On the Eliot Spitzer scale of acceptable practices, the use of trader jargon here at The Motley Fool falls a tick above legalize and a scalp below pig Latin. So, you can imagine how at midday, after the markets failed to hold this morning's gains, we were high-fiving one another on our decision to "fade the open."

For those who care, one who fades the open essentially bets against a surprise move or gap -- selling when the market rockets out of the gate as it did this morning, or buying when it falls out of bed. Fading a big open like today works 100% of the time -- as, amazingly, does buying it. This assumes, of course, you can wait until midday to announce which one you've done.

Which reminds us: Even on monumental days like these, please, please, please never try to outsmart Mr. Market!

In today's Motley Fool Take:

One Red-Hot Fund

For just about 10 years now, we at the Fool have been pointing out how most managed stock mutual funds fail to do as well as a simple index fund. That's still true. But it's also true that here and there, a few managed stock funds do serve their investors pretty well. One problem, though, is that a fund that's well above average one year might perform miserably for the next five.

Bill Miller to the rescue! Miller, who has long been at the helm of the Legg Mason Value Trust fund (ticker: LMVTX), has a winning streak going that's on the verge of its 13th year. In each of the past 12 years, Miller's fund (co-managed now with Nancy Dennin), has outperformed its benchmark, the S&P 500 index -- although, in the past few years it has done so by losing less than the index. As of last week, the fund was up some 33% for the year, compared to 23% for the index -- terrific numbers for both.

Helping Miller produce his gains were investments in Tyco(NYSE: TYC), which rose around 20% in the fourth quarter, and Nextel(Nasdaq: NXTL), which has doubled over the past year. Miller and Dennin like to find companies they think have been pushed to unreasonable lows -- and point to Tyco as an example. While others feared it might go out of business, they saw value in its assets. Other solid contributors have been Amazon.com(Nasdaq: AMZN), Capital One Financial(NYSE: COF), and power producer AES Corp.(NYSE: AES).

So what stocks is Miller licking his chops at these days? In a recent issue of Fortune magazine, he recommended InterActiveCorp(Nasdaq: IACI), formerly known as USA Interactive, which is the parent company of Hotels.com, Lending Tree, Ticketmaster, Match.com, and the Home Shopping Network, among other properties. Miller called the company "the Berkshire Hathaway(NYSE: BRK.A) for the new economy."

Quote of Note

"I bring to my life a certain amount of mess." -- Francis Ford Coppola

McDonald's Cuts Back

Some fast-food chains experiment with menu items. McDonald's(NYSE: MCD) experiments with chains. A few of the massive company's experiments will be coming to a close with today's news that it will, among other things, concentrate on building out Chipotle and Boston Market in the U.S., sell Donato's Pizza back to its founder, and stop developing non-McDonald's brands outside the U.S.

The news didn't have much impact on its stock in morning trading -- probably a sensible reaction. Moves like these are exactly what a company like McDonald's should be doing: Experimenting with various ways to get some incremental growth with new concepts, then dropping them if they don't deliver. (The pizza business certainly has been tough enough lately without McDonald's trying to put a spin on it.) Put another way, this should be business as usual.

More than anything, this should provide more fuel for those who are behind McDonald's CEO Jim Cantalupo. (One such fan is Fool contributor Whitney Tilson, who said so in his subtly titled CEO of the Year column back in October.) Cantalupo took over a company many said had grown stale both domestically and overseas, but his focus on doing "fewer things better" has quickly taken root and shown results.

McDonald's will pay for its decisions: It expects fourth-quarter charges of between $0.23 and $0.28 per share as a result of these (and select other) moves.

The short-term price, however, is well worth it for investors who have accepted the notion that McDonald's, while perhaps still full of ideas, is now picking its battles more carefully. The mantra: Manage costs, improve store-level performance and operations in key markets, pay that dividend, and keep the cash flow coming. Incremental growth from chains such as Boston Market and Chipotle should be a bonus.

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Millennium Celebration

There was many a naysayer when the FDA approved cash-rich Millennium Pharmaceuticals'(Nasdaq: MLNM) Velcade in May. The rap was that approval was for "the treatment of multiple myeloma patients who have received at least two prior therapies and have demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy." "Limited market," they cried. Last quarter, sales were $23 million.

Today, Millennium and partner Johnson & Johnson(NYSE: JNJ)announced that a trial was terminated early because Velcade showed significant improvement compared to patients receiving high-dose dexamethasone. Trial patients can now start purchasing Velcade.

Millennium took just four and a half years to push Velcade from first human dose to FDA approval. This latest trial's results, announced today, were not expected until 2005. On-going trials should continue to expand the growing Velcade franchise, as well as other promising drugs in the pipeline. Millennium is picking up steam.

Integrilin, a product co-promoted with Schering-Plough(NYSE: SGP) is already on the market. Last quarter, it produced $47.9 million in revenue for Millennium.

As for the stock, it peaked during the genomics boom at $122.19 in July 2000. At noon today, it trades at $17.40, up 6%. Although Millennium clearly deflated along with its peers, the company continues to execute and is growing revenues.

On a pro forma basis, Millennium lost $30 million last quarter -- and net losses are expected to continue as the company spends heavily to bring new classes of drugs to market. But the company also has $919 million in cash and cash equivalents -- and total debt of $212 million.

That is the kind of financial muscle most biotechnology companies only dream about. If things do get tight, a pair of drug-development partners, Xoma(Nasdaq: XOMA) and Bayer(NYSE: BAY) should further ease the financial burden of getting new drugs to market.

Discussion Board of the Day: Millennium

Is Velcade a true blockbuster, and will it help drive Millennium back to the stratosphere? Or maybe just fuel a few years' abnormal returns. Or maybe not. Talk it over on the Millennium discussion board.

More Fool News

For a list of all our stories from today, see Today's Headlines.

And Finally...

Today on Fool.com, Mathew Emmert challenges Mr. Buffett with Warren, Show Me the Money, and LouAnn Lofton explains why teen retailer PacSun Shines.

Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, W.D. Crotty, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Jeff Hwang, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Alyce Lomax, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Dave Marino-Nachison, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim