Pat Fitzgibbons on AOL's MarketTalk, produced by Sage - TheStreet

Pat Fitzgibbons on AOL's MarketTalk, produced by Sage

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Patrick M. Fitzgibbons chatted on AOL MarketTalk on Monday, Sept. 18. AOL's MarketTalk is produced by Sage Online (Keyword: Markettalk).

OnlineHost:

Live from New York, NY, please welcome

Pat Fitzgibbons

, markets editor,

TheStreet.com

.

OnlineHost:

Pat can answer questions about the markets and investing. Pat does NOT offer individual stock commentaries or recommendations.

SageMoola:

Good afternoon and welcome to MarketTalk, Mr. Fitzgibbons!

TSCFitzgibbons:

Good to be here. Wish it could be a nicer day in the market. But we'll see if we can make some sense out of it.

Question:

To what do you attribute the recent weakness in the equity markets?

TSCFitzgibbons:

There are a lot of things that are happening at once. Last week we had a triple witching, which always causes a good deal of volatility.

TSCFitzgibbons:

Today, it looks like the

Dow's

main problem can be traced to JP Morgan, and big techs' weaknesses.

TSCFitzgibbons:

People seem to be quite concerned about earnings going Forward.

Question:

What seems to be going on in the technology sector?

TSCFitzgibbons:

I think it's pretty clear that with all the earnings warnings hitting the Street right now investors are concerned some of these highflying techs are going to come under some serious pressure.

Question:

How low do you see the

Nasdaq

going and where do you see it at year's end?

TSCFitzgibbons:

I'm really not sure about where the Nasdaq is going to end the year, but I think it will probably remain in a range until election day and I think that range is probably 500 points one way or the other.

TSCFitzgibbons:

Once we get a better sense of what will happen in the election, then we'll get a better sense of what the Fed will do, and then we'll know.

Question:

Why is the 3700 level so important?

TSCFitzgibbons:

I'm not convinced that the 3700 or 3800 or 3649 or whatever is that awful significant.

TSCFitzgibbons:

Using levels is just something that people who comment on the stock market sort of create for themselves.

TSCFitzgibbons:

It's a lot more important to look at the market's breadth. Look at the volume. And watch what economic data is coming.

Question:

I'm about to retire Jan. of 2001. Do I keep my portfolio in Growth and S&P?

TSCFitzgibbons:

I think that what you do with your portfolio is very dependent on what you need to get out of your holdings. For anyone heading into retirement it's worthwhile to sit with a financial adviser and adjust your holdings accordingly.

TSCFitzgibbons:

There are several stories that we keep on our site that could help you with some of those answers. Again, we have an investing basics that is a worthwhile read.

Question:

Do you think Gore or Bush would have a better upward effect on the market?

TSCFitzgibbons:

I think that each of them will be helpful or harmful to certain sectors. There have been typically a lot of sectors that do better during a Republican administration and those that do better under a Democratic administration.

TSCFitzgibbons:

For example, if Bush were to get elected, it might be good for those stocks that are in defense better say than if Gore were elected.

TSCFitzgibbons:

A Gore presidency might be more favorable to technology, high tech. But be assured that neither of these candidates is interested in doing anything that would be harmful to the overall stock market.

Question:

Is there anything to be gained by reducing state and federal taxes on energy?

TSCFitzgibbons:

Certainly for investors there would be tremendous gain to the lowering of those taxes. In that you would have more capital available for investment.

TSCFitzgibbons:

However, I'm not convinced that just a blanket reduction of those taxes would necessarily be productive for the stock market or for equities in general.

Question:

Is

OPEC's

proposed rise in oil production going to lower oil prices at all?

TSCFitzgibbons:

Well, certainly, if there's a large-scale expansion it could help prices.

TSCFitzgibbons:

But it's unclear yet whether their proposal, as it stands now, will do a heck of a lot to reduce the price of oil.

Question:

What do you think of the recent financial service company consolidations, i.e. Citigroup/Associates First Capital and Goldman Sachs/Spear Leeds & Kellogg?

TSCFitzgibbons:

There was a lot of room for consolidation and I think there's a lot more to come.

TSCFitzgibbons:

There are a lot of names that are bandied about that are in play.

TSCFitzgibbons:

And while I don't think that all these rumors are true, some of them probably are.

TSCFitzgibbons:

Having worked at an investment bank for a few years, I can tell you that there are redundancies that can be alleviated by mergers.

TSCFitzgibbons:

So I can't tell you which one is the next to fall, but I think you can bet that somebody will. The names we're hearing most in merger-land are Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

Question:

What is your opinion of the pharmaceutical sector in light of the upcoming presidential election, and the prescription drugs for seniors agenda?

TSCFitzgibbons:

Right now, it's very difficult to tell what Congress is going to do for Seniors receiving prescription drug benefits.

TSCFitzgibbons:

It is a politically charged debate right now. I think once it gets decided one way or the other it will end up a positive for the drug companies

Question:

Should we be concerned about stagflation if oil prices continue at these levels for more than 6-12 months?

TSCFitzgibbons:

I think that any of the "flations", inflation, deflation, stagflation, is something to watch out for and pay attention to because certainly the Fed does.

Question:

Remember when we enjoyed all of this before March 2000.Will it ever be FUN again?

TSCFitzgibbons:

Oh, come on! It's fun now! If anything, think of this as even more fun in that now, if you make your big pile of cash, just think how much smarter you are than when everything was just going up.

SageMoola:

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

TSCFitzgibbons:

Thanks very much for having me. Even though the market is kind of disappointing today, it's an equally if not more interesting time to be an investor.

TSCFitzgibbons:

And I look forward to seeing you on

TheStreet.com

!

OnlineHost:

We have been speaking with Pat Fitzgibbons, markets editor,

TheStreet.com

. Visit Keyword: TheStreet.