In This Corner

As the volatile stock market climbs to new highs, investors continue to fight for the best returns. Our investment roundtable tries to pick the winners as the battle between growth and value rages.

I agree 100% with Dawn and her outsourcing theme. I agree 100% with enterprise software as a great market for 2000. I just think it has to be companies that have an Internet tie that are starting to focus on CRM (customer relationship management) software, things that allow them to speak to their customers and allow them to service their customers better. They’ve automated the back office. They’re sort of moving toward the front office, so I like the enterprise software companies that are using the Internet, like Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), which I think is a great company for 2000.

Simmons: I think in terms of themes. One of the biggest themes we’ve talked about already is the Internet, and Fed Ex is my hands-down pick to take advantage of distribution. Then, I love retail because I think that the U.S. [economy] will continue to be strong. I like Saks (NYSE: SAKS) as a value retail play and Venator Corp. (NYSE: Z), which is the old Woolworth. I like the stock because they have the distribution system, they’ve got Foot Locker [athletic gear stores] and some buyout company is trying to make a play for them.

B.E.: Looking at the overall market, what are your predictions for the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq over the next six months?

Pearson: If the economic scenario holds up, and I think it will, I think the Dow would be up 10% from [July 15, when the roundtable convened]. So we’re looking at 11,100 or something close to that. I think the S&P will be up probably 10%. It’s a little under 1,300 now, so throw 130 points on that. The Nasdaq, if the economic sc
enario holds up and these profits keep coming in with a lot of these tech companies, I think you’ll see that up 12% to 15%.

Simmons: Nasdaq, up maybe 5%. The Dow, flat. S&P, flat.

Paige: This is a pure shot in the dark, but I would say that [the Dow] would probably, in the year, be at some euphoric 12,000 level. There is such a force of money waiting to go into the market that there is no such thing as a bear market anymore and, if there is, it’s not going to last long because there is pent-up demand for the stock market. I don’t think that we’re going to suffer any major corrections.

Thomason: I’ll be the contrarian in the group. My opinion is that by the end of the year, we may see some dips in the market, maybe a 10% or 15% dip. I think by the first quarter, when people start finding out that the world really did not come to an end [because of Y2K], I think the market will come back and in a big way.

Lew: Well, I started to believe that if the Y2K thing does have an impact, then it’s going to last through the first quarter. The market is going to be down for a little while. Maybe it goes down 10% to 15%

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