Yahoo! Chat With Our Man Mannes

Reporter George Mannes shares his wisdom on the Nasdaq and tech stocks.
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Nasdaq Chat with George Mannes on Yahoo!

George Mannes chatted on Yahoo! April 19 at 6 p.m. EDT.

TSCEllen:

Welcome everyone to today's chat with George Mannes.

George_Mannes:

Hello everybody. Let's Go!

Jjcapostle asks:

Do you see this tech sell-off continuing much longer, or do you see a short term reversal?

George_Mannes:

I can't predict the future, but I don't think this is the end of the world.

Opt99 asks:

George do you feel the Internets have topped today?

George_Mannes:

Over the long term, no. It's a cliche, but i think it's true: the net isn't going anywhere. This phenom is not going away.

Cdn_Big_W asks:

Is this a simple correction for overvalued stock or are investors seeing through the internet hype?

George_Mannes:

The internet will always be hyped, but it will always have a real effect on global business that being said, there's been a huge run-up since the beginning of the year, so a fallback shouldn't be surprising.

nyattorneys asks:

Is it appropriate to lump all tech stocks together when evaluating the group, i.e. are companies such as Microsoft and Dell the same as AOL and YHOO and MAZON?

George_Mannes:

Of course not. You got to look at each on its merits. AOL is different from Yahoo is different from AMZN, too.

LaBradford22 asks:

Do you feel that Nasdaq, since it trades on higher volume regularly now than NYSE, is the most important stock index?

George_Mannes:

It's the most important to me, since it's where most of the stocks I write about trade.

c726034 asks:

Does the recent fall belie the blue-chip aura many felt AOL had acquired?

George_Mannes:

No, it doesn't. AOL is still a real company. Depends what you mean by blue chip.

tubbycat87 asks:

Will Dell be able to able to distance itself from Compaq's problems?

George_Mannes:

Yes, I think so. The company has broken old rules and written new ones in the PC business, to its credit.

Manhat_NY asks:

George, What will the mutual funds be doing at this point? Will the average mutual fund be scared away from Net stocks?

George_Mannes:

I'm not a mutual fund manager, but I play one on TV. My guess is that when the dust settles, like individual investors, they'll see this as a chance to buy into the stocks they like.

imagineuss asks:

What led to the Nasdaq fall today?

George_Mannes:

It's hard to find smoking guns, but here goes: skittishness in the wake of Compaq, or just the wind coming from the wrong direction.

Banqueroute asks:

When is the last time we saw NASDAQ at such a level? What do you think it means?

George_Mannes:

I don't know about the complete Nasdaq, but Net stocks were at dizzy heights in January. They dropped, then they came back. It means these stocks go up and down w/out us clearly knowing why.

Manhat_NY asks:

How do you think this drop will affect New Internet IPO's coming out this Summer?

George_Mannes:

Too early to tell. There have been Internet IPO droughts over the past year, but companies have come back to the public market.

LaBradford22 asks:

Is it dangerous from an economic standpoint that right now that Internet stocks trade as such high P/E multiples?

George_Mannes:

From an economic standpoint, I'm not sure that enough of the nation' nation's money is invested in Net stocks to pose a dangerous threat to the economy.

David_Hilburn asks:

Where do you see the NASDAQ headed in advance of MSFT's earnings announcement?

George_Mannes:

Hard to say about the whole Nasdaq. But since Microsoft has such a big effect on the index., with many tech stocks, we've seen run-ups ahead of their earnings releases.

Banqueroute asks:

Do you think there is a relationship between this and the war that might be longer than we expected?

George_Mannes:

It makes sense that war worries would affect the tech market, but I haven't been able to find any evidence of this, yet.

Manhat_NY asks:

Do you think that the high frequency of Stock Splitting had any influence on the Inflated Run-up and then the Drop?

George_Mannes:

No, I think the splitting was just reflective of the enthusiasm behind the run-up.

reggieregggie asks:

George, how can CPQ be faulted for sparking today's sell-off when the markets' initial reaction was higher. Quite a bit higher.

George_Mannes:

As I indicated before, all we can make are educated guesses. But it's not out of the question that people have delayed reactions to news.

jbousquin asks:

TSC Reporter Joe Bousquin here. George, I'd be interested to here your perspective on where the Internet fund managers stand. What have their reactions been compared to that of the individual investor. How much influence do these guys -- the Ryan Jacobs, Alexander Cheungs and Paul Cooks of the world, have on individual investors? Are they positioned to lead individual investors out of a sell off and back to the buying game?

