Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Thursday, March 28, 1996

by Greg Markus (MF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, MI, March 28, 1996 -- Ick. The Borefolio flopped by more than two percent today. LCSI slumped over two points (on the bid side) today. Lam lost a buck. Prime Medical, Green Tree, Borders ... all down. Only stalwart Texas Industries managed to save the Borefolio from getting totally whiffed.

So what happened? There was no news -- other than that Lam Research donated a slew of old office equipment to the local schools in Fremont. So the only "explanations" I can offer are not particularly satisfying, but here they are, nonetheless.

First, there's the "window-dressing" scenario -- that rite that occurs at the end of every quarter, as fund managers strive to demonstrate to current and prospective investors that they hold all the latest neat-o stuff and none of the woofies. Out go the temporarily declasse' stocks (Lam Research, for example) and in go the current hits (biotechs, airlines, oilfield services).

The other fall-back story on a day like today is "profit-taking" -- which is sort of like saying you can't sleep because you have insomnia. There may actually be something to this cliche' in the case of LCSI, however. One research service had recently recommended that investors buy LCSI up to the $27 level. Well, LCSI hit that magic mark at mid-morning and it was pretty much downhill from there -- although the closing tick was up (and the bid/ask differential had expanded into more of a sprawl than a spread: one full point).

I feel obliged to point out that the lone (and unknown) LCSI analyst surveyed by First Call apparently changed his rating on the stock from "buy" to "sell" this week. Interestingly, the listed EPS estimates are unchanged. I have a call in to LCS Industries but had not heard back from them as of press time. As I noted when I added LCSI to the Borefolio recently, this stock is not at all sleepy, even if the underlying business is pretty boring. Fluctuations like today's are not all that extraordinary for LCSI.

As for myself, I shall be fluctuating beneath a palm tree for the next few days as I celebrate April Fool's week. Happily, a crack line-up of fellow Fools has agreed to cover the nightly updates during my absence. So please do click back in here and see what they have to say.

BGP -   3/8 ...GNT -   7/8 ...LRCX -1 
...LCSI -2  1/4 ...PMSI -   3/4 ...TXI +   1/8 ...

                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   -2.15%   0.80%  -1.21%  -1.21%
        S&P 500  +0.00%   1.33%   4.39%   4.39%
        NASDAQ   +0.09%  -0.47%   5.18%   5.18%

    Rec'd  #   Security     In At       Now    Change

  2/28/96 200 Borders Gro    22.51     28.50    26.61%
   3/8/96 400 Prime Medic    10.07     12.50    24.13%
  1/29/96 100 Texas Indus    54.52     63.75    16.92%
   2/2/96 200 Green Tree     30.39     34.13    12.30%
  3/25/96 200 LCS Industr    26.14     24.50    -6.27%
  2/23/96 100 Lam Researc    48.02     34.75   -27.63%

    Rec'd  #   Security      Cost     Value    Change
  2/28/96 200 Borders Gro  4502.49   5700.00  $1197.51
   2/2/96 200 Green Tree   6077.49   6825.00   $747.51
  3/25/96 200 LCS Industr  5227.49   4900.00  -$327.49
  2/23/96 100 Lam Researc  4802.49   3475.00 -$1327.49
   3/8/96 400 Prime Medic  4027.49   5000.00   $972.51
  1/29/96 100 Texas Indus  5449.99   6375.00   $925.01

                             CASH  $17117.60
                            TOTAL  $49392.60