learn about mutual funds, the more I want to stay away from them.


Thomas John Hornblower

(received 3/23)

What if you hadn't

shone the spotlight on that Baron trade? How many times daily must this kind of activity occur?

Great work!


Irby Cohen

(received 3/24)

Refrigerating Mail Boxes

Jim Seymour:

In response to your column

The Great Web-Grocery Race, I think the grocery market will be fragmented for a great while.


(KR) - Get Report

in the Dallas and Fort Worth area has delivery as do some other specialty groceries. However, there is no doubt that grocery shopping via the Web will be the thing.

I disagree with you as I think the city dweller will be the first mass of shoppers as they can have a refrigerator mailbox as well as regular mailbox. Anyway, just expand your mailbox space, as regular mail seems to be becoming a thing of the past.


A. B. Manis

(received 3/24)

Small-Cap Crater

Anne Kates Smith:

In response to your article

Reopened Small-Stock Funds Could Be an Opportunity -- or a Sucker Trap. As 'ol

Ross Perot

would say, that sucking sound you hear is that of dollars being hoovered out of investors' bank accounts into the black hole of small-cap recovery fantasies.

As one who is responsible for investing $450 million for individuals and institutions in no-load funds, I state unequivocally that small-cap investing should fit investors like a

Mr. T

; in other words, "I pity the poor fool...."

The "smart money" you refer to that added dollars to small-cap institutional funds last year was merely the collective "wisdom" of the Dumb and Dumbers that try to pass as financial advisers these days. They haven't a clue and are still married to tired old dogma about asset allocation and relative valuation.

The world is changing right in front of their eyes and they don't even realize it. This would be comical were it not so detrimental to the clients' well-being. Oh, well, if their advisory practices go down the chutes they can always become boxing judges.


Bob Markman

(received 3/22)

Of Corvettes and Credibility

James Padinha:

In response to your column

Turn, Turn, Turn: Those Wacky Slowdown Forecasters, I agree that the forecast left a great deal to be desired. However, the comments at the end of your article were inappropriate and offensive to readers such as myself. An apology to

Bruce Steinberg

and your readers is not only appropriate but essential to your credibility as a professional journalist.

A dissappointed fan of yours.


Larry Kimble

(received 3/22)

How come everyone but you

thinks recession predictions and New Era thinking are on opposite sides of the fence?


Dan Ferris

(received 3/22)

I hope that I didn't miss the main point of

your column. The 1963 was NOT the best Corvette, although the split window with fuel injection might have significant scarcity value. The '67 big block was the best of the lot!

(Past or present owner of 1960, 1965, 1970, 1976, 1984, 1987, 1998 Corvettes)


John S. Odell

(received 3/22)

Cramer vs. His Critics

James Cramer:

You got it right in your column

Trading and Writing Can Mix. Work hard but take a day off once in a while to spend time with your kids; take a long lunch once in a while to enjoy the tasty food at a nearby restaurant; take a nap on days when the meaningless noise in the market and in the media drowns out anything of substance.

From what I've heard and read -- and I read all of your columns -- you have little, if anything, to be ashamed of. You are a pioneer. You have, at least at times, the passion of a missionary. But that is nothing to be ashamed of. In my opinion, you are making a positive difference in this world, and what higher compliment can there be for a human being?


Steve Eccles

(received 3/22)


people are ignorant and pawns of the establishment. Thankfully there is someone like you to demonstrate and teach how to approach trading. I have learned from you. Take their criticism from whence it comes. They are ^&^()_(_()(^*^^)&.


Ed Gruenling

(received 3/22)

Jim, if you were

only up 2% in '98, why the heck should I listen to anything you say?

P.S. No malice intended. I love your writing. I'm just curious.


Mark Sarowitz

(received 3/22)

Admired, Perhaps, but a Good Investment?

Joe Bousquin:

Loved the

For Fund Watchers, 'Most Admired' Strategy Leaves Something to Be Desired piece. I'd previously thought wistfully that someone should do a fund on such a theme, after James Cramer mentioned that the list existed. Even still, I had to vote "no" on the "would you invest" question, but I need to add "right now" to the end of the question.

In the longer run, this is a helluva place for a

Bill Gates

to put money -- not a ton, but some. It's an idiotic place for somebody like me to put money. I have two less commas in my net worth right now. Hopefully, that'll change, with's



Kent Stoaks

(received 3/22)

A Call for Open Conference Calls

James Cramer:

Regarding your column

Leveling the Playing Field about opening up conference calls, I wrote




a letter about this two years ago. I have also suggested that when large institutional groups have face-to-face meetings with top management, a transcript of the meeting should be made available to the public. You can bet some juicy tidbits and insights get passed on during these one-on-ones regarding "enhancing shareholder value." You can also bet that I don't have access to that info.

You should have seen the cliched response I got from some SEC staffer. It said something about safe harbor rules, which I never really understood. I hope your comments get more attention than my letter did.


Terry Cross

(received 3/18)