Boring Portfolio

Seven for Seven
Friday, May 08, 1998
By Greg Markus (TMF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (May 8, 1998) -- The Boring Portfolio posted a 0.71% on Friday, as all seven holdings rose. Although that gain lagged those of the Nasdaq and S&P 500, the Borefolio's 0.95% weekly increase compares favorably with weekly losses of 0.42% and 1.15% suffered by the Nasdaq and S&P 500, respectively.

Although the folks at Borders (NYSE: BGP) have yet to announce it officially, the e-commerce site is open for business. I know, because I ordered three books there today. is still a bit wobbly on its legs, and the search engine lacks some of the capabilities of's (Nasdaq: AMZN). The folks at Borders tell me that the e-commerce site will continue to develop as users run it through the paces.

In my wholly unscientific comparison -- based solely on my search for three books I've been intending to buy -- the Borders site topped Amazon's. Two of the books -- Plewa's Understanding Cash Flow and Kimball's The Condition of American Liberal Education -- were the same price at either site, but Kimball's book was available for immediate shipment at, whereas it was listed as "2-3 weeks" at Amazon. The third book, Bok's Beyond the Ivory Tower, was both cheaper and more rapidly shippable at Shipping prices are identical at the two sites. (And, yes, my tastes in books tend to be as boring as my tastes in stacks.)

I didn't have time to include the Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) e-commerce site in my little test, but I will. Borders stock closed at $32 1/2, up $1/16, on Friday.

Quiet Carlisle Companies (NYSE: CSL) rose $3/8 to establish a new high at $51 9/16. The stock outperformed the S&P 500 in 1997, and so far this year it's repeating that feat. A division of Carlisle supplies engineered plastic parts to major auto makers, and the announced merger between Chrysler (NYSE: C) and Daimler-Benz (NYSE: DAI) has given a boost to stocks of a number of companies in the industry.

The past week was a good one for Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO). The stock established a new high after reporting Street-beating quarterly sales and earnings on Tuesday. On Friday, the stock close up $3/8 at $75 3/4.

In Wednesday's Boring recap, I offered a layman's view of the exciting opportunities ahead for Cisco -- and for all of us, really -- as data, voice, and video communications become integrated on packet-based broadband networks. I also pointed out -- as has Cisco -- that the giants who supply traditional circuit-switched equipment to the telcos of the world are not likely to sit idly and permit The Kid to swipe their market out from under them.

The current issue of Fortune magazine discusses the situation from the perspective of one of those giants: Lucent (NYSE: LU), the recent spin-off from AT&T that has already outgrown its mom in terms of market capitalization. The Fortune story is available on the Web, and I recommend it highly.

As Cisco CEO John Chambers pointed out in the teleconference that followed the company's earnings release, Cisco and Lucent have discussed the possibilities of establishing a strategic partnership, but nothing's come of it. Although the two companies have so far failed join forces, investors don't need to wait. We can become part owners in both of these outstanding companies!

And I suspect there will be more than enough business for both of them to handle.

FoolWatch -- It's what's going on at the Fool today.

Stock  Change    Bid 
 ANDW  +  1/4   22.13 
 CGO   +  3/8   38.94 
 BGP   +  1/16  32.50 
 CSL   +  3/8   51.56 
 CSCO  +  3/8   75.75 
 FCH   +  5/16  35.44 
 PNR   +1 3/8   44.81 
                   Day   Month    Year  History 
         BORING   +0.71%   1.61%   4.84%  31.91% 
         S&P:     +1.19%  -0.33%  14.19%  78.27% 
         NASDAQ:  +1.59%  -0.22%  18.72%  79.10% 
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     32.50   188.73% 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst    35.93     75.75   110.81% 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     51.56    95.87% 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     38.94    68.87% 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair       43.74     44.81     2.45% 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui    37.59     35.44    -5.73% 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor    26.09     22.13   -15.20% 
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  13000.00  $8497.51 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst  5389.99  11362.50  $5972.51 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99  10312.50  $5047.51 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   5840.63  $2381.89 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair     4374.25   4481.25   $107.00 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui  7518.00   7087.50  -$430.50 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor  5218.00   4425.00  -$793.00 
                              CASH   $9447.76 
                             TOTAL  $65957.14