Dec 3, 1999 at 12:00AM
Right now, this grizzly bear that was supposed to rear its ugly head is nowhere to be found. Predictions of Y2K Armageddon have quieted down, consumer confidence is running high, and NBC's Y2K: The Movie was laughed at more than it was taken seriously. Importantly for us Fools, the markets have remained strong. Those that sold a chunk of their stocks a few months ago in the hopes of buying them backing cheaper this month or next are facing, for the most part, a predicament. The lesson here is that trying to time the market is a fruitless exercise.
Of course, there's still four weeks until the end of the year, which is plenty of time for the market to meltdown. And who knows, perhaps there will be a disruption or two thanks to the Y2K bug, and these disruptions may cause the markets to take a dive come January. Or, maybe the new year will be welcomed without incident and January 3rd will be the bull market's brightest day. Who really knows what will happen? Certainly not me, and I'm not even going to venture a guess. All I can tell you is that we're being Foolish, staying the course, and remaining essentially fully invested in the stock market.
About the only real effect I'm seeing from Y2K this year is in my skiing. For years now, a group of friends and I have taken a week-long ski vacation in Steamboat, Colorado sometime right before Christmas. (Steamboat is owned by American Skiing (Nasdaq: SKI). Great place to ski, terrible stock to own, in my opinion.)
Getting back to the story, this year's trip was nipped in the bud because a majority of the people normally on the trip have vacation moratoriums for the next two months. Three of my ski buddies, who recently became my three newly minted brothers-in-law, all work in computer networking. They were all told many moons ago that there will be absolutely no days off for anyone between roughly Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Alas, that means this year's holiday ski trip will have to be a spring-fling.
Over Thanksgiving I also asked my one of my new bro's what he would be doing the evening of December 31. He said something along the lines of, "Eating pizza, playing Nintendo, and baby-sitting a room full of brand new Sun (Nasdaq: SUNW) servers. Getting paid almost a thousand bucks an hour to do it, too. It'll be the best New Year's ever!" Not bad work for a 22 year-old, no? For him, Y2K has been a gold mine.
Let's drop the Y2K talk and look at how the Rule Breaker did today. Unfortunately, the portfolio did not join the ranks of those making new highs and actually dropped a bit. (For the all the portfolio's numbers, scroll to the bottom of the page.) This was largely thanks to slight dips in the portfolio's two largest holdings -- America Online (NYSE: AOL) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN). Both stocks remain well within striking distance of their annual highs.
Both companies were also in the news over the past two days. AOL yesterday announced a $100 million deal with TMP Worldwide (Nasdaq: TMPW), the operator of the Monster.com job site. This is yet another e-commerce feather in AOL's cap, and another mile-marker for us as investors to show that AOL is growing as expected.
Amazon and our Rule Breaker eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) also made some news worth mentioning this week. According to tracking firm Media Metrix (Nasdaq: MMXI), eBay was the most-visited e-commerce website for the week of November 28. eBay attracted a whopping 1 million daily visitors last week, which is a pretty amazing figure if you sit back and think about it.
Amazon also had a darn good showing with about 800,000 daily visitors. Illustrating just how dominate these two Rule Breakers really are, the next busiest website, Toys 'R' Us (NYSE: TOY), only had about 300,000 daily visitors. It's also worth noting that many of the Internet toy stores were riddled with performance problems thanks to the surge in online usage. (Sounds a little like real-world toy stores, doesn't it?) On the other hand, Amazon and eBay's sites remained up, running, and smooth as butter. Yup, there's no doubt in my mind these two companies are Rule Breakers for the long haul.
One last thing, make sure to check out our annual publication about our best investment ideas for the year ahead -- Industry Focus. It should come as little surprise that there are a few Rule Breaking companies highlighted in there.
Have a great weekend, Fools.
- Dec 3, 1999 at 12:00AM