John J. Edwards chatted on AOL MarketTalk, Monday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. 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

.

SageMoola:

Good afternoon and welcome to MarketTalk, Mr. Edwards!

TSCNYJohnE:

Thanks for having me. As always, great to be here!

Question:

What effect will the trouble overseas have on the securities markets going forward?

TSCNYJohnE:

It's hard to say exactly, but if the trouble escalates, it will be a negative for the markets. We've already seen oil prices go even higher because of the unrest, and that would likely continue.

Any kind of uncertainty rattles the markets, and war is one of the most uncertain situations you can have. With earnings growth for many tech companies slowing anyway, further geopolitical pressures would be just another hit for the markets to take.

Question:

Ok, I'm going to open up an Ameritrade or E*Trade account. If I do NOT want to be reporting my investing in taxes, what kind of an account should I open? Do I have to report on my taxes what stocks I buy and sell?

TSCNYJohnE:

There's no way to avoid paying taxes on your investments, I'm afraid. If there were, there'd be a lot more people investing!

You don't have to note the stocks you buy and sell on your tax return itself, but your brokerage would note all of your trading activity and make sure that all of your tax information was reported properly from its end.

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Question:

XEROX -- is it more of a takeover candidate than a month ago?

TSCNYJohnE:

I suppose it might be, if only because it's cheaper, but that company seems particularly ill-run and would probably present more problems than positives for most acquirers.

Question:

How could a down market play in Bush's favor?

TSCNYJohnE:

Well, it's hard to see how it really would. The market doesn't seem to be a major factor in the election.

To the extent it is, I imagine voters are looking at the economic growth and market-value growth of the past eight years more closely than they're looking at the recent declines.

Question:

Do you see any reason why the AOL/TWX merger will not happen, and how do you feel about the merger for the market?

TSCNYJohnE:

It's increasingly possible that the merger won't happen. There are reports that the Federal Trade Commission remains extremely unhappy with elements of the merger involving competitors' access to AOL-Time Warner's high-speed cable lines and instant messaging services, and the two sides are said to be fairly far apart.

I believe the FTC's deadline for a decision one way or the other on the merger is Oct. 27.

If the deal falls apart, I don't think the market effect will be too severe because the market landscape has changed dramatically since the merger was announced in January.

It's already clear that Internet companies won't enjoy unlimited growth just because they're Internet companies, and Net stocks have paid the price for that realization. So the demise of the AOL-TWX deal would be just another signal that Net companies aren't the unbeatable behemoths many people once thought them to be.

SageMoola:

Thank you very much for joining us today, Mr. Edwards. It's been a pleasure!

TSCNYJohnE:

Always a pleasure to be here! Thanks for chatting, and I'll see you at

TheStreet.com

!