Boring Portfolio

Boring Portfolio Report
Friday, October 24, 1997
by Greg Markus (

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Oct. 24, 1997) -- I've got just the tune for Milli Vanilli's long awaited comeback recording: Blame it on the Hay-ay-ang Seng!

Actually, the Hang Seng rallied Friday, but U.S. equities markets did not, led lower by a selloff in chip and chip machinery stocks. The Nasdaq slumped 1.22% with nearly one billion shares crossing the Naz wires. The S&P dropped just under one percent.

The Boring Portfolio managed to hold its loss to 0.68%. For the week, the S&P 500 and Borefolio lost 0.27% and 0.29%, respectively, while the Nasdaq fell 0.96%.

In the "seeking any port in a storm" department, I observe that although technology stocks got creamed this week, shares of CISCO SYSTEMS (Nasdaq: CSCO) actually recorded a small weekly gain (+$3/16) while ORACLE (Nasdaq: ORCL) held its losses to a mere quarter-point.

Even a week as ugly as this past one contained some golden moments, and among them was a superb quarterly earnings report from TIDEWATER (NYSE: TDW). The New Orleans-based marine services giant achieved quarterly earnings of $1.05 per share, blowing away the consensus estimate of $0.90, and topping the high-end forecast by a dime.

Tidewater chairman, president, and CEO William O'Malley attributed the outstanding performance to "a continuing bustling market" in the Gulf of Mexico along with "improving markets" internationally. Day rates for Tidewater's fleet continue to increase, and fleet utilization is very high. A summary of the company's quarterly teleconference is provided in the Conference Calls section of The Motley Fool.

Next week brings quarterly reports from PRIME MEDICAL SERVICES (Nasdaq: PMSI) and ATLAS AIR (Nasdaq: ATLS). Prime releases its results on Tuesday morning, Oct. 28. According to First Call, analysts are expecting earnings of $0.23 per share. PMSI rose $1/4 on the bid Friday. As for Atlas, the Golden, Colorado-based air freight company will post its results on Wednesday morning, Oct. 30. The consensus forecast is for EPS of $0.23, also.

At least as important as the quarterly results for Atlas will be any update the company can provide about prospects for the coming year. The company has stated that in early 1998 it intends to return five troublesome aircraft leased from FEDERAL EXPRESS (NYSE: FDX) and then take delivery of four new 747-400s from BOEING (NYSE: BA) in midyear. In light of recent news from Boeing about production delays, investors will want to know whether Atlas expects to modify its 1998 schedule in any way. ATLS eased $1/16 on the bid Friday.

The Motley Fool will be covering both the Prime Medical and Atlas Air conference calls and providing you with timely summaries.

Shares of CARLISLE COMPANIES (NYSE: CSL) helped the Boring cause by gaining $7/8 Friday. Earlier in the week, Carlisle announced that it had sold its Braemar Inc. subsidiary and had also signed a letter of intent to acquire Hardcast Europe of Weesp, Netherlands. Privately-held Hardcast makes specialty adhesive and sealant products primarily for the European roofing and building trades.

Braemar, which makes non-invasive medical recording and monitoring equipment, no longer fit very well into Carlisle's emphases on construction, transportation, and industrial products, whereas Hardcast fits perfectly into Carlisle's SynTec subsidiary and, equally important, provides Carlisle with access to potentially valuable European markets.

Shares of OXFORD HEALTH PLANS (Nasdaq: OXHP) rose for three consecutive sessions at the beginning of the week, buoyed by news that most HMOs and health insurers are expected to hike premiums by an average of 5%. The stock backpedaled on Thursday and again Friday, though, and ended off $1 11/16 for the week. Oxford is slated to report third quarter results in the first week of November.

Finally, BORDERS GROUP (NYSE: BGP) announced the grand opening of a new superstore in the Big Apple. The four-level, 42,600-square-foot monster is located in the Ritz Tower at Park Ave. and 57th St. -- a long walk or a short cab-ride from the headquarters of arch-rival BARNES & NOBLE (NYSE: BKS).

According to the press release, the ribbon-cutting for the new store takes place on Nov. 1. And on Nov. 5., none other than John Tesh will be on hand to autograph copies of his new book, "Sax All Night."

I know what you're thinking. John Tesh??!? Look, I happened to meet the Teshter at the Hawaii Ironman a few years ago, when he handled the coverage for NBC, and a friendlier guy you'd never find. Tesh loves the Ironman and the Tour de France, and that makes him okay in my book. So maybe I'll buy a copy of his.

Well, maybe not.

Stock  Change    Bid
ATLS  -  1/16  25.88
BGP   -  1/16  26.00
CSL   +  7/8   44.81
CSCO  -1 5/16  80.19
GNT   -  13/16 45.63
ORCL  -  3/16  33.94
OXHP  -2 1/4   68.75
PMSI  +  1/4   13.25
TDW   -1 7/8   65.69
                   Day   Month    Year  History
        BORING   -0.68%  -1.18%  25.57%  44.50%
        S&P:     -0.95%  -0.60%  27.12%  51.48%
        NASDAQ:  -1.22%  -2.06%  27.88%  58.60%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     26.00   130.98%
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     44.81    70.23%
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree    30.39     45.63    50.14%
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst    53.90     80.19    48.77%
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea    48.02     68.75    43.15%
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater     46.52     65.69    41.19%
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi    10.07     13.25    31.60%
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     25.88    12.22%
 11/21/96  150 Oracle Cor    32.43     33.94     4.64%

    Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change
  2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  10400.00  $5897.51
  8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   8962.50  $3697.51
   2/2/96  200 Green Tree  6077.49   9125.00  $3047.51
  6/26/96  100 Cisco Syst  5389.99   8018.75  $2628.76
  5/24/96  100 Oxford Hea  4802.49   6875.00  $2072.51
 12/23/96  100 Tidewater   4652.49   6568.75  $1916.26
   3/8/96  400 Prime Medi  4027.49   5300.00  $1272.51
   3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   3881.25   $422.51
 11/21/96  150 Oracle Cor  4864.99   5090.63   $225.64

                             CASH   $8028.59
                            TOTAL  $72250.47