Of The Day
But, sometimes not every day.

Most recent past comment.

January 14, 1999

It's A Digital Jungle Out There
Grap Your Lap Top, The Market's Opening....

It used to be long-term buyers waiting years for the pioneers of emerging fields to deliver huge profits in reward for their patience and confidence. Today, trades are made while waiting at traffic lights, on elevators and escalators, and even while on hold. Small investors with just thousands of dollars, like insurgents in a guerrilla war, come running out of nowhere onto the trading floor, hit us all with their send and delete buttons and disappear into the subway crowds commuting endlessly. As we track along with our plodding spreadsheets of wisdom, they beam into the middle of the trading floor, spray us all with their color laser printers, $4 trade fees and day trade their way into surprisingly smart buys and sells, leaving with the cash flying everywhere. Just a few years ago, mutual funds were all the rage. Now, mutual funds, bonds, and dinosaurs are just standing there like museum pieces. "Oh, yeah, I remember those things. 7 or 8%, right? Hah! That's what my money market holding account pays." It doesn't really matter that is actually inaccessible to almost all internet players who don't come in with a T-line, cable modem, or some other mega-baud downloading streamer. It was a hot stock in and of itself. And people slashed and burned for two days. In the history of the Internet and the maturing boomer market that will be like Alan Sheppard's now ridiculous spurt into space on the way to 30-hour Moon walks. You ain't seen nothing yet. Stocks going up and down 100, 200 points a day will be as common place as Walter Cronkite saying to you as you ate your TV dinner, "It was quite a day on the stock market today. Blue chips were up two-eighths!" The trick now is to monitor the websites, forget newspapers, that's just really old news, and catch the one, two, three day window. As I watch the intraday charting on Nasdaq, I think to myself that that's where the real money is. There definitely is a pattern to hot stocks. They start out early and blast off, or down, rest before lunch and then during lunch all hell breaks loose. If you check in towards the end of the day, it's way over. The Nikkei is interesting because it's there overnight, and those guys are really smart (the yen is still stronger than you'd expect). But one thing is clear, it's not business as usual anymore when it comes to investing. Financial planners are going to be last ones to catch the wind here. If you really want to know what's going on read Internet authors who publish every day and who do it full time. Go to the newsgroups. Dig around. Gaming sites, believe it or not, are good directional guides to emerging technologies. Also look at the page counting sites. Remember, the Internet is more like a living thing, a life form, than just a directory or a reference center. It is enormously intelligent, arrogant, rich beyond your wildest dreams, influential, nosy, intrusive, and it's moving faster and faster all the time, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. By some counts, in Internet years, it is just now nearing puberty. Think about that. It's going to be a wild ride, my suggestion is to each of you, run hard, catch the bottom step, grab the hand rail, and swing on board. Just don't bet the farm. Invest in access speed long term, in information access gathering and sorting short term. Bet on winners and remember losers always imitate winners. It's all they can do. CNN's lower front screen is a good place to start.

And, just remember, when you think the world is really changing, that it stays the same far more than it changes, somewhere on a scale of one million same old things to 2/8ths of a new thing. Here is CNN's picture of the day. It's an Italian flag made with 1,500 meters (0.94 miles) of red, white and green fabric, held by thousands of soldiers and volunteers after it was stretched from the Colosseum, in the background, to Rome's City Hall (Campidoglio). The event celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Italian "Tricolore" (three-colors) flag. In other words, it is a nationalistic celebration. To me it's very anachronistic and yesterday, but there they are, in the rain doing it. It took almost a year to organize, and then on the great day, don't you know, it rained. But I bet they are having fun and that they will talk about it for years. And, I bet someone in that crowd was making trades, using the flag as an umbrella, protecting his digital devices.

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