John J. Edwards III Chats on AOL, 0ct. 4

<I>TSC's</I> markets editor chats about the battle for Sprint, interest rates and more.
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John J. Edwards III chatted on AOL MarketTalk on Monday, Oct. 4. AOL's MarketTalk is hosted by Sage Online (Keyword: PF Live). As with all chats, this transcript is unedited.

Comment:

Live from New York, NY, please welcome John Edwards, markets editor at

TheStreet.com

. John can answer your questions about the markets and investing. John does

not

offer individual stock commentaries or recommendations.

Jedwards:

Hi. Great to be here.

Question:

Who do you think will win

Sprint Fon Group

(FON)

?

BellSouth Corp.

(BLS)

or

MCI World Com Inc.

(WCOM)

?

Jedwards:

What we're hearing is that MCI WorldCom seems to have the edge at this point, but it's much too early to say for sure.

Question:

The market acts like it

knows

what Green is doing tomorrow. Would you buy now or wait till after tomorrow?

Jedwards:

Depends in part on your time horizon and investing style. The market seems to be anticipating no change in interest rates (certainly correct) and a continued neutral policy bias (quite possible, but I expect a tightening bias).

Jedwards:

At this point, given the general health (or lack thereof) of the market, I think the market's setting up for a rough time if it doesn't get what it sees as the optimal outcome.

Jedwards:

I guess the upshot is, dive in if you have a short-term horizon and think there's more rallying in store. Otherwise, it might be wiser to sit back.

Question:

How can I find out when a stock pays its dividend?

Jedwards:

The best thing to do is call investor relations to be sure. Phone numbers for just about every public company are available on TheStreet.com under Tools/Quotes, in the Profiles area.

Question:

Is there a way to screen mutual funds for individual stocks?

Jedwards:

A mutual fund's composition is available from the fund company, but you should be aware that the firm only has to report the fund's composition once a quarter. Holdings can change, but generally you can expect the largest holdings to remain fairly constant.

Question:

Why do you think the pharmaceutical stocks have not done well? With consistent double-digit earnings and a true hi-tech industry, why?

Jedwards:

There are concerns about patent expirations, but I imagine that's only a small part of the picture. It speaks to the difficulty in analyzing this market: Sometimes industries whose fundamentals seem to argue for gains nevertheless fall out of favor.

Jedwards:

I haven't been following the drug stocks extremely closely, but I can suggest that you look for stories by TheStreet.com's biotech and pharmaceuticals reporter,

Jesse Eisinger, for insights.

Question:

If the fed moves to a tightening bias, and the employment number is high, do you think they'll pull the trigger Friday?

Jedwards:

Well, I don't think the Fed would hike rates on Friday in any case, if that's your question. But a tightening bias and a strong jobs number might very well augur a rate hike at the Nov. 16 meeting.

Question:

With the Euro stable, will that help European Markets?

Jedwards:

It's certainly better than instability, and the other fundamentals in Europe seem solid now. In fact, the central banks of Europe are finding themselves in a similar position to that of the Fed, looking to keep the current recovery going without inflation.

Comment:

Thank you for joining us today John! We have been speaking with John Edwards, markets editor at

TheStreet.com

.