Thanks for your timely response Henry. I also noticed that the first assignment will work if I change the signature of the objectList to be
List<? extends Object> objectList = new ArrayList();
objectList = stringList; // does work now
I understand that it doesn't make since to use generics since we are extending Object. The types in this posting are String and Object in order to simplify my posting. I'm actually using other types in my code. Thanks again.