Agent Greenspan
Plus, an Internet frenzy

by Barbara Eisner Bayer (

WOODSTOCK, NY (Sept. 23, 1998) -- What's all this I've been hearing about the IMF lately? I thought the Impossible Missions Force self-destructed when they sold the movie rights. Seems they've returned for the sole purpose of containing the worldwide infection known as the "Asian Contagion" (a term my colleague, TMF Cheeze, swears was coined by CNBC because of its internal rhyme scheme).

The IMF's first move was to enlist Special Agent Alan Greenspan to go before the Senate and say that "it is just not credible that the United States, or for that matter Europe, can remain an oasis of prosperity unaffected by a world that is experiencing greatly increased stress."

An oasis of prosperity? Not these days. Looks like he's been checking the average American's portfolio over the past few months. Which is probably why Greenspan decided to be "sensitive to signs of global distress" and hint that interest rates would be lowered. I wouldn't be surprised if that was Martin Landau donning a latex mask, pretending to be Greenspan. (They said his voice sounded funny because he had a cold. Hmmmm....)

Turns out the Asian Contagion was momentarily stopped from spreading to the American stock market, as the S&P was up 3.52%, but couldn't hold an antibiotic to the Fool's 9.06% gain.


Thus sprach the media.

It seems that the Fool's very own, as well as other Internet-related stocks which have been out of favor in recent weeks, skyrocketed on optimism that the Internet is becoming a mass market business after record numbers of users visited Web sites to read about the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.

Is becoming? Now that's news to us Fools -- we thought it already WAS a mass market business. After all, those frenzied Americans didn't run out and buy computers when they learned that the transcripts and tapes would be released on the Internet. They already OWNED them, and most probably had Internet access. The fact that they hit the Internet in droves is to be expected -- even more so in the future, as people the world over discover what Fools have known all along: the Internet is the quickest, easiest and most abundant way to get information anywhere.

What IS news is that a senior analyst at Jupiter Communications said: "A lot of people are coming to the Internet for the first time to see the Starr report." And of course, once they get there, if they're anything like us, they'll never leave.

The Foolish Internet Frenzy was majestically led by feisty (Nasdaq: AMZN), marching up a whopping $16 15/16. (Did you know that the Clinton video is their second most popular seller? I wonder what's the first -- frenzied investors watching a tape of Mr. Greenspan hint at the lowering of interest rates?) Fool stalwart America Online (NYSE: AOL), back in its old volatile form, was also up $9 1/8 on the news.

Since nobody wants to be left out of the frenzy, it's not surprising that Fool port holding Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), which today announced an agreement with Netscape to deliver Lucent ECommerce Solutions (a comprehensive portfolio of consulting services, software and network security products for conducting electronic commerce) was up $3 7/8. According to the release, "The two companies are delivering a portfolio of solutions that will enable Lucent customers to take advantage of the emerging 'Net Economy' being driven by Internet-based commerce applications and services."

Everybody's getting into the act.

In other Fool Port news, 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) reported first quarter fiscal 1999 estimate-beating earnings of $0.24 per share, before a credit related to unwinding expense accruals for the U.S. Robotics merger. The trend is certainly moving in the right direction, but we need to look at the entire earnings report for clarification of what is really going on underneath the surface of the information which management releases. In today's Lunchtime News, Dale Wettlaufer explains why on a great market day after a positive earnings report investors chose to sell off COMS, which was down $13/16. In addition, today Jeff Fischer provided the first quarter conference call synopsis.

All other Fool stocks were appropriately up with the market, except for Trump, which was appropriately down by $1/16.

On a celebratory note, today marks the one year anniversary of the FoolUK. If you haven't visited our friendly transatlantic neighbors, stop by today and wish them a Happy First Birthday, and many more to come!

Fool on!


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Bookmark Live Fool Port Quotes

09/23/98 Close

Stock Change Bid ---------------- AMZN +16 15/16 105.13 AOL +9 1/8 115.50 T +1 3/16 59.63 DJT - 1/16 3.25 DD +1 1/8 58.69 XON +3 1/4 70.31 INVX +1 5/8 13.50 IP + 15/16 45.31 IOM + 3/16 4.31 KLAC +1 13/16 25.94 LU +3 7/8 77.63 SBUX +2 1/2 32.94 COMS - 13/16 31.56 TDFX +1 3/16 11.13
Day Month Year History Annualized FOOL +9.06% 24.73% 43.59% 381.88% 46.28% S&P: +3.52% 11.34% 9.86% 132.57% 22.65% NASDAQ: +3.68% 17.41% 12.09% 144.42% 24.13% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 3.64 115.50 3076.19% 9/9/97 580 19.11 105.13 450.08% 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 1.28 4.31 236.81% 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 23.81 77.63 226.04% 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* 8.47 3.25 61.62% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 59.63 50.65% 2/20/98 200 Exxon 64.09 70.31 9.71% 2/20/98 215 DuPont 59.83 58.69 -1.92% 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 47.69 45.31 -4.99% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 31.56 -32.65% 7/2/98 235 Starbucks 55.91 32.94 -41.09% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 25.94 -41.99% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 13.50 -51.28% 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 25.67 11.13 -56.66% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 2581.87 82005.00 $79423.13 9/9/97 580 11084.24 60972.50 $49888.26 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -3802.50 $6106.00 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 2509.60 8452.50 $5942.90 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 1999.88 6520.50 $4520.62 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 7751.25 $2606.14 2/20/98 200 Exxon 12818.00 14062.50 $1244.50 2/20/98 215 DuPont 12864.25 12617.81 -$246.44 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 12876.75 12234.38 -$642.38 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 3371.88 -$2440.62 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11715.99 7890.63 -$3825.37 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 4387.50 -$4618.12 7/2/98 235 Starbucks 13138.63 7740.31 -$5398.31 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 10908.63 4728.13 -$6180.50 CASH $12005.75 TOTAL $240938.13

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