Some e-commerce with your dinner, sir?
, which periodically rejuvenates itself and its stock price, is taking a
victory lap in New York. The maker of database software used by big businesses throughout the land turned in a surprisingly strong fiscal fourth quarter in June, sending its stock rocketing from the mid-20s to Tuesday's close of 38 11/16.
One Wall Streeter who zigged before Oracle lagged was
, the influential enterprise software analyst for
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
in New York. Phillips lowered his earnings estimates on Oracle in mid-May, leading a bearish chorus on the Redwood Shores, Calif., company. Impressed by the changes, Phillips and others got more bullish on Oracle after the surprisingly strong profit report. To give Morgan Stanley clients a front-row seat on the Oracle-Is-Back pep rally, he also hosted a dinner for 100 last night at New York's famous
"When you have quarter like that, everybody's paying attention," says Phillips, on the strong attendance expected at last night's dinner. He guessed Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Henley's message would be that last quarter "wasn't a fluke."
For his part, Phillips sees evidence that the worst of slowed corporate spending because of attention to fixing the Y2K bug is past. A Morgan Stanley survey of chief information officers in May yielded just 11% who are concerned about a "lockdown" in non-Y2K technology spending in the fourth quarter compared with 32% in November. Phillips will conduct the survey again this week, with the results available toward the end of the month.
Phillips, who says he's been bullish on Oracle for about 10 years, rates Oracle a buy and notes that the stock now is trading around his previous price target. Both the recommendation and target are up for review, he says, noting that he's stingy about awarding Morgan's highest rating, a strong buy.
-- the Islandia, N.Y., company that last week named former
Sen. Alfonse D'Amato
to its board of directors -- currently is the only strong buy among the companies Phillips follows.
Herb Allen's Unheralded Golf Partner
David Siminoff likes to keep a low profile. That's because as a value player there isn't a lot of upside in letting everybody else know what he's up to. A San Francisco portfolio manager with Los Angeles-based
, Siminoff made a career move three years ago by betting heavily on
when the company was given up for dead by others.
Siminoff's low exposure has its upside: The average journalist doesn't have a clue who he is. Sure, he's well enough known in media investment circles to rate an invitation to last week's annual
Allen & Co.
gathering of publishing and broadcasting big shots in Sun Valley, Idaho. But the unusually large number of reporters swirling around the media heavyweights largely left Siminoff alone.
One scribe, reports Siminoff, spotted him chatting with
and then walked up to Siminoff, inspected his nametag and abruptly fled without uttering a word. "He was like, 'I don't know who the hell you are,'" says Siminoff.
Bad call, fellow journo: You mighta learned something. Siminoff was paired with the conference's host,
, in a scramble golf tournament. The pair won.
Oh yes, Dave, did you learn anything at this get-together? "Old media guys are really fascinated by the Internet, but they're not going to go out and buy anything at these prices," he says. "They're just going to wait until things collapse and then do some selective buying."
Presumably Siminoff picked up some other tidbits. But he's not sharing them; he's investing.
Adam Lashinsky's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 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. Lashinsky writes a monthly column for Fortune called the Wired Investor, and is a frequent commentator on public radio's Marketplace program. He welcomes your feedback at