The Week in Review -- July 30, 1999

The Markets

  7/23 Close 7/30 Close Change %Change
DJIA 10,910.33 10,655.15 -255.18 -2.34
S&P 500 1,356.94 1,328.72 -28.22 -2.08
Nasdaq 2,692.40 2,638.49 -53.91 -2.00

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Word of the Day: Diversity
by Jerry Thomas (tmfcheeze@aol.com)

Greetings, Fools.

People come to The Motley Fool website from all over the world. I've exchanged e-mail with readers from as far away as Mauritius, which, according to my almanac, is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean somewhere east of Madagascar, population 1,168,256. We've got a rapidly growing sister community across the Atlantic at Fool UK, where they Beat the FTSE instead of the Dow. I routinely see postings on our message boards from such exotic regions as China, Australia, Singapore, and Milwaukee. Point to a random spot on the globe, and you're likely to find a Fool there.

But there is far more than mere geographic diversity at work here. We've got teenagers saving for college shoulder to shoulder with older Fools planning their retirements. There are some Fools with impressively large net worths sharing information with Fools who are many thousands of dollars in debt, and working to get out of it. We've got rank beginners sharing bunk space with seasoned veterans, and aggressive tech stock investors arguing particulars with conservative blue chippers. We've got bull meeting bear, short meeting long, large cap and small, and even a message folder dedicated to the highly unFoolish frenzy of day trading.

Somehow we have to find room to accommodate all of these extremes. That is an effort that taxes not only those of us at the Fool who must create the space for it, but also those of you on the other side of the screen who must find these resources once they are created. Unfortunately, there is no TV Guide for the Web, and if there were it would be out of date before it could be printed, so rapid is the rate of change online. At some point, we have to surrender faith to our readers in the hope that they will take steps to make themselves familiar with what we have to offer. One of the best tools we have for keeping you on top of things is our FoolWatch page, which aggregates all of the features and specials we have produced in a given week. Bookmark that page, refer to it daily, and you just might put "Notes from a Fool" out of business. (Yikes!)

One of the cool things about being the Fool who gets to write these Notes every week is that I get to be a raving fan for my co-workers. My first rave this week is for Matt Richey (TMF Verve), who, in Monday's Rule Maker Portfolio report, makes a watertight case for the full and fair distribution of corporate information to investors who own shares in publicly traded companies. Do you realize that Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), one of the finest companies in America, is still insulting its rank-and-file shareholders by making important disclosures in private meetings to Wall Street's elite? Matt not only describes how this outrageous practice takes place, but tells how you can take a principled stand against it, right now, today. Take action: read the report.

The Fool's Drip Portfolio marked its second anniversary this week. Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff) wrote Wednesday's report in celebration. That might be reason enough to recommend it to you, but Jeff's piece works not only as a recounting of the progress of the portfolio, but also as an excellent introduction to the art of Drip Investing. If you are at all considering a venture into this investment approach, this could be Square One for you.

At the Fool, we encourage you to manage your own investments, and we provide resources to help you do just that. Still, the task can be daunting, and you might want to seek the services of a Financial Planner to help you face challenge. But how do you choose the right Financial Planner? Two Fool features appearing this week tell you how: First, check out the Special, "Finding a Financial Planner," by Fool David Braze (TMF Pixy). David gives you specific items to consider when making your search: What fees you should expect to pay, what credentials you should expect them to offer, and what experience you should demand before you hire them. When you've finished with that, click on over to Tuesday's Foolish Four Report, where Barbara Eisner Bayer (TMF Venus) tells how she helped a friend choose a Financial Planner of her own.

Finally, let me point you to Tuesday's Rule Breaker Report by David Gardner. It's all too easy to trumpet market-beating returns, but who is willing to celebrate a $336,770.63 loss? Fools seeking accountability, that's who.

Until next week,
Fool on!
Cheeze

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