Howdy, and welcome to the weekend wrap edition of ... The Hotline. (In my head there's a whooshing sound after the word, "Hotline.") Today's report of sluggish
. As if that was really some kind of surprise. Could've told you to expect
based on recent anecdotal evidence submitted by Hotline readers. Oh, but don't worry, the economy is slowing everywhere
cellular phones. Or so that's the message delivered in last night's
. This one
pushed my already high blood pressure even higher, not because of what Cramer and Seymour said (though that didn't help) but because of the question from somebody who goes under the handle of njfeds, who asked, "Do you agree with Herb about cell phones peaking?"
Do you agree with Herb about cell phones peaking?
Is that what I wrote? I don't
so! That's how rumors get started.
What I wrote, in
yesterday's Hotline, was, "While cell-phone demand continues to soar, there are signs that cell-phone makers are no longer raising their forecasts for demand for this year. (Remember, before you can fall, you have to stop rising. Could that be what's about to happen?)" It was a question, not a statement.
And it referred to info one of my reliable spies picked up at this week's
conference in New York. But, oh, it doesn't stop there. Cramer then responded, "This was such a canard. The penetration rates are so low right now vs. where they are going. I wanted to have that TV show back so I could do a spit take!!" A canard?
A spit take? (What the heck is that?)
Yep, I'd like to go a few rounds with JJC on that topic, and this time I'll dispense with the questions and get right to making a point: There's no doubt cell-phone growth, in the future, will be strong. Booming, in fact. But we're talking right now!
. And right now cell phone-related inventories are showing a sequential quarterly rise at such places as
while analysts report that
recently reported 5% comp-store sales growth in cellular products, not 20%, as had been expected. What's more, one reader who works for a major cell phone distributor says, "Everyone from carriers to distributors are drowning in product." Adds one savvy money manager: "You've had double-ordering, double-ordering and double-ordering for six months. Any change to that and you'll have
ordering in the handset business." Bottom line: While the economy remains perky, it's slowing at the upper and lower fringes and that slowdown is affecting
discretionary items -- even cell phones. But, oh, excuse me, you should strike that from the record, your honor, because according to Mr. Cramer, "it's a
Moving on... More of a ruckus at
: Writing in the morning notes for
this morning, independent analyst and longtime Rambus bear Larry Woods hammers away at the bullish belief that
eventually will incorporate Rambus' memory technology into its chips. "Put bluntly," he says, "Intel is no longer strong enough, or appropriately positioned enough, to pull this off. Consequently, we expect a quick divorce once Intel dumps its Rambus stock and without the backing of Intel, Rambus is toast." Now them's fighting words. Stay tuned ...
Back to Cramer:
Yesterday he mentioned that while my short-selling sources are the best, in the end they're really little more than "a rag-tag band of militia that has no ability to stand up to the mutual-fund/analyst complex. They are armed with bows and arrows and horses compared to those nuclear-propelled fellows." Which is why, counters a member of that rag-tag band, they have to fight that much harder and be that much smarter. And which is why, in the end, they often beat the complex at its own game. And which is why, jokes one, they eat rats as in, "You dirty rat, I'm gonna get you!"
wants to know where they can get a copy of
analyst Pamela Stumpp's report on earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA. Sorry, it's only available to Moody's clients (and they're not sure whether they're going to make it avail to the public), but I wonder if she'd have a few extra copies at her
New York Society of Securities Analysts
speech on June 15 ...
Then we have:
, a reader, who writes, "C'mon, you can do better than just print readers' letters. It's not what subscribers are paying for. You really should try to add some value to the site. Cramer is carrying your ass right now." Well, Kev, don't know if you noticed but that big red word next to the Hotline says, "FREE." That means it's available to everybody, including subscribers. It's meant to be little more than midday chatter (or patter). It's a different story from the main
Herb on TheStreet
column, which remains paid. And don't knock comments from this column's readers. If you only knew
they are. They're not just great readers; they're fabulous sources from
industries. (Keep those cards and letters coming, folks.) ...
Finally, yesterday we went to see
Mission Impossible 2
: Great beginning, slow middle, feisty end, though at times it reminded me more of the
! (Then I remembered I was watching
.) Good midday summertime fun (in an almost empty theater, no less. But you would expect crowds at noon on a Thursday?) Oh, and my almost-11-year-old loved it, which is what I hope you'll say about this weekend wrap edition of ... The Hotline. (Whoosh.)
Please join me and Paul McEntire, president of the Bearguard Fund, as we show you why the shorts can help you save your shirt at the first RealMoney.com Investor's Conference. McEntire, a veteran shortseller, started Bearguard last year. It's the first short-only stock mutual fund. We'll both share our tips on how to spot trouble, followed by my questions to Paul and your questions to both of us.
Surviving and profiting in treacherous markets
June 28th, 2000, Marriott World Trade Center, New York City
For information and registration, go to
Real Money Conferences .
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
email@example.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.