The Week in Review -- November 5, 1999

The Markets

  10/29 Close 11/5 Close Change %Change
DJIA 10,731.76 10,704.48 -27.28 -0.25
S&P 500 1,363.27 1,370.23 +6.96 +0.51
Nasdaq 2,966.43 3,102.29 +135.86 +4.58

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The Longest Yard
by Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)

Greetings, Fools.

Here, at the midpoint of the football season, I would like to speak to my pigskin pals, my gridiron gang, my Foolish footballaholics. Jerry is away this week and he would probably be bothered by my theme, given that his great metropolis of Los Angeles was denied an expansion team last month. Don't worry, I'll try to make this week's overview useful to those of you who don't get goosebumps every time the Monday Night Football anthem kicks in. If the first two words that pop into your head when I yell out "Hike!" are Alan Greenspan, bear with me.

It's been a strange year in the National Football League. It's going to get stranger. I'm already looking ahead, to the Pro Bowl in February, knowing full well that anyone who went into deep slumber two months ago is going to be rubbing his or her eyes big time. Can anyone fathom the NFC offense with Kurt Warner at the helm, handing off to Stephen Davis and Tim Biakabutuka? Will Kurt throw deep to Muhsin Muhammed and Albert Connell?

Who are these people? Where did they come from? The lesson here is that rarely do things turn out the way you expect. Last year's highest-rated quarterback, Randall Cunningham? Benched. Last year's MVP, Terrell Davis? Sidelined. It's a lot like Tuesday's Fribble, where Rivendellrecords steps into a casino and walks out an investor in The Vegas Investment Path. Toss your expectations and the eventual reality into a blender and hit "frappe." Serve chilled.

None of the four teams that made it to the conference championship games last season has a winning record right now. The two Super Bowl contenders have won only 25% of their games.

Things change. Even the Dow changes. Bill Mann (TMF Otter) took a closer look at last week's Dow Jones Industrial shake-up in Monday's Rule Maker column, Can't Go Against the Tide. Then again, Bill is also spearheading (uh oh, spearing infraction, 15 yards) the launch of The Motley Fool NOW Index. As the Dow takes a step toward relevancy, we will take up residency in the NOW. Come January, we will begin tracking an index of 50 stocks, which you -- yes, you -- can nominate this month.

Oh, January! By then, Week 17 of the football season will be winding down and the playoffs, where every team plays for keeps, will kick off -- literally. Hopefully by then you will also have checked into the 17 Year-End Financial Planning tips suggested by David Braze (TMF Pixy) and David Wolpe (TMF Dbunk).

By then a lot of us will be glued to our sets, numb after watching pigs fly. Or is that pigskins fly? Either way, that might be the perfect mindset in which to consider Mike Olivo's guest Drip Portfolio recap, The Beauty of Mindless Investing. Numb. Automated. Slip into slacker mode after an initial decision and still wind up richer.

The key is that you -- yes, you -- decide to be your own financial quarterback. You call the shots. Punt on second down. Go for it on fourth and long. You might get burned now and then, but at least it was you manning the flame. In Thursday's Fool on the Hill piece, The High Cost of "Helpers", Bill Barker (TMF Max) goes over the $130 billion that we spend every year in market costs. With the Wise doing the butter-churn dance in the end zone, day in and day out, you need to field your goals.

You need to line up under center, audible away on occasion, and bank on more than a Hail Mary to save you at the end. Digging into the array of content here in Fooldom is a great start to devising your own game plan. Come to think of it, I haven't seen anything from my buddy Paul Larson (TMF Parlay) this week. Oh, that's right, he got married this past weekend and is on his honeymoon. Congrats, chum! I guess a week without football is easy when you come from Chicago. Here's a virtual toast to Paul and Erika in the name of the buy-and-hold tradition of matrimony.

Enjoy the games, Fools. Just don't let the couch swallow you whole. At halftime, head outside and throw a football around. Huddle up. Go over strategy. Chart your next play. Hey, that sounds a lot like what our own Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena) found at AOL's Annual Meeting.

Then again, "go long" has been the way to play America Online (NYSE: AOL) this decade. That's what made it so hard for me to go against the stock, and Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff), in this week's AOL Duel. Remind me to suit up with the home team next time. Please.

Until next week,

Fool on!


Since he's not around, why not gang tackle the Cheeze-O-Rama message board?


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