Special
Stocks Fools Are Thankful For

(Nov. 24, 1999) -- You know that stock sitting in your portfolio that helps you sleep at night? You may not think about it much, but you feel good just knowing it's there. And you know it's going to be there for a very long time. We asked Fool employees to tell us about that one stock and here's what they said:

I'd like to thank the heavens on high for Nokia
(NYSE: NOK). This company is, as an intrepid Wired journalist called it, the "arms-dealer" of the cellular phone and equipment suppliers. Nokia provides equipment that handles every cellular protocol: digital or analog, AMPS, GSMm, or CDMA. In the end, Nokia doesn't even really care which one turns out to be dominant -- they will be supplying the phones regardless. As the third world -- and the large sections of its population with no prior access to telephones -- makes the jump directly into cellular, Nokia stands to become one of the largest and most important companies on the planet. I'm holding shares of Nokia, and it would be the last company I'd elect to sell. Why would one let go of the company that is most responsible for changing how communications and commerce are done, the company allowing millions of people to switch from an isolated existence into being connected with the world? I certainly have no answer to that question. -- Bill Mann (Editorial)

I'm thankful for a company that has made it much easier for me to communicate with my far flung family, wherever I happen to be. I'm also thankful because this company has made it much easier to work, again wherever I may be. Overall, the company I'm most thankful for has improved my way of living and at the same time indirectly resulted in many new friendships and opportunities over the past five years. Of course, I'm not alone. The company that I'm grateful for has created a valuable service for literally 20 million other customers. And by focusing on creating value for its customers, America Online (NYSE: AOL) has created enormous value for its shareholders. Finally, AOL may keep Microsoft from ruling too much of the online world. That's one more small thing to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving! -- Jeff Fischer (Editorial)

One stock I'm thankful for and one that I am extremely comfortable with the thought of holding for the foreseeable future is that of Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN). The company is among the larger theme park operators in the country and owns what I consider to be one of the best parks in the nation -- Cedar Point. What started as a beach and small bath house on the Lake Erie shore back in 1870 has evolved into a true "Roller Coaster Capital." When the 2000 season opens, Cedar Point will have no fewer than 14 roller coasters (the most in the world) and 68 total rides. One of those, the Millennium Force, will be the tallest on the planet, topping out at 310 feet. I love the flagship park and the financials are pretty sweet, too. The company has been able to post a profit in every single year over the past ten (and beyond), and the distributions to shareholders have also increased every year this decade. The stock is now trading at less than 12x trailing earnings and has over a 7% dividend yield. I'm not only planning on holding what I already own for years to come, I'm considering buying even more in the near future. -- Paul Larson (Editorial)

At this point in its business cycle, it may seem like a curious statement, but I'm thankful to be holding Disney (NYSE: DIS) in my portfolio. The Walt Disney company is an entertainment leader, a solid company with a globally strong brand, and a company I'm convinced will only get stronger in the future. I've had Disney for almost ten years, and I'd been following the company for even longer. So I've been able to watch the way it follows a cycle of strategic investments followed by a period of reliable growth. I know the growth is coming, and I'm happy to hang on until it does. -- Jen Silber (Editorial)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I get together with about 40 or so relatives (and I actually like my family) and spend the day eating, talking, laughing, etc. And this year when my head hits the pillow at the end of the day, I know a small reason I'll sleep well (besides the heavy meal) is the fact that Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) sits in my portfolio. Cisco is the stock that keeps the portfolio afloat when some of my picks try to drown it. It also pushes the portfolio ahead when some stocks lie dormant, sleeping comfortably on a flat-line. In short, CSCO is the number one reason I don't worry about my port's performance over the next 20 years. -- Chris Hill (Public Relations)

