Once you've had enough of the holiday cheer and family togetherness, or if you simply don't celebrate Christmas, you can turn your mind to more important things ... like bulge brackets. Check in with the Idiot Box below for more on that, read about how Wall Street is splurging on employee Christmas parties (" Get down on it...") and read a holiday tale for the bull-market age.
Nasdaq Makes Merry
Back in early November, an autumnal nip tinged the air, Thanksgiving plans were made and a little composite index called the
reached the 3000 mark. It seems quaint now, doesn't it?
As Thursday's pre-Christmas trading sledded on, the Nasdaq achieved
something real, something that lasts, at least until mid-January, one supposes. The index hit a record 4001.63 just after noon EST before settling back to 3969.44, up 32.14, or 0.8%. What tripped up our majestic Nasdaq? Those turncoats
, which caused a bout of weakness.
Still, the entire affair sent traders and investors into the Christmas weekend on a high note, with firm expectations of Nasdaq 4000 next week. Naysayers who thought 3000 had depleted the index's power were proved wrong. And for some, on this typically slow day, Christmas came early.
Flameout at the OK Corel
and pashmina, every stock has its moment of popularity. You could say
has enjoyed its moment over the past month or so, when it quadrupled, going from 10 to 44 1/2. You could also say that during the past week and a half it's tasted the bitterness enjoyed by
and Caesar haircuts.
The Canadian software company plunged Wednesday, closing at 13 3/16 after projecting a fourth-quarter loss and a revenue shortfall. The company plans to make money by selling Linux versions of the its WordPerfect Office suite and other software for desktop computers, something many experts aren't
entirely confident about. And certainly
But much of the Corel story seemed to typify the market's Pavlovian response to words like Linux and B2B rather than, oh, the company itself. Thursday
reported that the company's Linux operating system topped 100,000 downloads from the
download site and the stock finished Thursday at 16 9/16, up 26%. The market adored this Linux play, until it started looking like
backpacks -- totally played out.
On Connors, On Blitzen
Does a CFO by any other name sell as sweet?
Wall Street seems to think so, at least if the name replacing "Greg Maffei" is "John Connors". Maffei
announced Wednesday that he would be leaving his position as chief financial officer at
to become the CEO of Vancouver-based
. While the stock lost almost three points in the aftermarket on Wednesday evening, it closed down a mere 1/8, or 0.1%, at 117 7/16 on Thursday.
Maffei was just about as beloved on the Street as CFOs can be; Connors will have some big galoshes to fill in rainy Redmond. But most analysts seem remarkably
sanguine about the transition, citing Connors' long-time experience at the company, where he has held several positions over the last 10 years, including controller and, most recently, vice president of Microsoft's worldwide enterprise group.
And for all those conspiracy theorists out there,
analyst Richard Sherlund doubts that Maffei's move portends anything amiss in the company's upcoming quarterly earnings report. The quarter looks "in line with expectations," as far as he can tell.
That may be well and good for Wall Street, but movie freaks across the land may still be scratching their heads about John Connors: Could it be a mere coincidence that Mister Softee's new CFO's name is almost identical to the
hunted hero of the
Staff reporters Eric Gillin and Thomas Lepri contributed to this article.