ALEXANDRIA, VA (Dec. 10, 1997) -- As it has been doing not infrequently, as of late, the Fool Portfolio beat the Nasdaq and lost to the S&P 500 Wednesday. I doubt any of us felt particularly good about it, since the swimming was all downstream from the crack of the market's opening bell. (Er... do bells crack?) (Other than the Liberty Bell?) The Nasdaq surrendered 1.48%, the Fool 1.22%, and the 500 largest companies on the U.S. markets as measured by Standard & Poor's waved a white flag with "-0.61%" printed on it.
Whenever things don't go one's way, the best and most immediate reaction is of course to blame the circumstances on someone -- ANYONE -- else. (Cf. 3Com, later in this report.) So we'd like to get pretty angry in this particular sentence at Amazon.com, America Online, Iomega, Lucent Technologies, and 3Com, all of which lost a dollar or more (there, that felt better). It was either their fault, or the fault of the Wall Street specialists and Nasdaq market makers who, amid barking and shouting, devalued the worth of these noble American enterprises hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of hours.
All in a day's work for these guys, eh? They make money no matter what happens.
Yes, the market got pretty badly whacked overall today. Take a look at the top 50 securities by volume (bookmark that link for a nice market overview at any hour of the day), and you see that only a handful of stocks rose. (Wow, look at Oracle trading another 66 million shares!) One group was the autos, as Ford rose 3%, Chrysler rose 1%, and our own General Motors (NYSE:GM) gained $1 1/16 to $64 3/8. Yes, it was nice to have one stock up today.
Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (NYSE:DJT) sunk $7/16 today to $7 1/8, a loss of almost 6%. That's another all-time low. We are now closer than ever to our standard 20% target gain on this short sale. But you know what? We don't know whether we should cash out of the thing or not -- it's the "Dump Trump? We're Stumped!" campaign. I mean, all we've seen is bad news on this company for the 6 months since we've held it. Heck, even good news for DJT has been ostensibly bad, as when Detroit turned down Donald for a new casino; that may have looked bad, but we think Trump shareholders should actually have been cheering, as it prevented El Donaldo from borrowing even MORE money to finance the thing. Anyway, if you have strong feelings about whether we should attempt to close this out at our original target just below $7, or aim for something closer to $4 (or whatever), I await your thoughts. E-mail me at DavidG@fool.com.
MUST WATCH TV: By the by, Donald is going to be on Conan O'Brien tonight; maybe we should make our investment decision based on his performance?
Hey! My kid cousin Gene Gardner won the Wall Street Journal's latest darts contest. (OK, he's only a year younger -- gosh, that makes him 30 these days!) He's right there on page C1 of the thing, if you want to see his next stock pick. Perhaps we shoulda bought his last one. (OK, OK, we should certainly have bought his last one.) Go Team Gardner.
3Com (Nasdaq:COMS) was the target of one of those silly class-action suits today. The charge is "Material Misstatements, False Financial Statements, and Insider Trading." More likely is that the stock got cut in half and some lawyers who routinely and systematically target such situations decided that a frivolous suit was in order. (I write this against my own interest, as a shareholder -- you know, one who was "wronged.") A great historic Fribble duo on this subject was penned by Eric Turkewitz, who once joined such a suit against Crazy Eddie, and wrote about it for the benefit of the Foolish community. Learn Eric's lessons by clicking this link.
As we all move toward the close of another superb year, in and among the host of shopping visits, soirees, and false Santa Clauses (the real one simply doesn't leave the North Pole until late December 24th), many of us also find some time for charitable efforts. As many of you know -- and I thank each of you for your outstanding participation so far -- we're raising money for self-sustaining, society-enriching community kitchens through our Fool Charity Fund. That's a partnership with Share Our Strength, the non-profit formed by former Capitol Hill noteworthy Billy Shore. If you're not yet familiar with this effort, please take a few minutes and inform yourself by clicking into our area for the Fool Charity Fund. (There are 21 days left to give.)
But whether or not you choose to contribute to us or anyone else, this year or any other, I do want to make a crucial and Foolish point to you tonight, to close the recap. It is, namely, that if (a) you want to give anyone money, ever, and (b) you own some stock that has appreciated in value, you should almost always give away stock, not money.
This is because when you give away stock that you have a profit on, neither you nor the charity has to pay any capital gains on the stock. That means you give more, and your charity gets more.
I wrote this tonight because only a tiny percentage of the wonderful gifts we've received so far for our Fool Charity Fund have been sent in stock. My own guess is that this demonstrates a failure of ours to educate you. So I'm here to make sure you, dear reader, understand that this is the best way for you to give. In fact, please take the time to read this excellent Fribble penned by Mike Buckley, explaining the subject. It's one of those Fribbles that will always stay with you -- one of those life lessons that it's good to learn as early on as possible.
I myself recently gave, just by tapping into the Contribute Stock page here in Fooldom, and following the directions. Takes five minutes. You call the 800 number and reach Jennifer at PaineWebber, and she gives you the transfer and account numbers for the Share Our Strength account. Then you just call your own broker, ask that x number of shares of your stock be transferred to that account, and give the broker the SOS numbers. Your role in this play is then over. All stock gifts to non-profits like SOS are, of course, 100% tax-deductible.
If you have any questions about this, please do e-mail us and, as we do with ANY question in Fooldom, we'll be happy to get right back to you. (Do make sure you read Mike Buckley's Fribble first, though.)
To close, congratulations to long-time fellow Fool Paul Harris, the popular D.C. metro area disc jockey, whose own efforts at putting together a Comedy Concert for Children's Hospital raised $50,000 last year, and in the one just completed two nights ago, $100,000 (!) this year. That is astounding, for one night. The Fool was proud to be a minor sponsor of Harris's superb event, but really, it was all Paul (and some great comedic talent like Wendy Liebman, Will Durst, Bob Somerby, and the Reduced Shakespeare Company). Fool on. -- David Gardner, December 10, 1997
Today's FoolWatch: all the latest in Fooldom.
Day Month Year History FOOL -1.22% 1.41% 25.82% 235.80% S&P: -0.61% 1.51% 30.92% 111.56% NASDAQ: -1.48% -0.25% 23.67% 121.70% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 7.27 85.00 1068.73% 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2.52 27.94 1008.63% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 78.19 64.20% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 78.25 55.61% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 57.81 46.07% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 93.88 42.93% 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 38.22 54.13 41.61% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 51.97 64.38 23.86% 4/30/97 -1170 *Trump* 8.47 7.13 15.87% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 39.25 -12.21% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 23.31 -15.87% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 35.75 -23.71% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 2581.87 30175.00 $27593.13 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2509.60 27378.75 $24869.15 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 11084.24 15696.25 $4612.01 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 9781.25 $3495.64 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 14552.49 18025.00 $3472.51 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 10326.25 $3101.81 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 7515.63 $2370.52 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -8336.25 $1572.25 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 3283.88 $1284.00 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 5102.50 -$709.99 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 7576.56 -$1429.06 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11714.99 8937.50 -$2777.49 CASH $32438.81 TOTAL $167901.12