Boring Portfolio

Boring Arizona
Tuesday, June 9, 1998
by Greg Markus
(TMF Boring)

TEMPE, Arizona (June 9, 1998) -- Stocks closed mixed Tuesday, with the Dow losing 20 points but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq moderately higher. The Boring Portfolio eked out a 0.02% gain, thanks to continued strength in shares of Atlas Air (NYSE: CGO) and Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO).

In the past month or so, my nightly Borefolio recaps have originated in Philadelphia, PA, Saint Paul, MN, Jacksonville, FL, Santa Ana, CA, and Dayton, OH, among other places. This week I'm in the Phoenix area.

As you may already know, Phoenix and its environs are the home of some substantial facilities for major companies such as Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). The region is also a hot-house for growing new businesses in a whole range of industries -- including a few wonderfully boring ones.

One Phoenix-based company that has experienced its share of inflations and deflations is air-bag specialist Simula (NYSE: SMU). As reported in The Motley Fool's Lunchtime News, Simula's stock ballooned by as much as $3 1/4 today after the company announced that TRW (NYSE: TRW) will integrate Simula's inflatable tubular structure (ITS) into TRW's product line for side-impact protection systems. Brokerage firm Miller, Johnson & Kuehn upgraded Simula from "accumulate" to "buy" based on the news.

Also in the news today was Phoenix-based financial services giant Finova Group (NYSE: FNV). Finova's shares rose $1 1/4 to $56 15/16 after Stephens Inc. upgraded the stock from "outperform" to "buy." The analyst at Stephens expects Finova to earn $2.84 in fiscal 1998 and $3.30 in FY99.

Positive comments by an analyst also boosted shares of Phoenix-based JDA Software (Nasdaq: JDAS). On Monday, Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the provider of supply-chain software for retailers with a "strong buy."

JDA counts among its customers such well-known retailers as Bed, Bath and Beyond (NYSE: BBY) CompUSA (NYSE: CPU), Office Depot International (NYSE: ODP), PETCO Animal Supplies (Nasdaq: PETC), Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) and Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM).

According to Zack's, analysts expect JDA to earn $1.36 per share this year, which would constitute a healthy 43% increase over 1997's $0.95. Analysts are looking for earnings to rise another 43% in 1999, to $1.94. At a current price of around $46, JDAS trades at 34-times estimated 1998 earnings and 24-times the 1999 EPS projection.

Hmmm.

More solidly in the boring category, business-wise, but nevertheless growing at an exhilarating pace is Mobile Mini (Nasdaq: MINI), headquartered right here in Tempe. With a market capitalization of barely $80 million, Mobile Mini is indeed a mini-company. What it does is make heavy-duty steel storage enclosures and portable offices. As I understand it, some of the company's products are even made from recycled ocean-going cargo containers.

Mobile Mini earned $0.32 last year. Analysts project earnings of $0.49 this year -- which would be a 54% gain -- and $0.69 for 1998. At its current price of $10 1/8, MINI trades at less than 15-times estimated 1998 earnings.

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


TODAY'S NUMBERS
Stock  Change    Bid 
 ANDW  -  1/16  21.19 
 CGO   +  7/8   36.19 
 BGP   -  1/16  31.44 
 CSL   -1 1/16  47.00 
 CSCO  +1 15/16 79.44 
 FCH   -  3/16  33.13 
 PNR   -  11/16 41.44 
 TBY   -  1/8    9.75 
 
                   Day   Month    Year  History 
         BORING   +0.02%   0.10%   1.31%  27.47% 
         S&P:     +0.24%   2.53%  15.25%  79.92% 
         NASDAQ:  +0.73%   1.23%  14.67%  72.99% 
  
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     31.44   179.29% 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst    35.93     79.44   121.07% 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     47.00    78.54% 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     36.19    56.94% 
   5/20/98  400 TCBY Enter    10.05      9.75    -2.94% 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair       43.74     41.44    -5.27% 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui    37.59     33.13   -11.88% 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor    26.09     21.19   -18.79% 
  
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  12575.00  $8072.51 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst  5389.99  11915.63  $6525.64 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   9400.00  $4135.01 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   5428.13  $1969.39 
   5/20/98  400 TCBY Enter  4018.00   3900.00  -$118.00 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair     4374.25   4143.75  -$230.50 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui  7518.00   6625.00  -$893.00 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor  5218.00   4237.50  -$980.50 
  
                              CASH   $5511.82 
                             TOTAL  $63736.82