George_Mannes:

Thank you, Joe. I believe you answered your own questions. Actually, the ones I've talked to are, unsurprisingly, confident in the Net's long-term prospects.

Druid_1965 asks:

AMZN is about to announce 1st qtr earnings. Do you think AMZN leads Internet index the way MSFT leads tech stocks?

George_Mannes:

No, I think it's a bellwether specifically for Net retailing. for a broader-based index leader, I think people look to AOL and/or Yahoo, and to Inktomi to reflect Net infrastructure.

Manhat_NY asks:

George, do you think analysts will be re-evaluating their valuations for net stocks? Will there be any mass downgrading activity?

George_Mannes:

I think analysts are already wary about valuations, saying what Netco's are worth. rather, when they talk about companies, they do it mostly in terms of what you should own.

c726034 asks:

George, do you think this rotation into cyclicals and small-caps is for real, or are we just seeing a little fear of techs in light of slow PC sales?

George_Mannes:

Way too early to say. But what's interesting is how fast this has all happened. I suspect it's because of individual/net investing: market movement just happen a lot quicker than they used to.

LaBradford22 asks:

George, what do you think about Doubleclick.com?

George_Mannes:

They seem to be doing a good job. People look to them for leadership in Net advertising, just as they look to AMZN for retailing.

chuknowit28 asks:

George, what is your opinion on bid.com which will begin trading on Nasdaq tomorrow?

George_Mannes:

Once upon a time, the next big thing on the Internet was push. then it was portals. Now it's auctions. Everyone is doing auctions. I have no idea who will still be standing two years from now.

malcolm88 asks:

George, would you use the current weakness in net stocks, such as AOL, YHOO and AMZN, as an opportunity to invest in these stocks?

George_Mannes:

That depends on your tolerance for risk. But I know that fund managers are looking at these movements as buying opportunities, though I don't know for which stocks exactly.

revo asks:

George: Does this in your opinion portend a freezing of the individual investor's love affair with the net industry?

George_Mannes:

As long as people use the Internet, as long as they find it valuable at some point in their lives, they'll be willing to look for investment opportunities in the Net. In other words, no.

meolsen asks:

The tech sell-off was indiscriminate. For example, low margins and high volume on low-end machines should help software sales, but MSFT dropped too. Are there some deals to be found today?

George_Mannes:

I think that will be the interesting story in the coming days. Today, my stock screen was all red. It'll be interesting to see what stocks investors will be the first to bite at.

David_Hilburn asks:

What is going to pull the NASDAQ back, the Nets and e-commerce, or tech/hardware, or software firms?

George_Mannes:

Good question. It'll be interesting to see how people react to CNET earnings Wednesday and AOL next week.

charclam asks:

What do you think will be the next big thing? If this hasn't been asked already.

George_Mannes:

Well, there's been a lot of noise recently that non-computer Net access devices like settops and handhelds will be The Next Big Thing. I though, am a pessimist: i think all new technology arrives slower than people predict it will.

revo asks:

George: So you're of the opinion that individual investors will hop right back into the red hot pantry when the dust from this week's drop settles? Sure. I like your kitchen metaphor.

c726034 asks:

George, what is the best bet on bandwidth?

George_Mannes:

My personal bet (see two questions ago) is that high bandwidth to the home will arrive slower than people think it will. As is already the case.

Manhat_NY asks:

What do you think is the ABSOLUTE bottom for the NASDAQ? (Theoretically)

George_Mannes:

If Bill Gates and Michael Dell each move to Tahiti and take up oil painting, then we'll find it.

Cdn_Big_W asks:

The larger institutions that are in net stocks, on what basis are they investing? I know recently Magellan was softer on AOL potentially creating a drop in price.

George_Mannes:

I'd say they're in Net stocks for a simple reason. That's where the growth has been. If they're pulling out, it means that someone at these institutions thinks risk/reward is better elsewhere.

Jjcapostle asks:

JJC was smart to take his vacation this week, I should have too.

George_Mannes:

JJC, from what I understand, has a weirdly powerful oracular ability:... If he goes on vacation, bad things happen. See our series on Cendant on TheStreet.com site, for example. That's what happened last year.

TSCEllen:

Thanks for being with us on such short notice, George! And thanks to the audience for all the great questions!

George_Mannes:

Thanks for taking the time to chat, everyone. Sorry I couldn't get to all your questions.

TSCEllen:

Look for up-to-the-minute coverage of the Nasdaq'a manic movement at www.TheStreet.com. And make sure to look for the transcript in the Community section of TSC. Make sure to join James J. Cramer on May 11 at 5 p.m. here on Yahoo!