Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Tuesday, September 16, 1997
by Greg Markus (TMFBoring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Sept. 16, 1997) - Just as my daughter never tired of having Goodnight, Moon read to her when she was small, stock and bond traders just can't seem to get enough of their favorite story:

No inflation under the bed,
No inflation in the chair,
No inflation behind the door,
No inflation anywhere.

Today's No Inflation tale was brought to you by the letters C, P and I, and the teeny-tiny number 0.1, as in a better-than-expected 0.1% core-rate increase in the Consumer Price Index last month.

Bond yields fell and stocks soared following the reading of the No Inflation story. The Dow rocketed 175 points (2.26%), the S&P 500 zoomed -- get this -- 26 points (+2.81%) , and the Nasdaq blasted up 34 (2.06%).

The Boring Portfolio joined the action, powering higher by 2.04% to a net asset value of $73,809 -- an all-time high.

Shares of CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) rebounded $4 7/8 in heavy trading.

You may recall that last week I mentioned that I'd dropped a note to Cisco's investor relations department to find out whether the company had revised its guidance to analysts attending the recent technology conference at Salomon Brothers in New York. Over the weekend (the Kid never rests), I received my answer ... which was that Cisco did not change its guidance from what was said in the Q4 conference call. "In fact," replied a Cisco spokesperson, "we reiterated it."

Cisco's head honcho John Chambers spoke today at the Cowen Conference in Boston. Whatever he said to the Bostonians in his soft West Virginian drawl, it certainly doesn't appear to have hurt the stock any.

Stock of quiet CARLISLE COMPANIES (NYSE: CSL) rose $2 to establish an all-time high of $45 7/16. I spotted no new news. Last week, Carlisle acquired privately-held Specialty Cable Corp., which will expand Carlisle's reach into the aircraft cable business. Almost anything associated with the aircraft industry has been red hot this year, and Carlisle's aircraft cable biz is no exception. CSL is up merely 73% in the 13 months since we acquired our 200 (split-adjusted) shares. Boring.

Financial services stocks were one of a number of areas of strength today, as the yield on the long bond dropped to 6.4%. Shares of the Borefolio's leading representative of that group, GREEN TREE FINANCIAL (NYSE: GNT), grew $1/34 to close at $46 15/16, just below an all-time high.

By way of contrast, stocks of offshore drillers and marine services were among the few areas of softness today, following their recent gusher. TIDEWATER (NYSE: TDW) receded $1 1/2.

After the closing bell, ORACLE (Nasdaq: ORCL) reported fiscal first quarter earnings of $0.15 per share, excluding charges associated with recent acquisitions. That was in line with the consensus estimate of analysts as reported by First Call and represented a 36% gain over last year's $0.11 per share. Revenues increased 30% to $1.37 billion.

The gains would have been even larger had it not been for the impact of the strong dollar. According to Oracle's press release, the company lost six percentage points of revenue growth due to conversion of international sales from local currencies into the greenback.

As has been the case in recent quarters, sales of Oracle apps set the pace. Applications license revenue increased 96%. Oracle Services, which includes support, consulting and education, grew 42%, while sales of Oracle's core database software increased less rapidly.

How much less rapidly, I don't know (yet). The conference call is taking place as I write this. A taped replay is available one hour after the live call concludes. I'll monitor the replay tonight and provide a timely summary in our Conference Calls section.

I requested from Oracle the same access to the live call that dozens of their Silicon Valley neighbors and other leading companies have provided us, but Oracle declined. Oracle's call is open only to institutional investors, not wee individual investors or The Motley Fool. Also, Oracle's IR office informed us, it costs money to open the call to others beyond a small group.

And how much money and good will does it cost not to open the call up, I wonder? After all, it was not individual investors who were dumping ORCL by the truckload late last year and early this year when the company was coping with weak sales overseas.

When asked if we might publish the phone number for the taped replay, Oracle declined that request, as well -- again citing the cost factor. If individual investors wish to access the replay, which is available for 24 hours only, they must contact Oracle's investor relations office directly, at 415-506-4073.

I will tell you this much: it's not even a toll-free call. Gee, I had no idea that Larry was so strapped for cash. Maybe we should hold a bake sale or something?

Drip Portfolio -- Mesage boards.
The Fool Portfolio -- Fool Port getting closer.
Fool Message Boards -- Speak your mind!
Evening News -- All the news, early.
Daily Double
-- Doubled. Why? Learn.
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Fool Four -- 23% annualized historically

Stock  Change    Bid
ATLS  +1 1/2   27.50
BGP   - 11/16  26.38
CSL   +2       45.44
CSCO  +4 7/8   74.50
GNT   +1 3/4   46.94
ORCL  +1 1/2   39.50
OXHP  +1 7/8   77.88
PMSI  +  1/16  14.44
TDW   -1 1/2   58.31
                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   +2.04%   5.49%  28.28%  47.62%
        S&P:     +2.81%   5.13%  27.66%  52.13%
        NASDAQ:  +2.06%   5.12%  29.25%  60.29%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     26.38   134.31%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     45.44    72.60%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     77.88    62.16%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     46.94    54.46%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07     14.44    43.39%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     74.50    38.22%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     58.31    25.34%
 11/21/96  150 Oracle Cor    32.43     39.50    21.79%
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     27.50    19.26%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  10550.00  $6047.51
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   9087.50  $3822.51
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   9387.50  $3310.01
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   7787.50  $2985.01
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   7450.00  $2060.01
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   5775.00  $1747.51
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   5831.25  $1178.76
 11/21/96  150 Oracle Cor  4864.99   5925.00  $1060.01
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   4125.00   $666.26

                             CASH   $7890.00
                            TOTAL  $73808.75