Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Friday, January 17, 1997
by Greg Markus (MF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Jan. 17) -- The 6,800 milestone faded in the Dow's rearview mirror as it raced ahead 68 points on Friday to close at 6833. The S&P 500 gained 6 (+0.83%), and the Nasdaq, 9 (+0.64%). New records all 'round, natch.

The Boring Portfolio had a good day, as well, rising 0.80% as five holdings advanced and four declined. For the week, the Borefolio gained 1.13%, not counting accumulated interest on the $6,000 remaining in the kitty. That's a fine weekly gain, but it hardly compares with that registered by the roaring S&P 500 (up 2.20%) or the more volatile Nasdaq (up 1.28%).

Contributors to the discussion inside the Boring Investing folder in The Motley Fool on AOL are helping me determine a way to invest that last $6K. If you're an AOL subscriber (and if you're able to sign on these days), I invite you to join the conversation.

One place to find good candidates for equity investments is to use a "stock screen" that employs certain criteria for filtering out issues that don't meet your preferred combination of specifications. It's possible -- and perfectly acceptable -- to screen the old-fashioned way, with an S&P "gimme" stock guide, and a pad and pencil. Various commercial software products can do the job more efficiently and thoroughly, though. You can also find various screens at the Websites of some brokerages and other financial institutions.

I won't mention any specific sites here, because I don't want to appear to be plugging any particular brokers. Suffice it to say, however, that a few minutes with a Web search-engine will probably get you where you want to go.

John Mizgalski e-mailed me to mention that a number of Boring holdings appear on some of the standard screens that investors often employ. For example, Prime Medical Services (Nasdaq: PMSI) and Tidewater (NYSE: TDW) both appear on a short list of stocks screened for "steadily rising profit margins" over the past five years coupled with projected EPS growth of at least 12% going forward.

Green Tree Financial (NYSE: GNT) and Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR) appear on a Standard & Poor's list of "Stocks with exceptional earnings growth potential," based upon a comparison of their five-year projected annual percentage EPS growth as compared with their p/e calculated upon estimated 1997 earnings (i.e., basically what we Fools call a "YPEG").

Speaking of Green Tree, the stock shot up $ 1 1/8 today to take back third place in the Borefolio standing from Carlisle Companies (NYSE: CSL), which occupied that slot for the first time yesterday. CSL gave back a fraction of yesterday's $1 3/8 gain. For those of you who may have missed it, CSL began trading on Thursday at its 2-for-1 split-adjusted price.

Trading volume on GNT topped one million shares on Friday -- nearly double the stock's typical volume. An analyst at Bear Stearns reiterated a "buy" rating on Green Tree, which may account for the unusual activity. Also, after the closing bell, Green Tree issued a press release to announce that its Retail Services division reached an agreement with Leath Furniture to provide a private label credit card for use in 39 Leath and Modernage furniture stores.

According to the release, the new program "will combine innovative marketing strategies with several financing options to boost Leath's sales and market presence." Leath Furniture has 30 stores selling medium-priced traditional furniture in the Midwest. Nine Modernage stores sell "upper medium-priced contemporary furniture" in Florida.

An outstanding earnings report from networking equipment maker Ascend Communications (Nasdaq: ASND) helped propel a number of related stocks sharply higher, including our own Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO). Cisco gained $2 3/8 to close at a bid of $72 5/8 -- a new high. Earlier this week, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) announced that they would work together to integrate each other's products to offer "comprehensive end-to-end" solutions for networked computing.

The stocks of Cisco's neighbor's in Silicon Valley, Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Solectron had good days, as well. Oracle gained two-bits, while Solectron rose a dollar.

That's about it for this week, folks. Have a great week-end -- and maybe try out some of those stock screens?

Today's Numbers

Stock  Change    Bid
BGP   +  3/8   36.50
CSL   -  3/8   31.63
CSCO  +2 3/8   72.63
GNT   +1 1/8   36.88
ORCL  +  1/4   41.38
OXHP  -  1/8   54.50
PMSI  -  1/8   11.63
SLR   +1       59.00
TDW   -  1/2   50.88
                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   +0.80%   3.39%   3.39%  18.97%
        S&P 500  +0.83%   4.78%   4.78%  24.86%
        NASDAQ:  +0.64%   4.49%   4.49%  29.60%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change

  2/28/96  200 Borders Gr    22.51     36.50    62.13%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     72.63    34.74%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     36.88    21.35%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     31.63    20.13%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07     11.63    15.46%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     54.50    13.48%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     50.88     9.35%
 10/15/96  100 Solectron     54.52     59.00     8.21%
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor    48.65     41.38   -14.95%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change

  2/28/96  200 Borders Gr  4502.49   7300.00  $2797.51
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   7262.50  $1872.51
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   7375.00  $1297.51
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   6325.00  $1060.01
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   5450.00   $647.51
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   4650.00   $622.51
 10/15/96  100 Solectron   5452.49   5900.00   $447.51
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   5087.50   $435.01
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor  4864.99   4137.50  -$727.49

                             CASH   $5999.08
                            TOTAL  $59486.58

Transmitted: 1/17/97