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Recap of Saturday, July 13: Tech Stocks Suffering

Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:

Elizabeth MacDonald, Senior Editor: Vivendi (V) has serious problems with its off-balance sheet debt. They didn't disclose 7 of the 23 off-balance sheet items; what they're on the hook for, what their liabilities are. I think anybody looking at this company would want to run for the exits.

David Asman: Do you think this company is dead?

Elizabeth MacDonald, Senior Editor: The company probably will go through a restructuring. Who knows what happened with this company's finances. It's just a big mixup.

David Asman: Chana, Starbucks?

Chana Schoenberger, Staff Writer: Yes, I have some caffeine for you. Starbucks (SBUX) has been doing amazing things with the number of people going through its coffee shops. The average person shops there on average 20 times a month, which comes out to every single work day. They have the Starbucks card which allows you to swipe and pay.

Elizabeth MacDonald, Senior Editor: So, should we be investing in teeth whiteners as well?

Chana Schoenberger, Staff Writer: It's a pretty pricey stock but coffee consumption has not decreased at all.

David Asman: Okay, well Rich we've been talking about this all week. Is there a sign that maybe the tech stocks have hit bottom?

Rich Karlgaard, Publisher: What caused the tech stocks to tumble was the telecom collapse. I think the key sign was Warren Buffett putting $500 million into Level 3 (LVLT). What this means is he thinks the assets in telecom are pretty near the bottom.

Elizabeth MacDonald, Senior Editor: Do you think this all has to do with the hot shots coming in and picking up the weakling?

Rich Karlgaard, Publisher: Absolutely. I don't want to go too far back but in 1874 there was a big railroad stock collapse and the consolidators came in and cleaned up. I think Warren Buffett has many more cards to play here.

David Asman: Is it time to buy Level 3?

Rich Karlgaard, Publisher: I wouldn't buy Level 3. I'd buy companies like Cisco instead.

• Makers & Breakers

Intel (INTC)

Richard Suttmeier, Joseph Stevens Co.: MAKER

Intel (INTC) is a leader but my theme is defense spending and spending on homeland security. This is going to lead to increased spending in IT.

Jim Michaels, Editorial Vice President: BREAKER

This is one of the premiere companies in the world and you're tempting me. But it's still kind a pricey at 4 times sales. I would love to own this stock but not at $18, $19.

Luisa Kroll, Associate Editor: MAKER

Actually I own a little Intel and I wish I could've gotten in at these prices. I bought Intel at a much higher price and my opinion is always to hold on to a stock that is a good company like this. There are signs that things are beginning to turn up. Orders have been outpacing shipments.


Richard Suttmeier, Joseph Stevens Co.: MAKER

I like EMC Corp. (EMC). We're going to need storage to keep things that might have been destroyed in a terrorist attack. Not only that, the regulation we're going to see are going to require archive of emails. These will require a lot of storage space and EMC will benefit.

Luisa Kroll, Associate Editor: BREAKER

I think storage is an interesting area but I don't like EMC at this price or really at any price right now. Basically, I think this is a very cocky company that has scared off a lot of its customers. And now you've got Hitachi and IBM coming in and cutting margins.

Jim Michaels, Editorial Vice President: BREAKER

This is what I call a "Humpty Dumpty" stock. It was $5, then goes to a $100, now it's back at $8. They've split this thing so many times. You can't even see what's left of its equity.

David Asman: Okay, when it's two against one, we give you a rebuttal.

Richard Suttmeier, Joseph Stevens Co.: My rebuttal is when I worked at Grubman, we spent a lot of money to put a man on the moon and to win the cold war. We're going to spend a lot of money on IT to defeat terrorism.