SAN FRANCISCO -- Stocks side-stepped another disappointing session in bonds, with the
setting records. The
also rose, but failed to set a new high. (For more, see today's
Heat of the Apple
yesterday's Market Roundup, I quoted Jim Volk, co-head of institutional trading at
earnings don't much matter. Then I cringed at the thought of the torrent of hate-filled email I'd receive from "Apple zealots," as has been the case in the past.
But I got none. Apple fans were probably too busy savoring the company's latest quarterly earnings -- (foolish) pride tells me it's NOT because people didn't read the story.
Apple shares dipped 4.5% to 53 1/4 today, but this after the stock ran from 34 3/8 on April 21 to 55 15/16 yesterday. Moreover, one of the longest-standing Apple bulls remains so.
"I think things are just fine," said Lou Mazzucchelli, an analyst at
Gerard Klauer Mattison
. "The product strategy seems to be working, operations have improved, the outlook for the rest of the year is very good. I'm not going to try to pick nits, although lots of people are."
(For the record, Mazzucchelli put a buy on Apple in November 1997 and retains the recommendation. Gerard Klauer has done no underwriting for the company -- "We wish," Mazz said.)
However, the analyst recommends investors "stay away" from Apple until after
, the annual gathering of the aforementioned Apple zealots, which begins Tuesday and closes July 23.
"Some shorts might want to cover, but there might be some profit-taking because the thing acted so well
and people will be selling on news," he said. "After MacWorld build a position heading into the rest of the year. It's going to be pretty good.
"The long-term outlook is very solid for these guys," Mazzucchelli continued. "People are worried about free PCs, but they have been able to differentiate, and will continue to do so.
Apple used to get creamed because they weren't doing Wintel. Now, it's a benefit."
Funny, I'm not at all worried about getting slammed by PC zealots.
Shorts Have Dim View of Sunrise Technologies' Success gets the nod today, meaning Senior Writer
now has a seemingly insurmountable 2-to-1 lead over his closest competitors in the race for "
Specialist of the Year." He truly is the
Lance Armstrong of
I dined last night at
Eos, courtesy of a longtime friend of the family who happens to be in private banking at the securities department of a major West Coast bank. (He asked to remain anonymous because of compliance concerns and because his employer is "terrified" of the securities industry and mainly wants him to push "packaged products" -- funds and annuities vs. individual stocks or bonds -- which provide the bank a steady income stream.)
FamilyMan (.com?) discussed the trials and tribulations of being a full-service broker in this era. He feels the services are worthwhile and says he's done well for clients, but folks are quick to complain about fees if the portfolio has a bad spell or a new pick doesn't immediately work. Our host also lamented the lack of financial acumen of some clients; most have assets of at least $500,000 but expect 15% to 20% returns without risk. (!)
I asked what he's buying now and -- after admitting it's tough to find value -- he said he's done well with
(which -- full disclosure -- owns
Fox News Channel
, which is going to air
television show). FamilyMan also believes
is undervalued. (Full disclosure -- my sister uses Allstate for car insurance.)
I couldn't tell if it was the wine or those picks, but I started to get sleepy. Then he mentioned
, which provides "software & services for secure user management and access control for electronic commerce applications," according to the company's
Our source got clients in at around 18. Today the stock closed up 20.1% at 30, but our friend knew of nothing to justify the big move.
"I think more than anything, the consolidation buzz is moving through different stocks," Netegrity included, said Steve Harmon, senior investment analyst at
. "I've heard a couple of names but wouldn't feel comfortable saying without knowing more myself."
for a refreshing change of pace?
Harmon quickly changed the conversation to
MP3.com's forthcoming IPO, the subject of heavy drooling-in-anticipation among investors.
Reflecting such, underwriters -- featuring
Credit Suisse First Boston's
Frank Quattrone -- recently upped the expected range for the offering to $16 to $18 per (from $9 to $11 previously) and the number of shares to 12.3 million from 9 million. (The ticker is MPPP; latest filing
"This is the hottest IPO of the year -- way bigger than Netegrity," Harmon said. "This is going to be the
of 1999. It's a massive story."
Whenever there's this much hype about a stock (or anything else, such as
The Phantom Menace
) I generally head in the other direction. Reality generally doesn't fulfill expectations.
Ad Busters, Part Deux
-as-Uncle Sam print ads are a hoot! First prize is a trip to New York and a "morning in the trenches" with the man himself. Some folks in the newsroom wondered if second prize is a
with the mercurial hedge fund manager.
Meanwhile, the ad for the TV show, reviewed (ahem) in this space
yesterday, contains the term "actionable." That seems to fit the concern we're advertising laundry detergent vs. financial news. Moreover, an editor points out there is only ONE definition for the word (from
Webster's New World
): "That which gives cause for an action or lawsuit."
Heaven help us.
Aaron L. Task writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at