May 11, 2000

The characteristics of bears are not much different from bulls. In a bull market, bad news is taken as good news. In fact,

all

news is taken as good news. In a bearish environment, a company can blow away the quarter on the upside, raise estimates for the next quarter, talk about a huge backlog of business, but investors will focus on component shortages as a reason to sell your stock.

As

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

have found out in recent days, when the sentiment turns against you, there's nothing you can do to convince 'em otherwise.

And in the past few days the volume of the bears has become louder than ever. We see it in the interviews with analysts on TV, or read it in the newspapers, and it's even obvious in all the downgrades we're seeing from the brokerage firms. But we still have not seen any sort of capitulation from the

Investor's Intelligence

numbers. The bulls actually picked up a percentage point. That is not the kind of sentiment switch you get at a bottom. The bulls should shrink and the bears should climb. Now after this week's action, it is possible we could see a huge shift toward bearishness next week, but right now, it's just not bearish enough.

I'd like to end with an apology to

Gary B. Smith

today. Gary has been

writing about the bear wedge, of flag pattern in the

Nasdaq Composite Index

for several days now and I did not acknowledge that in my

column yesterday. My hat is off to Gary for spotting this so early.

Helene Meisler, based in Singapore, writes a technical analysis column on the U.S. equity markets on Tuesdays and Fridays, and updates her charts daily on TheStreet.com. Meisler trained at several Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and Cowen, and has worked with the equity trading department at Cargill. At time of publication, she held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. She appreciates your feedback at

KPMHSM@aol.com.