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Wearing Nikes and Bashing Buffett

Readers weigh in with thoughts and insights.
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  • Publish date: publishes selected email received by the publication and its staff members. To send an email intended for publication in this section, write to and include your full name and city. Letters may be edited for length, style, clarity and accuracy.

Why Not SPY?

Tracy Byrnes:

In response to your article

QQQ Options Trading In Gray Area of Tax Law, the QQQ option tax debate doesn't affect me. I live in Canada and expect to be taxed just for breathing, so what difference would it make? But the article mentioned an important point: There are no



What I want to know is why? Surely


could list them tomorrow, and there would be huge interest! I, for one, would be interested.

-- Mark Beddis

(received 5/4)

Nike Gets Cold

Suzanne Kapner:

I thought your article

Ad It Up: Kids Still Don't Want to Be Like Nike was very good and accurate. I have a 9- and 12-year-old, and they won't wear



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. The 12-year-old will only wear them for gym class -- that is, if I can find a pair on sale that is comfortable on her feet. She and her friends are into all fashion shoes. Believe it or not, they are satisfied with the styles at

Payless Shoes


. At $15 a pair, Mom will buy three pairs! In two months, their shoe sizes change anyway, so the more styles for the outfits the better.

My daughter refuses to pay $100 for any shoes, especially with the money she earns. She feels that half the cost of the shoes will go to the already wealthy

Michael Jordan

. Girls are tired of wearing Nike every day.

It might be a different story for the boys.



does have some pretty awesome styles for that Californian skateboarding crowd. We are talking about six-digit income for moms and dads. Nike is a great brand, but it has lost its total edge on the high school crowd.

-- Patricia Pieton

(received 5/3)

Aging Oracle

James Cramer:

In response to your column

Back Off the Buffett-Bashing,

Warren Buffett

has been a stud for several years, but his ignorance when it comes to the tech sector and the Net has cost his investors millions. This is no longer a






market. And it will not be for the foreseeable future.

The reason that he is coming under such fire is because everybody is making baskets full of money investing in the Net. This has been the most explosive market nearly ever. There is so much money to be made, so much opportunity, and Buffett invests in Coke.

His time has passed. He was the man, but not anymore. Even you admitted in a previous column that you needed to change your style in order to keep up with the market. Shifting from small-cap value to tech mania. You have survived because of that decision. Buffett needs to come to the same realization that you did.

-- Tim Moriarty

(received 5/3)

James Cramer:

in response to the

Warren Buffett shindig in Omaha this week: When is someone going to ask what Buffett has done for them lately? His stocks have not done well recently; if and when he passes away, the fund would get cut in half. It's really a mutual fund that is priced at two times or more its net asset value.

He has such huge capital gains taxes embedded in the fund that he can't sell stuff like Coke or



, as he would owe $10 billion or more to the government. Wouldn't that make the government one of the biggest stakeholders in

Berkshire Hathaway


? All I'm saying is if I'd bought shares in 1958, I would worship the ground he walks on. For shareholders nowadays, I don't see where the gains will come from.

-- Chris J. MacDonald

(received 5/3)

Shaping the Cyclicals

James Cramer:

In response to your column

Cramer's Rewrite of His 'Examining Cyclicals' Piece, I found it intriguing, especially since I have a different view of the world shaped by trading in technology for some time.

However, is playing the cyclicals affected by inflation, or fears of inflation? In my opinion, the market reacted to this fear badly Friday.

-- James Cameron

(received 5/1)

James Cramer

: I am really glad that you are putting the

cyclical uptake in perspective. I can't believe how many self-proclaimed market gurus are now claiming the shift to cyclicals is going to last through next year and beyond. Some are even saying the Net is going to be the sector that pays for the shift!

It's bizarre, since the Net represents a secular shift in the way business is done. That is not going to be affected by mood changes on Wall Street. If the cyclicals move up in price because they are incredibly cheap, it means little for their long-term prospects.

I would say the future is in lightweight, knowledge-based, intelligent systems, and not materials and physical consumption. This is the nature of business efficiency. Market swings will never change.

I just wish someone would keep a list of all the gurus saying to buy the cyclicals now and then publish it six months from now.

-- James Horizny

(received 5/2)

Faster Is Better

Susan Schena

: In response to your column

In the Name of Fun, Virgin Atlantic Makes Waves in the Latest Seat Wars, I enjoyed your commentary.

However, I would like to know if any of these companies have given any thought to getting business-class passengers to their destination faster. It seems to me that faster would be better.

-- Mary Timm

(received 5/1)

The Demand for Bandwidth

Daniel Levine:

Your story,

Financing the Coming Bandwidth Glut, reminds me of when I bought

Micron Technology


thinking there would be an insatiable demand for memory. There was, but the prices of memory dropped and so did Micron's stock.

It makes me cautious on fiber-optic bandwidth for that reason. Someday the "unending demand" for fiber-optic bandwidth may not be as eternally large as one might expect.

-- Ron Meador

(received 4/29)

Health Care's Destiny

James Cramer:

In response to your column

The Unhealthy State of Health Care, I read your analysis of health-care stocks with some interest. Your statements bring out the contrarian in me! My take is different. My long-term investment thesis is this: Demographics are destiny in the stock market. I think two classes of stocks will do exceptionally well far into the future: health care and leisure.

The baby boomers are the most health-conscious and hypochondriacal generation ever. We are also a wealthy generation, and do not believe in working until we drop dead on the company floor, unlike our parents. We enjoy vacations, the more exotic the better.

