The Week in Review -- December 18, 1998

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  12/11 Close 12/18 Close Change %Change
DJIA 8821.76 8903.63 +81.87 +0.93%
S&P 500 1166.46 1188.03 +21.57 +1.85%
Nasdaq 2029.31 2086.14 +56.83 +2.80%

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by Jerry Thomas (

ap�ro�pos adj.
1. Being at once opportune and to the point.

�ap�ro�pos adv.
1. At an appropriate time; opportunely.
2. By the way; incidentally.

�ap�ro�pos prep.
With regard to; concerning.

Greetings, Fools.

We are nearing the end of the year. Obviously, you don't need me to tell you that. For that sort of deep insight, all you need to do is look at your calendar. When you find that almost all of the little squares have x's through them, that's a pretty clear sign that the year is about to pack it in.

Just a little tip from me to you, gratis.

How appropriate then, how timely, how correct and opportune is it is to find the Year in Review placed among our latest offerings. Talk about deft scheduling! It only makes sense to launch this feature in December. It wouldn't do to have a year-end review in the middle of July, would it? And to offer an annual retrospective in early January would be equally improper. One simply does not look back on a year that hasn't happened yet, does one? Therefore it is only fitting that we release this timely feature now, when the calendar is waning, when the end of the year is at hand. I am just giddy with the cosmic justice of it all.

It is, in a word, apropos.

We begin the Year in Review by turning our attention to the top-performing stocks of the year. Companies that have burned the tape. Companies that have outpaced the world. Companies that have shown outstanding returns for the year: Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), Roberts Pharmaceutical (AMEX: RPC), and American Eagle Outfitters (Nasdaq: AEOS). Each company is profiled in detail, and the causes for each particular success are examined. If you seek timely and pertinent information about America's top companies, this is a great place to find it.

Even so, that's not what impresses me most about this year-end feature. Never mind that this is primo, front-rank, free stock research. I mean, hey, that's only what you've come to expect from The Motley Fool. What impresses me most is that this is only Part One of the year-end review. Parts Two, Three, and Four come next week. Next week, you will note, is even closer to the end of the year than this week. That means it's even more apropos! Hoo-ha! Stay tuned!

Apropos is a strange little word. It doesn't look English, and yet it has been part of our language for nearly 400 years. It comes from the French phrase a propos, meaning "to the purpose." I sprinkle it in my daily conversation to help make me look smart. "Apropos of this ham sandwich," I'll say, "would you please pass me the mustard?" Or, "Apropos of my laundry, you haven't seen my missing sock, have you?" Try using the word judiciously yourself. You will find that people will treat you with more respect. Really.

Apropos of exactly nothing involving my socks is Jeff Fischer's Thursday Drip Portfolio report. Jeff's piece is a sweeping examination of the oil industry and its burgeoning wave of consolidation, and is probably the most succinct examination of the subject you're likely to find. The recent merger of Exxon and Mobil is looming, and Jeff offers his penetrating reading of the things to come.

Apropos of stock research, and if you wouldn't mind a scoop of Chunky Monkey right now, click on over to Brian Graney's interview with Frances Rathke, CFO of Ben & Jerry's Homemade (Nasdaq: BJICA). Brian (aka TMF Panic), explores some of the recent changes at Ben & Jerry's with Ms. Rathke, including the company's surging revenues and its decision to hand over distribution of their product to arch-rival H�agen-Dazs. It's a yummy discussion you'll eat up with a spoon.

Meanwhile, if you haven't visited our Fool Community lately, why not drop by again? This week our friends at Fool Labs unveiled the latest update of our message boards, making them sleeker, faster, and easier to use than ever before. Be warned from the outset, however, that the Fool boards are extremely habit-forming. I am hopelessly addicted to them myself. Once you've registered and started making your own contributions to this endless conversation, you may never want to leave.

Finally, did I mention that we are approaching the end of the year? Of course I did. This is traditionally the season for giving, and in Fooldom it is the season we devote to promoting Share Our Strength, an organization that draws on what each of us does best to promote the best in those in need of our help. You might recall my considerable distress last week at Selena Maranjian's Don't Donate fribble. This week, Selena redeems herself with her new Do Donate fribble, which countermands and makes recompense for her former lapse. Read it. You will find it most in keeping with the spirit of giving.

My. How apropos.

Until next week,
Fool on!


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