Chris Edmonds, special contributor to TheStreet.com, and Aaron Task, senior writer, chatted on Yahoo!, Tuesday, July 17 at 5 p.m. EDT. To hear the chat click here .

laura_the_street:

Thanks for joining us this afternoon, both Chris and Aaron are in the house --

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Welcome everyone -- glad you are with us today.

corroso:

Why did the Clinton administration not ever take a stance on energy?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

It wasn't really a priority.

RM_Atask:

The markets are working, we didn't have enough supply, now we have more demand.

corroso:

Any particular stocks in the energy sector that you like?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Inventory will dictate the turn. I like the gas E&P names -- companies like Apache, Mitchell and EOG. The service stocks will lag. Be patient, wait for inventories.

RM_Atask:

I'm not a stock picker, but Stanley Nabi at CSFB is and when we talked recently he mentioned that energy stocks are starting to become value plays again. He expects them to suffer thru the summer but start looking attractive again thereafter.

Stocks going thru a process of migrating from the hands of "momentum" players back toward the value investors.

jerryda:

Do you think there will be a worldwide recession resulting in $20 oil?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Remember, if you want to hear the banter between Aaron and me, you should click on the banner above -- you'll get a lot more insight from both of us that way!

RM_Atask:

Goldman forecast $20 bbl/oil today. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter suggesting a global recession is coming in the next year.

With such little growth in the major global economies -- US, Europe, Japan -- and emerging markets in trouble again -- Turkey, Argentina -- it's hard to be optimistic about the global economy.

-- Say, Chris: Can't most energy companies remain very profitable if oil remains above $15-$16 bbl/oil.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Don't think that OPEC will let that happen , $20 oil. And, Aaron, you are absolutely right ... there will be profits for these companies -- maybe not sequential growth, but profits -- at $20 oil.

Wraith_5_:

What do you see the Technology stocks doing in the next few months?

RM_Atask:

I see them remaining volatile.

Yesterday AMAT makes some negative comments and the group gets hurt. Today, KLAC reaffirms guidance and the group rallies. "Technology stocks" don't all trade together, but for the most part, it's going to remain an area of fits and starts.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

I agree with Aaron -- these stocks are going to be volatile and they will react, indeed, overreact in many cases to little tidbits of news that wouldn't cause such a reaction in more "rational" markets.

Jim Cramer made some very prescient comments regarding this concept.

RM_Atask:

Also, Jim alluded to the fact so much focus remains on tech stocks that their long-term fundamentals remain somewhat clouded by all the trading "noise."

arlen79_2000:

What books or educational tools would you recommend for a new investor?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Self-serving comment -- Check out

TheStreet.com Guide to Smart Investing in the Internet Era

-- a great primer from the basics to advanced option strategies.

RM_Atask:

That's a great suggestion.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

It's a tough market -- learn from experience -- get out there and try it on paper first and then dive in. That way you can learn about both the markets and yourself.

RM_Atask:

Chris, particularly at a time when the market is proving so frustrating to even the most seasoned professionals.

corroso:

Will California's energy problems throw the rest of the country into a recession?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Short answer -- no.

The crisis seems to be calming down a bit. Time to work a solution in California and learn lessons from it.

RM_Atask:

The big question then is whether other states will learn from California's painful lesson. Whether you agree with it or not, at least the Bush administration has a plan to address the energy "issue" in this country.

jerryda:

What is your outlook for the growth of nuclear power in this country?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Obviously, a part of the solution. Not a big part of the solution however...

TheStreet Recommends

Not as big as natural gas, bigger than alternative energy.

corroso:

Can the big 3 automakers ever be stopped from making such energy wasting vehicles? Or are they far too entrenched politically to be convinced to change?

RM_Atask:

If the big automakers can make an "energy efficient" car that's profitable and that consumers want, they will do it. I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Aaron hit the nail on the head -- can it be profitable. If so, it happens. If not, it won't. Easy enough!

RM_Atask:

It would be interesting to see how the quasi electric-quasi internal combustion cars brought out in the last year by Honda and Toyota have done.

jerryda:

Isn't disposal of nuclear waste a political problem, as opposed to a technical problem?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Indeed, it's a political problem because nobody wants it.

If it were absolutely safe, no problem.

RM_Atask:

It's a political problem because it's a technical problem.

Nobody wants nuclear waste in their backyard b/c it hasn't been proven to be safe.

kmh213us:

Hello, I am 35 and own 1 Mutual Fund-(Security Ultra). I am looking to purchase at least 1 more Mutual Fund and individual stocks plus an IRA ROTH account -- any suggestions?

RM_Atask:

I'm hard-pressed to make recommendations to individuals without knowing their total financial situation, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

I think that is a fair answer -- pay attention to your tolerance for risk ... that is key, especially today. But, over the long run, I think investing in equities remains the best way to build for retirement.

jerryda:

Do you think that current NG prices are at roughly the near term bottom?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Think we have a ways to go...

Closer to a bottom than a top in natural gas prices. . .

jerryda:

Can't nuclear waste safely be stored in deep salt caverns? Over 70% of France's energy needs are proved by nuclear power. Can we learn something from them? Breeder reactor technology seems feasible.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Politics here are different than they are here...

volterror2000:

Chris, what's your best bets for takeovers among the oil and gas producers?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

I don't think anything happens until we get a little pep back in the sector.

The drillers have seen some big mergers, there will be more consolidation among E&P companies, but that will have to wait until we see some life in these stock prices.

lipsonr2000:

I would like to know why people are charged so heavily when trying to sell stock?

RM_Atask:

If he's talking about transaction costs, it's still pretty cheap to trade with many online brokers. Where their prices have risen recently, it's because overall trading activity has gone way down and the firms are trying to generate more revenues with the customers they have left.

Also, there's been some consolidation in the industry.

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Think costs have come down dramatically in the last 10 years or so. I'd shop around a little bit if you feel you have been paying too much!

jerryda:

Do you think OPEC is likely to let oil prices drop below $25 if they can prevent it?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

Not if they can prevent it -- it all has to do with how quickly they can react.

lipsonr2000:

Do you have any advice as to where to invest money at this point?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

I agree with Aaron -- it depends entirely on your time frame and your risk tolerance.

RM_Atask:

I would answer that question with a question: The problem is are you talking about a time horizon of 3-days, 3-weeks, 3-months, 3-years, or 30-years? That's the difficulty in giving advice in a format like this.

volterror2000:

Any thoughts on California utilities?

chris_edmonds_tsc:

No reason to play there -- I think there are plenty of other utilities outside of California with solid dividends that give you good exposure to the sector. Look elsewhere.

laura_the_street:

Thanks for joining us this afternoon. A transcript of today's event will be available on www.thestreet.com later this eve.

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