Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Wednesday, February 19, 1997
by Greg Markus (MF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Feb. 19, 1997) -- The Dow dropped 47 points today, a move that I suspect is as uninterpretable as yesterday's 78 point rise was -- although that probably won't stop Michael Metz from offering one. The S&P 500 index retreated 0.46%, while the Nasdaq Composite was essentially unchanged.

Tuesday was suitably uneventful for the Boring Portfolio, which advanced 0.24% in net asset value. Six holdings rose -- including a dollar gain by BORDERS GROUP (NYSE: BGP) and a $1 1/8 advance from CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) -- while three stocks fell fractionally. CARLISLE COMPANIES (NYSE: CSL) trading ex-dividend today, was among the day's losers.

There's not a whole lot to report today -- which suits me just fine, since my daughter's entered in the 100 'fly in a swim meet across town, and I need to fire up the Boremobile, pronto.

PRIME MEDICAL SERVICES (Nasdaq: PMSI) gained $1/8. More noteworthy is that the company will be reporting fourth quarter and 1996 results next week. The exact day is still being worked out, according to the company, depending on the travel plans of company execs. Monday is looking possible, though. Whenever it is, I'll be covering the follow-up conference call -- Prime Medical's first ever.

As noted here yesterday, OXFORD HEALTH PLANS (Nasdaq: OXHP) issued a fourth quarter earnings report that was simply outstanding any way you look at it. I filed my summary of the follow-up conference call earlier today, and -- AOL willing (which is asking a lot these days, alas) -- it will be posted soon. The stock rose a quarter-point today, perhaps as the company's basic message begins to sink in.

That message, in the words of CEO Stephen Wiggins, is that Oxford is "on the leading edge of a revolution in the way that healthcare can be organized and financed."

For example, the company has nine specialty-based management initiatives under way, to focus on specific diseases or injuries. Another 24 requests for proposals (RFPs) for particular kinds of cases have gone out for bid or are about to go out. Oxford's medical advisory teams are not only guiding the crafting of the RFPs but are simultaneously developing strategies for identifying at-risk members and drafting patient information materials, patient satisfaction surveys, and case management guidelines. Then there's the alternative medicine plan, the plan for utilizing nurses for primary care, the electronic commerce initiative, the Oxford On Call feature, the ... well, you get the idea.

As for the numbers, the company offered guidance of revenues in excess of $4.3 billion in 1997 (a 40% or so gain) and earnings per share in the neighborhood of $1.80. That neighborhood would be 45% north of 1996's blow-out $1.24. You can pop your favorite multiple onto $1.80 to fashion your own target price for OXHP. As for myself, I go along with the analysts who see the stock moving above $70 this year.

CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) enjoyed yesterday's $1-1/8 advance so much that it repeated the experience today. It's a rare day that does not include at least one press release from the Cisco press relations juggernaut, and this one was no exception.

Today's announcement was that Internet Service Provider InterNet2000 is standardizing around an array of Cisco switches and AS5200 dial access servers "to deliver an end-to-end, scaleable solution which combines a host of differentiated Cisco IOS software network services with high performance access platforms," as they say in the land of technology press-release writing.

Actually, I've noticed that a number of ISPs have been promoting the extent to which they are kitted out with Cisco products. Look, if Intel could do it for microprocessors, why couldn't Cisco succeed with a "Cisco Inside" ad campaign?

I can see it now, bunny-suited Cisco assemblers funkalizing to the beat of an old boomer fave.... "Cisco Kid is a friend of mine!"

Hey, if the Stones can help Chairman Bill start up Windoze 95, then War! can rock for John Chambers and Cisco, right?


Oh, one other thing. Last night, I mentioned that a certain momentum-stock newsletter is touting Cisco as it's stock of the month -- news that didn't particularly excite me inasmuch as some other recommendations of the newsletter were currently "under a cloud."

Well, the clouds parted for one of them today. An audit found no irregularities in the books of RADISYS CORP (Nasdaq: RSYS), and the stock exploded $6 7/8.

(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.

Today's Numbers

Stock  Change    Bid
BGP   +1       43.88
CSL   -  5/8   34.38
CSCO  +1 1/8   64.75
GNT   -  3/4   40.38
ORCL  +  5/8   41.25
OXHP  +  1/4   59.38
PMSI  +  1/8   11.50
SLR   +  1/4   56.00
TDW   -  1/4   43.50
                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   +0.29%   1.06%   5.69%  21.62%
        S&P:     -0.47%   3.35%   9.68%  30.70%
        NASDAQ:  -0.02%  -1.03%   5.77%  31.18%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change

  2/28/96  200 Borders Gr    22.51     43.88    94.89%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     40.38    32.87%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     34.38    30.58%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     59.38    23.63%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     64.75    20.13%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07     11.50    14.22%
 10/15/96  100 Solectron     54.52     56.00     2.71%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     43.50    -6.50%
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor    48.65     41.25   -15.21%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change

  2/28/96  200 Borders Gr  4502.49   8775.00  $4272.51
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   8075.00  $1997.51
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   6875.00  $1610.01
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   5937.50  $1135.01
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   6475.00  $1085.01
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   4600.00   $572.51
 10/15/96  100 Solectron   5452.49   5600.00   $147.51
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   4350.00  -$302.49
 11/21/96  100 Oracle Cor  4864.99   4125.00  -$739.99

                             CASH   $5999.08
                            TOTAL  $60811.58