It's hard to imagine, but the year-end holiday season is quickly approaching, with the highly anticipated calendar rollover into Y2K now less than three weeks away. Sure, you can see the lights, and the malls are stuffed, but it's hard to tear your head away from the stock market's Yule season action.

You read more and more about fundamentals -- or the lack thereof. You hear more chatter about parallels to the Japanese market of the late 1980s. And there's a greater sense of dislocation than in the past. Is it an investment revolution, or just a run gone too far? The doubters have been with us for some time now, but their numbers have grown markedly in the past few weeks.

No question, it's an almost mystical time in the market. Every morsel of information matters more than ever before. We're very intent on bringing this seeming chaos into sharper focus. In the coming days we'll continue to dig into the so-called

Red Hot stocks and study the action in the e-commerce stocks, all of which are betting on a whopping online Christmas. On top of that, we'll keep bringing you every twist and turn in the stock markets. If you haven't already, check out the

Briefing Room -- it's an excellent way to find out what's happening in the market, not just at the macro level, but also down to the granular nitty-gritty of individual company action.


message boards continue to hop, and the intelligent discourse delivered by our readers continues to be impressive. Not a lot of dolts in the chattering classes of

, which is a welcome change compared with what goes on in other places. Along with the stock-specific conversations, we're also bringing people together to talk about specific topics.

To that end, we're about to launch a new feature on our message boards: a board about women and investing. Do women face their own particular set of investing issues? Do they approach the market with a different style than men? Maybe, maybe not. Rather than try to set forth a doctrine on this topic, we want your views. Please look for our message board later this week and join the discussion.

Finally, if you've got any problems, feel free to contact Or, if you think there's something I ought to hear about, feel free to email me at We'll keep hustling for you!

L'Etoile du Nord

Dave Kansas