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Stocks For Mom
by TMF Selena

Volt Information Sciences.
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1579
(212) 704-2400

Dear Mom,

Thanks for your e-mail! I'm glad to see that you're enjoying cyberspace. (But cut it out with those chain letters, will ya?)

I must admit that you surprised me by asking for a "hot stock tip" for Mother's Day! What's the matter -- you didn't like the socks I gave you last year? Or that can of foaming carpet cleaner I gave you the year before?

Well, as you should know, we Fools don't give out "hot tips." We'd rather teach you how to find your own potential investments and how to research them. Nevertheless, it is Mother's Day, and I do want to get you something, so how about this... I'll introduce you to an interesting stock, and then you can put your Foolish skills to work and see if you think it's a good buy.

VOLT INFORMATION SCIENCES (NYSE: VOL) is the stock I'd like you to meet. What does Volt do? Well, it's kind of hard to explain. A little of this, a lot of that. Here's what I learned from the handy Hoover's company report:

"Volt Information Sciences, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate in several industry segments including technical services and temporary personnel, electronic publication and typesetting systems, telephone directory services and publication, engineering and construction support services, and computer systems. Volt's largest segment is the technical services and temporary personnel segment which provides, from approximately 135 offices located throughout the U.S., technical and temporary personnel services to a wide range of customers. Success in this segment was attributed to the opening of sixteen new offices, winning new national contracts, and the beginning of a new service, Shaw & Shaw, Inc., that specializes in professional employer services."

HERE'S WHAT WE'RE HOPING FOR: Well, I threw a cursory glance over Volt's numbers, and I remain impressed with this company. Boasting a market capitalization of about $580 million, the company recently reported quarterly earnings of $0.49 per share, 113% more than it did in the year-ago quarter. Sales also grew, up 29% in the year. Not too shabby.

You know, as I glanced at Volt's historical stock prices, I realized that I should have given you some shares of Volt a long time ago. On Mother's Day in 1994, Volt traded around $8. A year later, in 1995, it had nearly doubled, at $15. Last Mother's Day it sat at -- yup, you guessed it -- $30. And today, of course, it rests around $60.

What do analysts think about Volt, you say? Well, interestingly enough, there don't seem to be any analysts following it. This is sometimes a good thing, when you can get in on a great stock before Wall Street notices it.

By the way -- just a few days ago, Volt traded as VOLT on the Nasdaq. But it has just moved on over to the New York Stock Exchange, and sports the nifty new moniker, VOL. So if you have trouble finding anything under VOL, try VOLT. The company has also announced a three-for-two stock split to be distributed on May 27, 1997 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 12, 1997.

HERE'S WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: There are always risks to consider and pitfalls to avoid when buying any stock, and Volt is no exception. For example, don't expect Volt to keep doubling. "Past performance is not an indication of future performance." (I know, you never bought it when I tried to use that line after bringing home a report card. But it's really true in the world of investments.) If Volt kept doubling, it would sit at $61,440 per share in a mere ten years -- 1,000-fold growth! I hope you see that this is unlikely.

Let me toss out another warning, too, before you get excited and think about buying into this company without doing your own homework first. Remember all the other stocks I've recommended to you? Remember BZRD -- the company selling throat lozenges made from ground up buzzard beaks? I think you lost 85% on that one, right? And that company that sold oven fresheners in aerosol cans which exploded when sprayed into ovens with pilot lights? Think about my record and proceed with caution, Mom!

And by the way -- Happy Mother's Day!



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