Boring Portfolio

Snoozy Summer Day
... puts Andrew to sleep

by Greg Markus
(TMF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Aug. 19, 1998) -- Stocks fell in light trading Wednesday, ending a two-day rally. The S&P 500 lost 0.29%, the Nasdaq fell 0.67%, and the Russell 2000 index of stocks of smaller companies dropped 1.33%.

The Boring Portfolio retreated a comparatively modest 0.18%, thanks to continued strength in shares of Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), which gained $1 1/16 to $101 1/4, and a recovering Borders Group (BGP), which rose $11/16 to $27 7/8.

I saw no major news on either company, although Cisco did announce that Bill Carrico has been appointed as senior vice president in charge of Cisco's division that deals with the small and medium-size business market.

Carrico succeeds Howard Charney, who is relinquishing his full-time role at the company for family reasons and will assume a part-time role advising CEO John Chambers.

Carrico, age 48, co-founded Precept Software with his wife, Judy Estrin. As you may recall, Cisco acquired Precept earlier this year and Estrin became Cisco's chief technical officer.

As for Borders, the company announced two grand-openings. Neither, alas, was that of Borders.com. But if you live near Cerritos, California or Tulsa, Oklahoma, you might wander over to your local Borders superstore this weekend and partake in the festivities.

Joining Cisco and Borders on the upside -- if barely -- were shares of FelCor Lodging Trust (NYSE: FCH). FCH edged up a 'teenth to $23 13/16.

On the downside, shares of Andrew Corp. (Nasdaq: ANDW) managed to set yet another 52-week low, losing a dollar to close at -- believe it or not -- $14 5/8. Trading volume was about average.

I saw no news about Andrew.

Rarely do I bother pulling up intra-day trading charts, but I was curious to see what happened to poor Andrew today.

What I discovered was that the stock was flat-lining along pretty much at its previous closing price until about the last half-hour of trading. After that, the stock dropped sharply -- and on not particularly remarkable volume.

You'll interpret that as you will -- and perhaps it's best not to bother with interpretations at all. But I'd guess that the price drop has more to say about the relative absence of buyers on a late summer afternoon than it does about anything fundamental at Andrew.

That said, it's fair to ask (as some folks have) why the Borefolio persists in hanging on to this former prince of a stock that, for the past year at least, can't seem to buy a break.

My reply is simply that unloved Andrew stock represents precisely the kind of good value that should interest Boring investors.

What we have in Andrew is a leader in the telecommunications equipment industry, a supplier of the cable, antennas, connectors, and what-not that the build-out of wireless communications and digital television will require. Although the share price may be shabby, there's nothing shabby about Andrew's 21% return on equity or 16% return on assets.

At today's silly price of under $15, one can buy at a multiple almost half that of the S&P 500's a stake in a company that long has grown -- and promises to continue to grow -- profits at an annual rate in the high teens.

At least that's how I see it.

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


08/19/98 Close

Stock  Change    Bid 
 ANDW  -1       14.63 
 CGO   -1       35.06 
 BGP   +  11/16 27.88 
 CSL   -  1/4   44.81 
 CSCO  +1 1/16  101.25 
 FCH   +  1/16  23.81 
 PNR   -  13/16 37.75 
 TBY   -  3/16  7.31 
 
                   Day   Month    Year  History 
         BORING   -0.18%  -3.81%  -3.63%  21.27% 
         S&P:     -0.29%  -2.02%  13.15%  76.64% 
         NASDAQ:  -0.67%  -1.59%  17.34%  77.02% 
  
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst    35.93    101.25   181.77% 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     27.88   147.64% 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     44.81    70.23% 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     35.06    52.06% 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair       43.74     37.75   -13.70% 
   5/20/98  400 TCBY Enter    10.05      7.31   -27.20% 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui    37.59     23.81   -36.65% 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor    26.09     14.63   -43.94% 
  
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst  5389.99  15187.50  $9797.51 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  11150.00  $6647.51 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99   8962.50  $3697.51 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   5259.38  $1800.64 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair     4374.25   3775.00  -$599.25 
   5/20/98  400 TCBY Enter  4018.00   2925.00 -$1093.00 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor  5218.00   2925.00 -$2293.00 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui  7518.00   4762.50 -$2755.50 
  
                              CASH   $5686.93 
                             TOTAL  $60633.81 
 

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