FOOLISH FOUR PORTFOLIO

Wednesday, December 24, 1997


The Daily Dow
by Robert Sheard

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. (Dec. 24, 1997) -- Any way you look at it, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks have had a good year as a group. Sure, pockets of stocks within the index have lagged, but the group itself has steam-rolled to a strong 1997.

If we rank the current thirty stocks (remember, four stocks were changed in March this year) by their year-to-date returns, we find these results:

The best ten returned an average of 52%. The second ten averaged 27%. The worst ten averaged 3%. All thirty averaged 28%, and the index itself is ahead by 24% for the year. (All returns are through December 17.)

In other words, we have a pretty clear bell curve with a few super-stars, a few big losers, and a general bunching in the middle. If you had limited yourself to these thirty stocks for 1997, you'd have had a pretty good chance of a successful year. The trick, of course, is in choosing the right ones from among the thirty. Fortunately, the Dow Dividend Approach is a pretty consistent method of doing just that.

For a complete look at the returns for each stock, here's the list, sorted by 1997 year-to-date returns:

 87%  Travelers Group (NYSE: TRV)
 77%  Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT)
 59%  Amer. Express (NYSE: AXP)
 54%  Gen'l Electric (NYSE: GE)
 53%  Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG)
 44%  AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T)
 40%  Disney (Walt) (NYSE: DIS)
 37%  Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK)
 37%  Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT)
 36%  Int'l Business Mach. (NYSE: IBM)
 35%  Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
 32%  Du Pont (NYSE: DD)
 32%  Exxon Corp. (NYSE: XON)
 29%  Morgan (J.P.) & Co (NYSE: JPM)
 29%  Goodyear Tire (NYSE: GT)
 27%  Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP)
 26%  Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)
 23%  Philip Morris (NYSE: MO)
 20%  Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CHV)
 19%  Gen'l Motors (NYSE: GM)
 14%  Aluminum Co. of Amer. (NYSE: AA)
 12%  Int'l Paper (NYSE: IP)
 12%  United Technologies (NYSE: UTX)
 11%  AlliedSignal Inc. (NYSE: ALD)
 11%  Union Carbide (NYSE: UK)
  5%  Minnesota Mining (NYSE: MMM)
  1%  McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD)
 -2%  Sears  Roebuck (NYSE: S)
 -4%  Boeing (NYSE: BA)
-28%  Eastman Kodak (NYSE: EK)

The best thing about these stocks is their long-term consistency. Year after year, those patient and disciplined investors who stick to the Dow thirty end up looking pretty bright compared to the actively managed funds on Wall Street that lose to the market indices time and time again. That's perhaps the best holiday gift we can give you today. Fool on!


TODAY'S NUMBERS
Stock  Change   Last
--------------------
T    +   1/2   62.13
GM   -   7/16  58.94
CHV  +  11/16  75.38
MMM  +   3/4   84.25
           
                  Day   Month    Year
       FOOL-4   +0.56%   1.52%  28.00%
        DJIA     -0.41%  -2.08%  18.79%
        S&P 500  -0.68%  -2.38%  25.91%
        NASDAQ   -0.69%  -6.31%  16.15%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change

   1/2/97  479 AT&T          41.75     62.13    48.80%
   1/2/97  153 Chevron       65.00     75.38    15.96%
   1/2/97  179 Gen. Motor    55.75     58.94     5.72%
   1/2/97  120 3M            83.00     84.25     1.51%


    Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change

   1/2/97  479 AT&T       19998.25  29757.88  $9759.63
   1/2/97  153 Chevron     9945.00  11532.38  $1587.38
   1/2/97  179 Gen. Motor  9979.25  10549.81   $570.56
   1/2/97  120 3M          9960.00  10110.00   $150.00


                             CASH   $2051.96
                            TOTAL  $64002.02