ALEXANDRIA, VA (March 2, 1998) -- March Hare Monday it wasn't, as the third month started today more like a tortoise for The Fool Portfolio. Cyberspace's longest-running and best-performing real-money portfolio gave away 0.77% of its value on a day that saw the Nasdaq shed 0.67% and the stodgier S&P 500 barely flinch, down 0.16%.
No Wonderland 1998, so far. Not that we're complaining about making money.
Three-dollar-plus losses from newsless America Online and newsless KLA-Tencor took away a fine contrary performance by some of the Fool Port's new Dow dogs. Both Dupont and International Paper recorded dollar-plus gains in today's mixed market, which showed positive gains throughout the session before turning down at the close. It was almost refreshing seeing the market give away some recent gains, as the positive numbers tossed up in January and February had been almost constantly unrelenting.
3Dfx (Nasdaq: TDFX), on a below-average volume day, also suffered, dropping $1 5/16 mostly in the last hour. The stock sits at a bid of $22 1/16, off 14% from our January purchase. Leave it to the Fools to somehow find a way to lose money while holding a company whose earnings estimates were increased in excess of 80% during the two months we've held the stock. Ah, but with its new Voodoo 2 chipset hitting the stores in the form of Creative Labs's (Nasdaq: CREAF) newest 3D cards, with Diamond out shortly and a spate of other customers working feverishly for a March debut, we look forward to numbers significantly better than December's all-time record quarter. While the stock may have gotten ahead of itself following our purchase (we wrote the report at $20 13/16 but had to pay $25 5/8), time is the investor's best friend when you choose good companies.
Jury's out on 3Dfx and any small-cap like it, of course, but we're expecting a favorable verdict.
Speaking of small-caps, I note humorously today that the SMALLEST stock in our Foolish Stables is in fact run by the BIGGEST media figure. That's right, ladies, gents, and Fools everywhere, Trump Hotel & Casino Resorts (NYSE: DJT) is currently capitalized at all of $230 million. The Donald's allegiance has been, and will always be, to his creditors first, rather than his investors, a lesson that the equity markets have proven rather painfully in the brief existence of DJT on the NYSE. I'm thinking "The Donald" nickname is getting a little tired and hackneyed anyway, by now, so perhaps we need to change his reference name for this and future reports. Lemme know what you think: should we go with "Small-Cap" or "Tiny"?
(OK, OK, YES, we're underwater on this investment, but "I had rather have a Fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad," as Rosalind said in As You Like It.)
Don lost a fraction today.
Iomega (NYSE: IOM) swam against the market's tide, gaining $1/8. At 5:32 AM EST this morning, the company put out a press release announcing "Zip Built-In" is being adapted by the Optiplex line of Dell business computers. 5:32 AM, ladies and gents!
In that release I was reminded once again of the primary approach to marketing this company should be taking. It was just this line: "With storage capacity equal to 70 floppy disks and the ability to run 20 times faster, genuine Zip disks offer an ideal solution for mobile users."
Note to Iomega's advertising team: I like your present TV ads OK, but how about something a bit more straightforward, shall we? One of our Fool readers put it pretty well a few months ago, and here's my own embellished version:
Just show a split-screen, a man and a woman sitting at their respective desks with the same task to complete: the backup of a 100-megabyte corporate file. The dumpy-looking guy on the left is sitting there with 70 3.5" disks piled precariously high on his desk; other screen shows, of course, the smiling, far-better-looking woman with the same 100 megs to copy sitting there fingering a single Zip disk. Then put a clock on both of them as they accomplish their tasks in fast-forward turbo speed. Ready, Set, Go! She accomplishes her goal quickly and painlessly, while reading a book (may I suggest You Have More Than You Think?). The ad of course ends before he accomplishes his task, as you watch the unruly pile of 70 things teeter and then fall completely over on top of the guy, causing him to slip off his stool. Close his window, and then just zoom that camera in on that little Zip disk our heroine extracts (self-satisfiedly) from the Zip Built-In (tm) drive. Hit the logo BIG.
Bingo. 15 second spot -- now you can run twice as many of 'em.
C'mon, IOM, we know you're reading these recaps. Whaddaya say? No attribution necessary, guys.
Now back to Alice's Tea Party, to close. "Hares are unusually shy and wild during March," says Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia (great book!), which also informs me that March is their rutting season. This is why we say "mad as a March hare," and why Carroll's March Hare was himself a mad fellow at a mad tea party. Indeed, he reaches over at one point and inserts butter into the Mad Hatter's watch, for which he is scolded. His justification?
"It was the best butter!"
-- Mad Gardner, March 2, 1998
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Day Month Year History FOOL -0.77% -0.77% 5.13% 252.81% S&P: -0.16% -0.16% 7.96% 128.56% NASDAQ: -0.67% -0.67% 11.99% 144.20% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 7.27 117.63 1517.31% 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 1.28 9.25 622.43% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 107.63 126.03% 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 38.22 76.25 99.49% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 60.75 53.50% 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 95.91 104.91 9.38% 2/20/98 215 DuPont 59.83 62.56 4.56% 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 47.69 48.13 0.91% 2/20/98 200 Exxon 64.09 63.63 -0.73% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 43.00 -3.83% 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 25.67 22.06 -14.04% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 23.06 -16.77% 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* 8.47 10.13 -19.56% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 35.63 -23.98% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 2581.87 41756.88 $39175.01 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 2509.60 18130.00 $15620.40 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 11084.24 22112.50 $11028.26 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 7897.50 $2752.39 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 4520.25 $2520.37 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 11029.25 12064.22 $1034.97 2/20/98 215 DuPont 12864.25 13450.94 $586.69 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 12876.75 12993.75 $117.00 2/20/98 200 Exxon 12818.00 12725.00 -$93.00 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 5590.00 -$222.49 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 7495.31 -$1510.31 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 10908.63 9376.56 -$1532.06 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -11846.25 -$1937.75 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11715.99 8906.25 -$2809.74 CASH $11233.54 TOTAL $176406.45