Originally created 07/24/99

Strategist says impact from Y2K bug minimal



The stock market, the bond market and Y2K's impact on the economy will all be discussed Tuesday when Salomon Smith Barney's senior portfolio strategist speaks at a local investment seminar.

John L. Manley, the brokerage's top equity strategist, will give a one-hour presentation on "Stock Market Outlook: 1999 and Beyond," at 7 p.m. at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta.

The event is sponsored by the local office of Robinson-Humphrey Co., a subsidiary of Salomon Smith Barney.

Mr. Manley, a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC, is bullish on the stock market because he believes the bond market will continue to smooth out wrinkles in the economy the way it has for much of this decade.

The steady bond market has taken a lot of interest rate pressures off the Federal Reserve Board, allowing the economy to be on "autopilot," he said during a telephone interview from New York.

"The basic process that gave us the bull market is still working," said Mr. Manley, an analyst for 20 years.

He forecasts a broader market in the next year, with much of the growth coming from mid-cap and cyclical companies.

On sectors, he's neutral on technology because of what he believes is overspending on Y2K preparation.

He likes financial and communications, two sectors in which he believes even the worst millennium bug would have the least impact, he said.

"We take a pragmatic approach," he said. "Bandwidth, the Internet and wireless will grow through any Y2K problem."

Although some predict Y2K will cause a global recession, Mr. Manley believes impact will be minimal.

The Radisson is located at 2 10th Street. Seating is limited; those interested in attending can call Ann Cooper at (706) 823-8102.

Damon Cline covers business for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3486.