The Fall Of The Net Analyst

Former oracles have been demoted, and a New Guard is rushing in after the fact to downgrade Internet stocks

The Queen of the Internet was not amused. Under the glare of CNBC's television lights, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's Mary G. Meeker appeared somewhat tentative on Oct. 23. Meeker, who among myriad other accolades has been called the third-most- powerful woman in business, usually exhibits a Zen-like calm. But on this day, Squawk Box host Mark Haines clearly put Meeker on the defensive, tersely grilling her on her willingness to talk up Internet stocks. At one point, Meeker responded: "If we sound a little too optimistic, it's really a function of the fact that this is the kind of environment that creates buying opportunities." Haines retorted: "You're telling us to start from this point and put our money in the right places. But following your advice, we put our money in the wrong places...now we don't have any money." In fact, since Meeker's appearance, the Nasdaq has dropped a further 22%. And so far this year, her picks are down 68%.

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