The markets successfully shrugged off the Fed's latest rate hike, as well as a much-discussed Barron's cover story naming a bunch of net companies that Barron's believes are in danger of running out of cash, plus the high-profile blowup of MicroStrategy's stock. The markets failed, however, to confound the ongoing, yet increasingly absurd, Old Economy vs. New Economy debate. The major indexes moved in opposite directions, in tandem, against conventional wisdom, anything. But market pundits persevered, and retaliated with talk of Old New Economy stocks vs. New New Economy stocks. Oh well. Here are some other things to talk about if someone tries to argue for New Old Economy stocks this weekend:
1. On Thursday, Reuters reported that Cisco's market cap briefly topped Microsoft's, making Cisco for a short time the world's most valuable company. Peter Lynch-esque buy-what-you-know theories aside, the fact that most holders of Cisco don't really understand its business has apparently not hurt its stock price.
2. Despite a setback early in the week, Rambus rebounded as this year's It Stock, rallying 85 points in one day on Wednesday. Why? Analyst Marc Edelstone pulled the increasingly commonplace stunt of setting a new, nosebleed target price. Sometimes these targets become instantly self-fulfilling prophecies (as with a famous Henry Blodgett call on Amazon) and sometimes not (as with what's his name's call on Qualcomm).
3. Replace the NEA with venture capital. A company called Fatbrain has commissioned essays about the Bill of Rights from name authors for up to $100k a pop. Another one, AtomFilms.com, is buying up such fare as Gee, a Warhol-esque four-minute film made by throwing a running camera out of an airplane. American Airlines plans to hand out poetry volumes next month, and DaimlerChrysler has sponsored readings and printed up custom anthologies. No word if Helms offended.
4. NBA ratings are way down--by 20 percent for prime-time games--since Michael Jordan retired. One observer told the Times that NBA commissioner David Stern should make Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter join the Bulls or the Knicks. "The rest of the league needs him in a big media market." Sure, sports fans love that kind of manipulation. How about getting Stone Cold Steve Austin to join the Knicks?
5. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Tom Freston, head of MTV Networks (including Nickelodeon and VH1), tells about the time a Nickelodeon team went to Las Vegas, hypnotized two groups of baby boomers, played them old TV shows and commercials, and asked them to remember what it was like to watch television when they were young. Apparently this led to the creation of TV Land and Nick at Night, but Freston does not say why or how, nor does the Journal ask.
6. The founder of Scient, a billionaire named Eric Greenberg, hired Elton John to sing at his wedding this past weekend for a reported $1 million. No word if Helms offended.