It's like Friday never happened. And while many stocks that have been sold short are down and staying down (one of this column's benchmarks for whether the excesses have been squeezed out), others (including
Lernout & Hauspie
) have started to bounce back or shown resilience.
What worries some investors is the speed and strength of the rally; it was so powerful that one hedge fund manager with a short bias told me that Monday's rally "sets us up for a complete disaster." One reason, this manager adds, is that despite last week's pain, the market still hasn't been hit by the kind of fear that is supposed to shake the market. Proof, according to this manager: "I saw a doorman today tell a janitor to buy a crummy little stock."
What's more, as impressive as this rally was, nobody really knows how much cash or buying power is on the sidelines. That, of course, could determine the staying power of this market and whether Monday's activity was a mere head fake or if Friday's move was yet another correction in a bull market.
Money manager Scott Turkel, who was mentioned
here earlier Monday as saying he was confused -- and therefore was doing nothing -- says he's still confused. But he also did more trades during the day, though he still hasn't committed any new overnight capital. "One thing I did notice, which is incredibly negative, is that there wasn't one guy willing to miss
calling the bottom," he says. "It's almost as if you're stupider for missing the bottom than for missing
buying stocks on the way down."
Assuming, of course, that was the bottom.
Just to show that everything
invests in doesn't go up: In 1999, it invested $30.5 million in
, giving it a 10% stake; Friday, the company's auditors questioned PictureTel's ability to continue as a going concern.
As previously mentioned, Intel also owns a piddling 1% of
, which Monday closed at 18; Intel bought its stake at about 53, and Ancor immediately rose to a new high of 94 1/8 on the news.
Why point this out? Because every time Intel,
or some other big company buys into a little company, it gives the little company a fresh new story that has less to do with the company and more to do with the fact that it wooed a credible name to invest. Those announcements often cause stocks to rise, but the investment, in and of itself, can't turn a struggling company around. Such sugar-daddy investments never should be the
reason to buy a stock.
Befuddled biotech (from the low blow department)
on Monday announced that it had revived five hamsters following extended periods of cardiac and circulatory arrest. But it could do nothing to revive its stock price, which has lost about half its value over the past month.
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
email@example.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.