Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Friday, April 25, 1997
by Greg Markus (TMF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (April 25, 1997) -- Traders moved out of stocks Friday ahead of a slew of economic reports to be released next week. The Dow and the S&P 500 each lost around three-quarters of a percent. The Nasdaq dropped twice that much, ending the session off 19 points, or 1.53%.

The Boring Portfolio fared even worse, losing a full two percent for the day and 2.57% for the week. Only a "-teenth" rise in the bid price of PRIME MEDICAL SERVICES (Nasdaq: PMSI) spared the Borefolio from a complete wipeout Friday.

Prime will report its quarterly results on April 30. Analysts are looking for earnings of $0.14 per share. Since the company has already said they'd make that, the real issue will be what kind of insight Prime can offer regarding the balance of 1997 and beyond. The Motley Fool will be covering the follow-up conference call and will provide a synopsis for you.

Oil prices retreated today in anticipation of $2 billion in sales by Iraq under a United Nations program. That in turn affected prices of oilpatch stocks, including TIDEWATER (NYSE: TDW) which receded $3 1/2. Tidewater may have been hit particularly hard because of news from Nigeria that workers were striking on some of the service vessels recently acquired by Tidewater from British firm O.I.L. Tidewater is slated to report quarterly results around the end of the month.

Shares of ORACLE (Nasdaq: ORCL) and CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) flopped along with the rest of the Nasdaq Friday. Oracle lost $1 1/2 on the bid side and Cisco, $1 7/8. Yesterday, Cisco said it is realigning its business around three key customer segments rather than around products. New layout is: service provider, enterprise, and small/medium business.

Perhaps this is just management mumbo-jumbo, but I'm thinking maybe not. In particular, I find it interesting that (a) Cisco has decided to align a major chunk of its biz to take aim at the ISP/telco market, and (b) it is putting one of its major guns, Don Listwin, in charge of it.

To date, selling to Internet Service Providers has been a chink in Cisco's armor, as ASCEND COMMUNICATIONS (Nasdaq: ASND) got off the mark faster than Cisco did in that market, with its TNT access server and, more recently, its GRF ("Goes Real Fast") switch.

The past couple of months have brought news, recently confirmed by Cisco, that a next-generation access server and the BFR -- "Big Fast (or somesuch) Router" -- will be out soon. Now with Listwin in charge of a group focused specifically at this market and armed with new products, this could get interesting.

GREEN TREE FINANCIAL (NYSE: GNT) lost $1/2 Friday, again on volume in excess of a million shares. The stock did end the day off its intraday lows, if that's any consolation.

ATLAS AIR (Nasdaq: ATLS) descended a quarter-point on the bid price, although the last sale of the day was actually up a bit from Thursday. But since we report bid prices on Nasdaq stocks -- i.e., the price that you or I would actually get if we sold the stock -- it's minus two-bits for us.

Finally on this day of downhill runs, I called CARLISLE COMPANIES (NYSE: CSL) to see if they could offer any insight into the stealth drop in that stock over the past few weeks. CSL drooped another $1/4 on Friday.

A spokesman at Carlisle said that the business continues nicely despite some minor impact of three strikes currently underway in the auto industry. The two analysts who follow Carlisle most closely have projected earnings of $0.52 for the current quarter and $2.10 to $2.15 for the year. With even a fairly conservative multiple of 15, and factoring in Carlisle's dividend, those earnings would seem to support a stock price a dollar or two above $30 about now. Carlisle is comfortable with those estimates.

Ah, well. It was a gloomy day for stocks, but it promises to be a glorious spring week-end here in lower Michigan. I'm going to try to enjoy it -- and think a good thought for the folks in the Dakotas who have more on their hands at the moment than just a few stocks dropping underwater.

(c) Copyright 1997, The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. This material is for personal use only. Republication and redissemination, including posting to news groups, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of The Motley Fool.

Stock  Change    Bid
ATLS  -  1/4   25.25
BGP   -  3/8   21.00
CSL   -  1/4   27.13
CSCO  -1 7/8   46.38
GNT   -  1/4   28.75
ORCL  -1 1/2   37.88
OXHP  -1 7/8   59.38
PMSI  +  1/16  9.00
TDW   -3 1/2   44.13
                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   -2.09%  -2.67%  -7.19%   6.80%
        S&P:     -0.75%   1.09%   3.33%  23.13%
        NASDAQ:  -1.53%  -1.02%  -6.33%  16.17%

     Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     21.00    86.56%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     59.38    23.63%
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     25.25     9.51%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     27.13     3.04%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     28.75    -5.39%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07      9.00   -10.61%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     46.38   -13.96%
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor    48.65     37.88   -22.15%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     44.13    -5.16%

     Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49   8400.00  $3897.51
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   5937.50  $1135.01
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   3787.50   $328.76
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   5425.00   $160.01
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   5750.00  -$327.49
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   3600.00  -$427.49
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   4637.50  -$752.49
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor  4864.99   3787.50 -$1077.49
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   4412.50  -$239.99
CASH $7660.41 TOTAL $53397.91