Magazine

Gazing into the Stock Market


After two years of extensive economic analysis, I have uncovered three critical facts about the market: (1) Analysts are liars. (2) You can't time the market. (3) Companies without earnings are not good bets ("Where to invest," Cover Story, Dec. 31).

Armed with this powerful inside information, I still spent more than $100,000 on tech stocks last year--which leads me to another critical point: Greed always overrules common sense.

I would have been better off by waiting for December to arrive, buying a copy of BusinessWeek, and reading the annual "Investment Outlook Scoreboard." Thanks for the great insights.

Tom Viegandt

Mississauga, Ont.

"This recovery will be a slog" ("Where to invest," Dec. 31), with its tremendous range of "predictions," clearly displays the fact that these forecasts are really "educated guesses."

Joseph Carro

Paso Robles, Calif.

"The power of negative thinking" ("Where to invest," Dec. 31) expressed bewilderment that forecaster James W. Paulsen's predictions for 2001 were so negative, [even though] they proved to be so accurate. Paulsen presented a valuable and realistic analysis of what the future might actually hold. Unlike the majority of his peers, he offered realism rather than unbridled optimism.

Rather than being an errant negative voice that by fluke was accurate, Paulsen was sound in his approach. The others marched like wide-eyed optimists in lockstep. In an environment that traditionally passes through peaks and troughs, why do you seem to have so much distaste for the bearers of news other than "all is bright and well in the business world?"

Greg Warrick

Puste Sady, Slovakia "It's time for Willamette to give in to Weyerhaeuser" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Jan. 14), dealing with Willamette Industries Inc.'s defense against Weyerhaeuser Co.'s hostile takeover, misstates our position. Weyerhaeuser has attempted to bully Willamette into selling its business for less than the board believes the company is worth. Willamette has refused, based on its commitment to making sure stockholders receive full value for their shares. The board's record of delivering industry-leading returns is very strong, and we believe our strategy will continue to deliver superior value.

Your article claims I have "argued" that the Georgia-Pacific Corp. deal is the only way to "make Weyerhaeuser go away" and that I would "never sell to [Weyerhaeuser CEO Steven R.] Rogel." This is absolutely untrue, and I challenge you to document when I ever said anything of the sort. Although it is unlikely that I would feel warmth toward any person who undertakes a hostile takeover, it is preposterous to suggest that I, or any other member of Willamette's board, would let personal animosities prevent us from considering the best interests of Willamette stockholders.

Your claim is further undermined by the fact that we recently entered into discussions with Weyerhaeuser to try to reach an agreement. BusinessWeek is entitled to its opinion about what is best for Willamette's shareholders, but the truth is that Weyerhaeuser is simply not willing to pay what we believe is a full and fair price for Willamette.

William Swindells

Chairman of the Board

Willamette Industries Inc.

Portland, Ore.

Editor's note: We erred in stating that Swindells has argued that a merger with Georgia-Pacific would be the only way to thwart a hostile bid by Weyerhaeuser. But several sources tell BusinessWeek that Swindells did not want to sell to Rogel.


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