The Morningstar Conference: Garrett Van Wagoner Explains It All for You

CHICAGO -- Given the beating that Garrett Van Wagoner has taken in the past year's tech collapse, you couldn't blame him for skipping the 2001 Morningstar Investment Conference altogether. Fortunately, he showed up -- and he didn't pull any punches.

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No Room at the Value Fund Inn for Tech

The battered tech specialist's ( VWEGX) Van Wagoner Emerging Growth fund rode tech stocks to a 291% gain in 1999 but has lost more than half of its value over the past year. Bloodied but unbowed, he came out to a conference discussion on growth fund investing with guns blazing.

Here's a sampling of his views on companies, sectors and CNBC:

  • Telecom: "I'm extremely concerned about where we are in this telco cycle. There is an excess of inventory everywhere. Even if the economy does come back, telco will have a long road back."
  • Technology: "We can debate whether or not the economy in a recession. Tech is in a depression."
  • Ariba (ARBA) After buying a stake in the business-to-business software shop in 1998 -- before its IPO -- he's no longer a fan or shareholder. "We're out and I don't know when we'll be back. There's been a management change there and we're not happy with current management."
  • Regulation Fair Disclosure: Van Wagoner says the Securities and Exchange Commission's regulation outlawing selective disclosure of information by companies to institutional investors or analysts made a big splash at first, but isn't such a big deal anymore. "Initially it cast a chill, but it has really let up. Now it's just another excuse when a company doesn't want to talk. Before they just didn't call back if they didn't want to say anything. Now they call back and say they can't talk because they're in a quiet period or because of Reg FD."
  • CNBC: "I was one of the first managers to have CNBC on during the day because I saw they affected stock prices during the day. I turned my TV off about a year ago. I don't see them contributing to anything but volatility."
  • Fund Junkie runs every Monday and Wednesday, as well as occasional dispatches. Ian McDonald writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to imcdonald@thestreet.com, but he cannot give specific financial advice.

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