My grandmother, a 90-year old gem of a woman who has "lived through it all," had the insight and fortitude to purchase shares of Merck (NYSE: MRK) back in the early '70s. Having easily outpaced the Dow since the mid '80s, Merck has produced enormous shareholder value for my grandmother. Now, she gifts that stock to her two children and five grandchildren on a yearly basis. She is a proud lady who has a hard time with the money her stocks have produced and, to a certain extent, with gifting it to her heirs. She came from a hardworking family from Cincinnati (Cincinada to her) and strongly believes in making your own way. She has realized, though, that her gifts to her heirs will help them buy their first homes, start families, and send their kids -- her great grandchildren -- to college, and ultimately help them pass on wealth to her heirs' heirs. I, along with the rest of my cousins and our parents, will forever be grateful to Grandma and will make certain that her generosity and love will live on for generations. So thanks, Grandma. -- Greg Martz (Foollabs)

My stock to be thankful for is Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). I know that many people are saying it's a turkey as of late, with earnings problems, overvaluations, and "threats" from generic colas. However, this isn't new to this company. It's been in existence a long time. I believe the one inaccuracy of Star Trek was that the Enterprise had no Coke machines. What I like the most about this company is its Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP). I can send them a check for $10 any time I feel the urge. So, this Thanksgiving I'll have a Coke and a smile! -- George Runkle (Community)

"You've Got Comfort!" That's the message I get when I think about my holdings in America Online (AOL). And why not? AOL is the world leader in Internet access with millions upon millions of users using their service. It's a stock which in my opinion still has amazing potential for growth with leadership that seems constantly dedicated to being on the cutting edge. I plan to hold onto this baby long into the future while there are still untapped regions of the planet. -- Tony Miller (Community)

Berkshire-Hathaway (BRK.B) I love this stock. It goes up, it goes down, it slices, it dices, it's legendary, and it's mine. Having lived some time in Omaha (and where much of my family still remains), I am well acquainted with Mr. Buffett's little company. Don't ask me financials -- there's a reason why I'm not one of the writer/analyst Fools here. But ask me about all 75 acres Nebraska Furniture Mart (my favorite furniture & everything else store!), of which Berkshire owns a chunk. Or ask me about Coke -- also a Berkshire holding, and a product I drink by the gallon. You can even ask me about the Ginsu knives my Mom got for me at the annual gathering of the Berkshire shareholders a couple years back. You may ask me any of these questions, and more. But there is one thing you should never ask -- never ask me to sell my baby-BRKs. -- Kaiti Trimble (FoolMart)

It's only a slight exaggeration to say that GE (NYSE: GE) has been in my portfolio about half as long as it has been in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Okay, it's a big exaggeration, considering that General Electric is the only remaining member of the original 30 stocks named to the DJIA about a century ago. Although I use its products every day, it's the one stock I barely think about from one year to the next and I fully expect to hold it long after the legendary Jack Welch has eased into his comfortable GE-funded retirement. With the top-notch management team Welch has groomed to succeed him, General Electric should continue to provide excellent returns well into my dotage (at which point I'll completely forget I own it and my heirs will be thrilled). -- Jeanie Macaulay (Community)

In 1986, my girlfriend bought me a share of Disney (NYSE: DIS). One share. We were just college-bound teens at the time. We had only been dating for a few months but she knew how important Disney was to me and my family. Walt Disney World was a home away from home. I never added to my position. The financials paled against the nostalgia and the DRP was too fee-intensive. Through two stock splits I have simply transferred the freshly issued shares to family members. That girlfriend is now my wife -- the mother of my two boys -- the reason why I don't think I will ever sell that solitary share of Disney. It is so little. It means so much. -- Rick Munarriz (Editorial)

My investment club "Mutual Fun" has been together for almost two years. We're a group of college friends and friends-of-friends who all realized at the same time "Wow! I don't know anything about stocks!" Today, we are more likely to exclaim "Ohmigosh! We still have so much to learn!" I do think one of the things we are learning is to purchase stocks that we know something about personally and not just from the news but from our lives. For that reason, I am "thankful" that we have Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) in our portfolio since a disproportionate number of the club "does something in computers." -- Duffy Winters (Business Development)

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