Join the Club

by Selena Maranjian

Alexandria, VA (Aug. 19, 1998) -- The Cash-King baton has been passed to me for tonight. Those who don't know me might be pleased, eager to read of a new perspective on Cash-King investing. Those who are familiar with my scribblings, though, might be shuddering. They might expect that I'll succumb to my offbeat inclinations and write about something really obscure, like The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon or The Donner Party.

But no. This is Reader Mail day, so I shall stick to questions and answers. Unfortunately, I've never received any Cash-King related mail from Cash-King readers. I'm not one of the people to whom such mail is forwarded. So I shall rely on my imagination and simply pose the questions that are surely confounding many of you.

Q. Are larkspurs and delphiniums related?

A. Most assuredly. Larkspur is a common name for the delphinium.

Q. What are larkspurs and delphiniums, anyway?

A. They're flowers.

Q. What's with all the flower questions?

A. I don't know. I hereby refuse to answer any more flower questions.

Q. On TV stock tickers, I've often wondered what the "10.000s" is when I see something like "BLAH10.000s23 7/8."

A. The "10.000" means 10,000 shares of BLAH have traded. For trades of 10,000 or more, the comma is changed to a period. If fewer than 10,000 shares are traded, the number is rounded to the nearest hundred and the last two zeros are removed. So BLAH 9s23 7/8 means 900 shares traded at a price of $23 7/8 per share. If no number of shares is indicated, it means that it's a "round lot" of 100 shares or an "odd lot" rounded to 100. (Hey -- I'm not responsible for this logic. I'm just trying to explain it.)

Q. Are investment clubs well-suited for Cash-King investing?

A. You betcha. Investment clubs are terrific for all kinds of investors. Imagine that you're a beginning investor. You've read a little in Fooldom about the stock market and know that you want to begin buying stocks. But you're a bit scared, not having the confidence in your stock-studying and stock-picking skills. Enter our friend, the investment club. If you band together with a few friends, colleagues, neighbors or relatives, you can do things together, discussing everything as you go. You can pool your money, contributing, say, $25 each month to your club's account. You can pool research, with every member or two or three members taking the responsibility to study a company or industry and report back to the group. You can learn together, reading articles on aspects of investing (Cash-King portfolio reports, for example) and discussing them together. You can make your purchase and sale decisions together, as well.

Experienced investors can benefit from clubs as well. Pooled research is not something that should be summarily dismissed. If you're a busy Fool, you're going to have trouble carefully researching a dozen companies. But in a club, you might study just one, while eleven colleagues study eleven other companies. It's like a 12-for-1 sale at K-Mart.

The fact that Cash-King investors try to find companies in which to invest for the long haul is especially good for investment clubs. After all, club members will generally want to find great companies, invest in them, and follow them, without trading actively. Club portfolios can grow slowly, with the club buying into a stock as soon as it has accumulated enough money, and then saving up for the next stock.

I'll stop here, but you can read a lot more about investment clubs here at the Fool. You owe it to yourself to consider whether it's right for you. We've got a message folder dedicated to discussing investment clubs -- head over there to ask any questions about how well they work for other Fools. (I've penned a primer on how to start and run a club, which might be of interest to some, as well.)

Remember to keep your club Foolish and friendly, and to provide snacks for attendees. Neglecting these items might lead to trouble. To wit:

"To associate with other like-minded
people in small, purposeful groups is
for the great majority of men and women
a source of profound psychological
satisfaction. Exclusiveness will add to
the pleasure of being several, but at one;
and secrecy will intensify it almost to
-- Aldous Huxley

"He who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else."
-- Samuel Johnson

08/19/98 Close

Stock  Change    Bid 
 AXP   +  5/8   101.00 
 CHV   +  3/16  80.69 
 CSCO  +1 1/16  101.25 
 KO    -  3/8   78.69 
 GPS   -1 5/8   63.50 
 EK      ---    86.88 
 XON   +  9/16  70.75 
 GM    -  3/16  68.56 
 INTC  -1 7/8   89.56 
 MSFT  -  11/16 110.56 
 PFE   +1 1/2   109.00 
 TROW  -1 1/2   36.00 
                  Day   Month    Year  History 
         C-K      -0.57%   0.72%  16.41%  16.41% 
         S&P:     -0.29%  -2.02%   9.66%   9.66% 
         NASDAQ:  -0.67%  -1.59%  11.48%  11.48% 
 Cash-King Stocks 
     Rec'd    #  Security     In At       Now    Change 
     2/3/98   24 Microsoft     78.27    110.56    41.26% 
     2/3/98   22 Pfizer        82.30    109.00    32.44% 
     5/1/98   37 Gap Inc.      51.09     63.50    24.29% 
    6/23/98   23 Cisco Syst    86.35    101.25    17.26% 
    2/27/98   27 Coca-Cola     69.11     78.69    13.86% 
     2/6/98   56 T. Rowe Pr    33.67     36.00     6.91% 
    2/13/98   22 Intel         84.67     89.56     5.77% 
    5/26/98   18 American E   104.07    101.00    -2.95% 
 Foolish Four Stocks 
     Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
    3/12/98   20 Eastman Ko    63.15     86.88    37.57% 
    3/12/98   20 Exxon         64.34     70.75     9.97% 
    3/12/98   15 Chevron       83.34     80.69    -3.19% 
    3/12/98   17 General Mo    72.41     68.56    -5.31% 
 Cash-King Stocks 
     Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
     2/3/98   24 Microsoft   1878.45   2653.50   $775.05 
     2/3/98   22 Pfizer      1810.58   2398.00   $587.42 
     5/1/98   37 Gap Inc.    1890.33   2349.50   $459.17 
    6/23/98   23 Cisco Syst  1985.95   2328.75   $342.80 
    2/27/98   27 Coca-Cola   1865.89   2124.56   $258.67 
     2/6/98   56 T. Rowe Pr  1885.70   2016.00   $130.30 
    2/13/98   22 Intel       1862.83   1970.38   $107.55 
    5/26/98   18 American E  1873.20   1818.00   -$55.20 
 Foolish Four Stocks 
     Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
    3/12/98   20 Eastman Ko  1262.95   1737.50   $474.55 
    3/12/98   20 Exxon       1286.70   1415.00   $128.30 
    3/12/98   15 Chevron     1250.14   1210.31   -$39.83 
    3/12/98   17 General Mo  1230.89   1165.56   -$65.33 
                               CASH     $94.76 
                              TOTAL  $23281.82 
 *Please note: On 8/4/98 $2,000 cash was added to the
portfolio for future investment. This will be reflected
in the numbers as soon as possible.

*The year for the S&P and Nasdaq will be as of 02/03/98