John J. Edwards III chatted on AOL MarketTalk on Monday, March 13. AOL's MarketTalk is hosted by Sage Online (Keyword: PF Live).

OnlineHost:

Live from New York, N.Y., please welcome John Edwards, assistant managing editor, TheStreet.com. John can answer questions about the latest market-moving news.

OnlineHost:

John does NOT offer individual stock commentaries or recommendations.

SageMoola:

Good afternoon and welcome to MarketTalk, Mr. Edwards!

Jedwards:

Thanks for having me. Great to be here!

Question:

Have there been any interesting stock splits lately?

Jedwards:

You know, there probably have, but they're not leaping to mind. As you probably know, stock splits are pretty much meaningless on a fundamental basis, but they do inspire a lot of market excitement at times. Just one of those weird things about this market.

Question:

What is a "bucket-shop brokerage?"

Jedwards:

It's a small, usually disreputable brokerage that often engages in cold-calling and other dubious stock promotion practices.

Jedwards:

Many bucket shops (also called boiler rooms, as in the new movie) have run afoul of the SEC, and many, such as Stratton Oakmont and A.R. Baron, have disappeared from the scene. In general, there's no reason to deal with a firm you think or know is a bucket shop.

Question:

Do you think this downturn will last?

Jedwards:

It depends on what you mean by downturn, and it depends on what part of the market you look at. The Nasdaq, even with today's losses, is essentially at all-time highs, so any downturn there could stand to lengthen and deepen without causing much serious damage.

Jedwards:

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The Dow is a different story, of course, and seems likely to remain under more pressure compared with the tech-driven Nasdaq. The overall market could be in for a rough period because of the seasonal drying-up of money flows. As people invest the last of their new-year money and pare back for tax season, the big fund flows that have inspired the gains to this point probably will diminish. That's something to watch for.

SageMoola:

Regarding stock splits, go to: http://www.briefing.com/intro/isplits.htm

Question:

Some have said 2000 will be the year of the Internet mergers -- would you agree with this assessment?

Jedwards:

Sure, I think we'll see more consolidation. It's bound to accelerate as stronger companies try to become unassailable and weaker ones look for ways to stay afloat.

Question:

Opinion on the bank sector? Have they hit bottom or is it better to wait till the next interest rate hike?

Jedwards:

It's really hard to make a call on the banks. This bounce isn't much of a bounce, just more of a leveling-off, and it's tough to say there's a lot of impetus here. Banks are a sector trapped in the market's incredible chain of circular logic:

Jedwards:

Tech is all that's working, so tech gets the money flows, which is why tech is all that's working, and so on. Hard to see the banks being the sector to break the market out of that in this rate environment.

Question:

John, I love the TV show! Much fun and informative.

Jedwards:

Thanks! It's fun for the folks here, and I'm glad you like it. Check it out weekends on Fox News Channel, folks!

Question:

John, can you please explain the difference between a stop order and a stop limit order? Thanks.

Jedwards:

I'm pretty sure they're the same thing.

SageMoola:

Thank you very much for joining us today, Mr. Edwards!

Jedwards:

Thanks again for having me. A great time chatting with you as always. See you at TheStreet.com!