The Week in Review -- March 26, 1999

The Markets

  3/19 Close 3/26 Close Change %Change
DJIA 9,903.55 9,822.24 -81.31 -0.82
S&P 500 1,299.29 1,282.81 -16.48 -1.27
Nasdaq 2,421.32 2,419.32 -2.00 -0.08

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by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings, Fools.

On Monday, Fool co-founder Tom Gardner paid a visit to the United States Senate. The Capitol is just across the river from Fool Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, but I'm sure it was a heady trip for a Fool. Tom spoke to the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, warning of the dangers of securities fraud on the Internet. In that testimony, he spoke not just for himself and his company, but for all investors everywhere.

You can read Tom's full statement online. Let me urge you to do so, not only for its warnings about the scams and hype that may beset investors as they venture into cyberspace, but also because Tom's chronicle is one of the most complete statements of our Foolish mission I have yet read. Tom explains why we eschew penny stocks and avoid providing a forum for their discussion in our chat rooms and on our message boards. He reminds us that all investors should endeavor to inform themselves about all aspects of investing, online and off. There is even some strong Foolish humor in the piece, which might strike you as all the more funny when you imagine Tom reading it in the staid halls of Congress. In short, if you use the Internet as a resource for making any financial decisions at all, you will be rewarded for the time you spend with Tom's testimony today. I think it should be required reading for any investor.

If I told you there was a company out there that had grown more than 500% since going public less than five years ago, you would probably want to know more about it, right? The company is Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP), and its business -- data storage and retrieval -- is exploding. Dale Wettlaufer (TMF Ralegh) spoke with CEO Dan Warmenhoven recently, and his in-depth interview makes for some very enlightening research. I won't kid you -- this is not light reading, but the more challenging material often pays the higher reward. You may never choose to invest in Network Appliance, but that's no reason not to seek an understanding of it.

Network Appliance has been a quiet outperformer. CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI), on the other hand, has made considerably more noise. CMGI is the 'Net stock without a Web presence, the money minds behind some of big success stories in cyberspace. You might be wondering what all the fuss is about and whether the outstanding returns it has enjoyed are warranted. Rick Munarriz (TMF Edible) lifts the veil in Thursday's Daily Double.

There is a contributor to our Web boards who I know only by his or her screen name, "ckmw." It is typical of our Community for a name to emerge from the crowd, offer forth a gem, and then to return to his seat in the gallery. It never ceases to impress me just how much talent and experience is held in the group mind, and how generous people are with sharing their knowledge. This contributor shared some experiences gathered in choosing a discount broker, and that offering became Monday's Post of the Day. Read it not only for ideas on choosing your own broker, but as a model for your own contributions to our boards.

And speaking of Community contributions, this has been another fine week for Fribbles. Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena) adds to her endless series with Wednesday's Dancing Chicken Fribble. And Fool Craig R. Hersch gave us Tuesday's effort with "Speak to My Chief Advisor" -- a glib, not to mention very funny, lesson on how best to handle those cold-calling Wise guys.

I began this page by entreating you to read Tom Gardner's Senate testimony. Truly, this is perhaps among the most important pieces an online investor could read. (The link again, in case you missed it, is here.) It has the rare virtue of being both succinct and comprehensive in its survey of Foolish values. A fine companion piece to Tom's testimony is his Wednesday Rule Maker portfolio report. Less is more, says Tom -- less trading, less worrying, and less watching the ticker can lead to consistent market-beating returns. I like the sound of that.

Until next week,
Fool on!


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