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Bookstore takes a pop at Amazon’s share price

Aims to burst over-inflated Web stock bubble

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Investors who think they know a thing or two about playing the stock market are being given the chance to speculate about Amazon.com's future performance without being exposed to an ounce of risk. Specialist online financial book retailer Global Investor Bookshop, wants people to predict what the share price of Amazon.com will be on 30 April 1999 as part of its 1999 Hot-Air Challenge. First prize is a balloon flight with a champagne breakfast, plus $1,000 worth of investment tools. One hundred runners-up will receive a copy of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, by Charles Mackay, and a bright red panic button for their computer keyboard. "Extraordinary Popular Delusions is the definitive work on money manias written in 1841," said Philip Jenks, director of Global Investor Bookshop. "It narrates popular obsessions from Tulipomania to the South Sea Bubble, and provides invaluable lessons for investors bewildered by the current detachment of Internet stock prices from conventional investment valuations." The panic button comes with a peel-off sticky back and is completely functionless but, said Jenks, it's there for investors if they get caught out when the inevitable correction in net stock prices happens. With his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek Jenks said: "Of course this is just a gentle dig at a competitor but the prizes are very real, and we hope that our clients have fun playing the game." Last year Amazon's losses topped an impressive $124 million while its share price has climbed from $13 a year ago to a peak of $199 in January 1999 before falling back to below $90. ®

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