Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Thursday, June 26, 1997
by Greg Markus (TMF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (June 26, 1997) -- Thursday was in some respects a replay of the day before, as weakness in the bond market triggered a spate of late-afternoon profit-taking in stocks. The S&P 500 fell 0.60% while the Nasdaq -- which also had a couple of earnings warnings to contend with -- lost 0.68%.

The situation was slightly less dispiriting for the Boring Portfolio. It lost 0.47%. Five holdings fell, three gained, and PRIME MEDICAL (Nasdaq: PMSI) held unchanged.

With a full-page ad on page A15 of today's Wall Street Journal, CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) launched its "Cisco Inside" -- excuse me, "Cisco Powered Network" -- brand marketing campaign, complete with arrow-sporting logo.

"How important is this new logo?" the ad asks, perhaps anticipating your own question.

The ad answers it's own question: "Well, the least time we brought your business something completely new it was called the Internet."

Quibbles from folks at Bolt Beranek & Newman aside, the objective of Cisco's marketing campaign appears to mirror closely that of INTEL's (Nasdaq: INTC) extraordinarily successful effort: to transform an arcane corporate name into a consumer brand.

More specifically, just as "Intel Inside" conveys the notion of leading-edge technology and reliability (minor glitches in performing long division aside), so is "Cisco Powered Network" intended to communicate the message that your network service provider "is backed by the products and technology that makes the world's networks work for business."

Maybe I spend too much time reading technology ads, but that sounds an awful lot like LUCENT's (NYSE: LU) slogan, except wordier.

In any event, the Kid's stock slid $1 3/16 today.

Pockets of Borefolio strength could be found in the air, on the sea, and in the, uh, mall. ATLAS AIR (Nasdaq: ATLS) climbed $1/2 on the bid, to $32 1/4. TIDEWATER (NYSE: TDW) surged $1 1/16 to $43 1/16 on heavy volume of 1.7 million shares, and BORDERS GROUP (NYSE: BGP) booked a $1/4 gain in its share price, to close at $24.

Yesterday, Tidewater stock dropped $ 1 7/8 on enormous volume of 2.2 million shares -- and that despite a half-buck rise in the price of benchmark West Texas crude. Stocks of other marine services outfits fell sharply, as well.

With no news to account for the sell-off, we were left with a mystery wrapped in an enigma stuck inside an oil drum.

Well, as Gomer Pyle used to say to Sheriff Andy, "Surprise, surprise!" -- the riddle is now solved.

Although I couldn't prove it in a court of law, it appears that word leaked out yesterday that LITTON INDUSTRIES (NYSE: LIT) would announce today (as it did, at noon) that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division will build seven additional deepwater offshore supply vessels for privately-held Edison Chouest Offshore, with an option to build seven more.

You may recall that a similar announcement in late April sent Tidewater stock into the briny depths of the mid-$30s until company execs managed to jury-rig an impromptu conference call. In that call, none other than Laney Chouest, senior vice president of Edison Chouest, pointed out that the new builds would have little if any impact on Tidewater's operations, and the stock recovered.

To the best of my knowledge, no similar conference call occurred today. Tidewater stock appears to have righted itself, in any event.

I have a call in to the Tidewater folks in N'awluns, and when I learn anything, I'll let you know.

Meantime, you might want to head over to Tidewater's website and see some of their sharp-looking boats.

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(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  +  1/2   32.25
BGP   +  1/4   24.00
CSL   -1 1/16  35.63
CSCO  -1 3/16  67.56
GNT   - 15/16  35.13
ORCL  -  5/16  50.56
OXHP  -  3/8   73.88
PMSI  ---      10.88
TDW   +1 1/16  43.06
                  Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   -0.47%   5.28%  11.64%  28.46%
        S&P:     -0.60%   4.17%  19.30%  42.16%
        NASDAQ:  -0.68%   2.58%  11.26%  37.99%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     24.00   113.22%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     73.88    53.83%
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     32.25    39.86%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     35.63    35.33%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     67.56    25.35%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     35.13    15.59%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07     10.88     8.01%
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor    48.65     50.56     3.93%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     43.06    -7.44%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49   9600.00  $5097.51
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   7387.50  $2585.01
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   7125.00  $1860.01
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   4837.50  $1378.76
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   6756.25  $1366.26
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   7025.00   $947.51
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   4350.00   $322.51
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor  4864.99   5056.25   $191.26
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   4306.25  -$346.24

                             CASH   $7788.54
                            TOTAL  $64232.29