Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Friday, October 3, 1997
by Greg Markus (

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Oct. 3, 1997) -- Stocks soared and bond yields fell early Friday following a better-than-expected report on September employment and wages. Traders sold into the rally late in the session, however, leaving the benchmark averages well off their intra-day highs. Still, the Nasdaq rose a solid 0.79% and the S&P 500 gained 0.48%, adding to the all-time highs set Thursday. For the week, the two indices tacked on 2.00% and 2.10%, respectively.

The situation was more subdued for the Boring Portfolio. After setting its own all-time high last Friday, the Borefolio fell into a three-day slump at the beginning of this week. Decent gains on Thursday and Friday helped mitigate the damage, but the Borefolio nevertheless lost 1.39% for the week.

Winners outnumbered losers 5 to 3 among Borefolio holdings Friday, with the ninth stock, PRIME MEDICAL SERVICES (Nasdaq: PMSI) unchanged at $13 3/8.

ATLAS AIR (Nasdaq: ATLS) descended $7/8. Atlas is expecting delivery of four new 747-400 freighters from BOEING (NYSE: BA) in the second and third quarters of next year. News today from the Seattle-based aerospace giant confirming that it expects to fall about five planes shy of its 1997 goal of 340-355 aircraft may have unsettled some Atlas shareholders. This one just shrugged, however. After all, a lot can happen between now and next spring, and there's no particular reason to believe that Boeing's deliveries to Atlas will be delayed materially, if at all.

Also on the down side, shares of BORDERS GROUP (NYSE: BGP) fell $7/8. In the new issue of Business Week, "insider" Gene Marcial reported -- if that's the word for it -- a ludicrous story suggesting that executives at BARNES & NOBLE (NYSE: BKS) are "worried sick" that Borders might try to take them over. The source of this insight? An unnamed hedge-fund manager... who's quite possibly "long" B&N and "short" Borders. Late this afternoon, a spokesperson for B&N characterized the story as "totally inaccurate and completely without merit."

[This is the same Business Week that periodically rants about "online chat stock-hype" in The Motley Fool, by the way. Please.]

OXFORD HEALTH PLANS (Nasdaq: OXHP) rebounded $2 5/8, perhaps as traders finally came to their senses and realized that the Ox shares none of the cost-control, slowing growth, or acquisition integration problems that are plaguing AETNA (NYSE: AET), CIGNA (NYSE: CI), and some other HMOs.

Oxford shareholders have gotten used to these occasional sell-offs whenever one HMO or another stumbles. Indeed, this week's Value Line supplement gives OXHP the lowest possible score for "price stability" -- 5 out of a possible 100 points.

Why then is a stock as volatile as Oxford ensconced in a portfolio called "Boring"? Another Value Line rating, this time for "price growth persistence," offers an explanation: 100 out of 100. Or to put it in words rather than numbers, there may be a whole lotta shakin' goin' on with OXHP, but the trend is inexorably, ineluctably, unfailingly up... and fast. Value Line is looking for 50% growth in earnings this year for Oxford, as are most other analysts. Zero long-term debt and $8.74 a share in cash with which to fund expansion into new markets are two other attractions of the Ox.

The deeper reason why Oxford suits the Borefolio so nicely, however -- and the source of all those fine stats -- is simple: providing healthcare for Americans is a huge and growing business -- a vital necessity, literally; and survey after survey shows that Oxford is the quality leader, period.

Speaking of quality leaders, CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) added $2 1/2 to Thursday's $3 3/16 gain. There was no particular news that I noticed, just another leader in its field doing its thing. Next week is the big NetWorld+Interop bash in Atlanta. I suspect we'll be hearing plenty from the Kid there.

And we couldn't end this recap without saluting TIDEWATER (NYSE: TDW). The New Orleans-based marine services leader gained $1 1/4 to finally, finally close above the $60 mark, at a new high of $61 1/8. Roll, Tide!

Drip Portfolio -- More Health Care.
The Fool Portfolio -- Fool Port getting closer.
Fool Message Boards -- Speak your mind!
Evening News -- All the news, early.
Daily Double
-- Doubled. Why? Learn.
Daily Trouble -- Slammed. A value?
Fool Four -- 23% annualized historically

Stock  Change    Bid
ATLS  - 7/8   27.00
BGP   -  13/16 26.94
CSL   -  1/16  44.69
CSCO  +2 1/2   78.44
GNT   +  13/16 48.50
ORCL  +  13/16 36.81
OXHP  +2 5/8   73.63
PMSI    ---    13.38
TDW   +1 1/4   61.13
                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   +0.40%   0.44%  27.52%  46.69%
        S&P:     +0.48%   1.87%  30.28%  55.24%
        NASDAQ:  +0.79%   1.79%  32.91%  64.84%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     26.94   139.25%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     44.69    69.75%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     48.50    59.61%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     73.63    53.31%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     78.44    45.52%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07     13.38    32.84%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     61.13    31.38%
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     27.00    17.09%
 11/21/96  150 Oracle Cor    32.43     36.81    13.50%

     Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  10775.00  $6272.51
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   8937.50  $3672.51
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   9700.00  $3622.51
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   7362.50  $2560.01
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   7843.75  $2453.76
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   6112.50  $1460.01
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   5350.00  $1322.51
 11/21/96  150 Oracle Cor  4864.99   5521.88   $656.89
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   4050.00   $591.26

                             CASH   $7890.00
                            TOTAL  $73543.13