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October 22, 1999

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Subject:  The Health of the TSE 35 Boards
Author:  NooNoo

The Patients

I have chosen the Toronto Stock Exchange 35 (TSE 35) index as a base to assess the general health of Canadian stock boards, because they represent the 35 largest companies in Canada, most have listings on American exchanges and they are widely held by Canadians. Changes are good that you have an interest in all of these companies if you hold an index mutual fund, are a member of a company pension fund or have whole life insurance.

Let us start by introducing the patients. Figure 1 lists the Companies that make up the TSE 35 index along with its Toronto Stock Exchange ticker and the Motley Fool ticker.

Figure 1

Toronto Stock Exchange
TSE 35 Companies
18 October 1999

Company                               TSE    Fool
----------------------------------   -----   ----
Abitibi-Consolidated                 A       A
Barrick Gold                         ABX     ABX
Alcan Aluminium                      AL      AL
Bombardier Inc.                      BBD.D   -
BCE Inc.                             BCE     BCE
Bank of Montreal                     BMO     BMO
Bank of Nova Scotia                  BNS     -
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce   CM      BCM
Canadian National Railway            CNR     CNI
Canadian Pacific                     CP      CP
Canadian Tire Corporation            CTR.A   -
Canadian Occidental Petroleum        CXY     CXY
Dofasco Inc.                         DFS     -
Imasco Ltd.                          IMS     -
Laidlaw Inc                          LDM     LDW
MacMillan Bloedel                    MB      MMBLF
Moore Corporation                    MCL     -
Magna International                  MG.A    MGA
Inco Ltd.                            N       N
National Bank of Canada              NA      -
Nova Chemicals Corp                  NCX     -
Noranda Inc.                         NOR     -
Nortel Networks                      NT      NT
Petro-Canada                         PCA     PCZ
Placer Dome                          PDG     PDG
Renaissance Energy                   RSE     -
Royal Bank of Canada                 RY      RY
Suncor Energy                        SU      SU
Trans Alta Corp.                     TA      -
Toronto Dominion Bank                TD      TD
Teck Corp.                           TEK.B   -
Talisman Energy                      TLM     TLM
Thomson Corporation                  TOC     -
TransCanada Pipelines                TRP     TRP
Seagram                              VO      VO
If you know of one of the patients (TSE 35 companies) finding a bed (board), please let me know of the room number (Motley Fool Ticker).

The Examination

Now let us look at the activity of these boards over the last three months to see how active they have been. Figure 2 shows the number of posts as of 19 July 1999 as compared to 18 October 1999.

Figure 2

The Motley Fool
TSE 35 Boards
19 July 1999 to 18 October 1999

       Posts to  Posts to   New    Monthly
 TSE   99-07-19  99-10-18  Posts   Average
-----  --------  --------  -----   -------
A           2         2       0        0
ABX        96       153      57       19
AL          6         8       2       <1
BBD.D       -         -       -        -
BCE         7        14       7        2
BMO         2         2       0        0
BNS         -         -       -        -
CM         13        13       0        0
CNR         9        12       3        1
CP          2         7       5        2
CTR.A       -         -       -        1
CXY         0         0       0        0
DFS         -         -       -        -
IMS         -         -       -        -
LDM         7        35      28        9
MB          1         1       0        0
MCL         -         -       -        -
MG.A       10        16       6        2
N          41        45       4        1
NA          -         -       -        -
NCX         -         -       -        -
NOR         -         -       -        -
NT        323       511     188       62
PCA         5         5       0        0
PDG        26        29       3        1
RSE         -         -       -        -
RY          4         5       1       <1
SU          7         7       0        0
TA          -         -       -        -
TD        107       117      10        3
TEK.B       -         -       -        -
TLM         1         3       2       <1
TOC         -         -       -        -
TRP         6        13       7        2
VO         15        25      10        3
       --------  --------  -----   -------
Total     690     1,023     333      111
       ========  ========  =====   =======
The Diagnoses

I find that from 15 to 150 posts a month is a good activity level for a message board. At this rate there is something interesting every week and there is not too much information that results in skipping over posts. Remember you can't spend all your time reading, you got to write as well.

As Figure 3 shows only two of the TSE 35 boards can be considered healthy with over half either on life support or have not been admitted to the Foolish Hospital.

Figure 3

The Motley Fool
TSE 35 Boards
19 July 1999 to 18 October 1999

Health Level   Monthly Post Range   Number
------------   ------------------   ------
Hyper-Active     More than 150         0
Healthy            15 to 150           2
Critical           >0 to 14           14
Life Support           0               7
Not Admitted       No Board           12

If you own stock in any one of the TSE 35 ailing companies and would like to nurse it back to health, I would recommend one or more of the following treatments.

  1. Get admitting privileges. If you have not done so register with the Motley Fool so that you can post your messages to the boards.

  2. Admit your patient. If yours is one of the companies without a board the first thing that must be done is to get one.

  3. Put it on your rounds. If you have not done so click on the little heart to put you company's board on your favourite board list so you can check on it as soon as you login.

  4. Blood Transfusions. Post links back to your company's board every chance you get, but be careful to type match or you could lose your licence to practice because of Spaming. As a general rule if someone talks about your company in there post, it is aright to reply with a link to your company's board. Use the Motley Fools search engine to find posts on other boards that talk about your company.

    Good results can be attained if your give a brief summary of the post you are referring to when you provide the link and this post should be relative to the situation being discussed. If you have to write the post yourself then reply.

  5. Study the X-rays. Take advantage of news reports to write a post. When you see something in the Global and Mail, the National Post, or another newspaper, write a summary of it and tell where you saw it and if possible provide a web link to it. Don't forget to include your take on the article. Did you find the article negative, positive? Where you expecting it? What do you think the company should do? What will they most likely do?

  6. Get the lab reports. Review the annual and quarterly reports for interesting topics for discussion.

  7. Call for a second opinion. A question always begs an answer and people will answer it even if they don't know the answer. Others will see it as a challenge and head straight to the annual report to try and find the answer.
Above all, don't give up on your patient, unless it gets taken over or delisted, you maybe their only hope.

Well that's my Medical Report. Anybody care to give their diagnoses?