The Week in Review -- February 12, 1999

The Markets

  2/5 Close 2/12 Close Change %Change
DJIA 9,304.24 9,274.89 -29.35 -0.32
S&P 500 1,239.40 1,230.13 -9.27 -0.75
Nasdaq 2,373.62 2,321.89 -51.73 -2.18

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Hearts and Minds
by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings, Fools.

The human brain is an amazing thing. Run a mild electric current through three and a half pounds of blue-gray oatmeal, wait a few thousand years, and you get the great works of human civilization. Start with da Vinci's brain, and you get Leonardo's Notebooks. Turn to the gray matter of Messrs. Tom and David Gardner, and you get Rule Breakers, Rule Makers, their latest and greatest guide to investing. Start with my mind, and you get a guy who has trouble finding two clean socks in the morning. Even then I find it pretty impressive.

In spite of my own diminished mental wattage (my flashes of insight tend to occur with the dimmer switch on the lowest setting), I am pleased to have a job where I can spend my days watching strong minds at work. I'm always happy to happen upon a piece written by Louis Corrigan (TMF Seymor), for example -- this week, his "Fool on the Hill" contribution, "$1 for 90 cents. Sounds Great!" is a standout -- it's fun to watch Louis skewer some truly doltish comments on the Internet business model from The Economist magazine. It seems the old line media still haven't fully understood the turn this wired new world has taken.

Likewise there's Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff), whose perceptive commentary is one of the main reasons why watching the Rule Breaker Portfolio is such a pleasure. His Wednesday report, "Change Happens Everywhere," meets his usual high standard. Jeff examines some new theories about our changing economic environment that argue that the old approaches to stock valuation no longer apply. With P/E ratios at historic highs, this is a timely subject, worth the attention of any investor who hopes to excel. So check it out, Fool.

With Valentine's Day approaching this Sunday, we are reminded, however, that there are pleasures in life beyond those that are cerebral. Besides the mind, there is the heart, and this is the proper moment to consider the objects of our affection. Of course, to a Fool, there are few things more attractive than a capital gain, and this week's Stocks Fools Love special contains a hope chest brimming with promise. Nine heartthrob companies ranging from the dashing and debonair Lucent (NYSE: LU) to the homey and comfortable Tupperware (NYSE: TUP) get love notes from Foolish suitors. You might find your own true love among these highly eligible contenders.

And while we're on the subject of love, let me mention our Fribbles, which are among my favorite of all Foolish features -- short, pithy essays, most of them from our readers, which offer powerful testimony to the joys of Foolish investing. This week's crop is even better than usual, with Selena Maranjian's "The Options Fribble" being especially notable. Some people talk in their sleep; Selena, apparently, writes prose. She has written so many of these that she warrants her own archive. (Give that fountain pen a rest, girl -- there's a speed limit in these parts.)

Let me remind you, too, that Monday is Presidents' Day, a legal holiday in These United States, meaning that our trading markets will be closed. It is interesting that we celebrate the men who have held the highest office in the land by shutting down the whole country for 24 hours, but hey -- whatever. You might want to use that free day to check out some of our online resources -- there's our Fools and Their Money pages, which have comprehensive suggestions on how to handle such nagging financial challenges as buying a home, getting out of debt, and lots of other stuff (click around -- follow your mouse as you would your muse). There's also The Fool's School, which gives you the basics of Foolish Investing. Or, you can just hang out with me on Cheeze-O-Rama, the message board where all the coolest Fools and hippest hepcats meet to see and be seen. If you're new to the world of online messaging, this is a good place to start.

Careful though -- this stuff is habit forming.

Until next week,
Fool on!


Talk about Notes from a Fool on the Cheeze-O-Rama message board!


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