Yes, the health-care industry is drawing a lot of heat from the media and


. But I think that is precisely because of current concerns over the power that health-care corporations will have in the baby boomers' future.

-- Manfred Greiffenstein

(received 4/30)

Floating Disney's Boat

Alex Berenson:

In response to your series

Disney's Dilemma, I have one criticism. You mentioned



cruise ship's "strong reviews." It may have gotten good reviews once it finally launched, but it received a ton of bad press for delay after delay before it was able to pull up anchor. At the time, I remember it made me reconsider how well run they really are.

-- Jon Levin

(received 4/29)

Giving Lip Service to Change

Cory Johnson:

In response to your column

H&Q Conference: What Your Companies Don't Want You to Know, having lived on the West Coast for many, many years, I laughed out loud when I read your recollections of the Reagan White House press briefings. You tried to point out how the press missed the real stories, while they regurgitated the party line.

Look at the contemporary White House press briefings. The old saying comes to mind: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." A more contemporary reference to the current White House briefings might be easier for your younger readers to relate as many were in high school in the '80s. It seems the West Coast is still the left coast; "the more things change... "

-- Mike Reiter

(received 4/28)

Cory Johnson:

It is too bad that the

Securities and Exchange Commission

continues to condone "selective information" by inaction. I have learned from experience to not invest in certain companies because of selective disclosure. I wish the SEC would actually crack down on it, rather than continue to give lip service.

-- John Daly

(received 4/28)

Disney's Dilemma

Alex Berenson:

In response to your ongoing feature

Disney's Dilemma, it lacks courage because it bows to corporate pressure in failing to mention one obvious factor behind



earnings decline. I'll spell it in capital letters so you can get used to the shock value of CEO

Michael Eisner

's obscenity: BOYCOTT!

That's right, boycott. The

American Family Association

is hacked big-time over Disney's trading in its family-friendly reputation to make obscene films like



Pulp Fiction

. Heterosexual families are tired of having their vacations trashed by in-your-face "Gay Days" at the theme parks. So millions of churchgoing people who wouldn't otherwise think of evaluating purchases by moral and political values are using their money power to punish the company who's slipping them a Mickey they don't want.

I'm disappointed that even your leading edge, hard-nosed approach to business turns chicken at this point. Don't give me any previously approved "official" explanations on Disney's earnings; I've heard them all and they're garbage, just like the stuff some of their subsidiaries are spewing out in the name of entertainment.

-- Rodney J. Crowell

(received 4/29)

Alex Berenson:

I think you have missed part of

Disney's problem in your series of articles. You did not mention the families who have abandoned Disney.

My extended family went on a yearly Disney vacation. We stayed at the

Grand Floridian

in one- and two-bedroom suites, which are the most expensive accommodations. Total cost for the week for all six families: more than $50,000. We stopped vacationing at Disney for three reasons:

Nothing was worth the money. Not the food, not the service, not even the attractions. The hotel was excellent, but for the money we spent, we could have gone almost anyplace.

As convenient as they try to make it, everything is a hassle. With the exception of the Magic Kingdom, there is no advantage to staying in the park.

We recently became aware of some of the other practices and business ventures that Disney owns and promotes and we find them to be inconsistent with their pro-family image. You would think it would use its


television network to produce better quality programming for children. Instead I find ABC to rank only ahead of



in broadcast quality.

We do not boycott Disney per se. But we did vow not to go back to the park until its quality, value and commitment to families, which is its target market, improves. I know we are not alone.

I don't think the magic is missing. I think they took it for granted.

-- Michael Grieco

(received 4/29)

Alex Berenson:


didn't mention that the baby boomers' babies' babies are growing up! The current crop of newborns and preteens is less middle-class and less white than before.

Look at the

National Institute of Health

stats. Disney will be down, while teens, crime and the music business starts to perk up from their lows of the past five years.

There won't be enough white, middle-class Rugrats to keep Disney perking. Despite earnest attempts, Disney hasn't figured out how to broaden its multicultural appeal, yet.

-- James N. Richman

(received 4/28)

Online Etiquette

Gary B. Smith:

In response to your column

Charted Territory: The Email Bag Offers a Lesson in Reading GBS, please pen a brief guide to business communication via email. I just read your column today. It was witty, self-deprecating, yet revealing.

Too many of us are casual about the emotional tone of textual messages, even me. When you get flamed by a reader, there ought to be a kindly "Ms. Manners" type of reply that outlines some ground rules.

I'd like to see ground rules for interaction in this new medium. It would be a guide for what a professional, mature person should and shouldn't say online.

-- J.P. Leofsky

(received 4/28)

Gary B. Smith:

It seems that despite your

best efforts, some still don't get the distinction between a trading system and specific trades.

Money management, expectancy and other elements of a trading system -- all topics of your writing on

-- matter much more than the call on and subsequent consequences of a particular trade.

Reminds me of the old adage, "You can lead horse to water..."

-- Bob Weber

(received 4/28)

Impulse Buys Made Easy

James Cramer:

Regarding your column

Toying With the Market's Good Sense, you said

Toys R Us


lives on impulse buying, and the Net kills that? Wrong!

There is nothing more impulsive than the buying that goes on in a well-designed Web site with accurate and enticing graphics. Ouch, my


bill just arrived.

-- Bernie Unger

(received 4/28)