SAN FRANCISCO -- As you embark upon that great adventure known as the weekend, I trust it's with a smile. Given the action
today and of late in tech stocks particularly, there's clearly a lot of people sitting on some fat paper gains right now. (I prefer a chair.)
Ours is not to doubt the veracity or sanity of recent gains, but to ask those who do -- specifically regarding the head-spinning gains registered by seemingly anything and everything having to do with Internet infrastructure, optical networking, or business-to-business e-commerce.
, up another 9.4% today to 378 after
upped its 12-month price target to 460 from 315, is fast becoming the poster-child for this phenomenon.
J.P. Morgan analyst Gregory Geiling unabashedly used the term "conservative" twice in the Qualcomm report, reminding some of Henry Blodget's "legendary" 400 target for
. (While the
analyst made that
prediction less than a year ago while he was at
, it's certainly long ago enough in Internet time -- clinically proven to be faster -- to be considered historical.)
But "there's nothing they're doing great now they weren't doing a month ago," Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at
in Atlanta, said of Qualcomm in particular and, in general, others becoming synonymous with this latest momentum swing. Those include
, up 10%,
, higher by 9.7%; and
, which rose 7.8%.
"It's all justifiable," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at
, based on expectations the Internet will rule the world in ways
could only imagine. But "these are wholesale bets on industries and groups," Bleier continued. "Your risk is not only the macro issue of whether the technology is not going to be what everybody thinks it will, but in the micro-sense, are these companies going to be able to execute?"
That's sometimes known as "investment risk," which, according to Bleier, is not something many investors are even remotely cognizant of these days.
And while I'm sure
are not one of those people who blindly invests in a stock just because it's hot and your brother-in-law bought a new
Boxter with the proceeds, we all know somebody who is. Don't we?
And a Dollar Short?
In my absence yesterday (thanks for all the cards and well-wishes) a slew of emails arrived questioning comments made by a
Datek Online Holdings
Specifically, that Datek clears its trades through
Indeed, those sharp-eyed readers were right (and win a prize to be determined at a later date). Subsequent calls today confirmed Datek executes the majority of its trades through its
electronic communication network. Why one company spokesman told me otherwise (or didn't know any better) is beyond my comprehension, and I apologize for any confusion.
Michael Dunn, director of public relations at Datek, corrected another misstatement by his subordinate, who had told me that the
slowdown did not affect trades through Datek's system.
According to Dunn, 13.5% of all
trades made through Datek in October went through SelectNet; thus, any struggles with the system may very well impact Datek's clients.
Meanwhile, several emailers complained about Datek's service in general, reporting slowness and site problems which are attributed to "routine maintenance" by the firm.
The only recent problem with Datek's system was on Tuesday, Dunn said, noting the site was down for 40 minutes as a result of internal problems, which he did not specify.
"That's the only time we've been down since May 3," he declared. "Obviously no outage is acceptable but we've had fewer that most."
The spokesman admitted the "routine maintenance" message some users saw Tuesday was "wrong," which is the kind of information that a company still trying to distance itself from past transgressions can ill-afford -- be it with a reporter or (more importantly) with its clients.
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