Touchstone Friday
Gushing of news and earnings

by Jeff Fischer (TMFJeff)

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Oct. 16, 1998) -- A busy week leaves us with Touchstone Friday. Take a deep breath, grab a refreshing drink (if you don't already have one -- after all, who goes online these days without one, eh?) and be ready to finish reading this column in about forty seconds.

It'll be that quick and painless.

Again the past week was volatile, but in the end the S&P and Nasdaq jumped 7% and 8%. This vindicates the long-term investor, sure, but to focus on such a short span of time begs the reminder that goes: "Consider, sir, how insignificant this will appear a twelve-month hence." That was said by Samuel Johnson more than twelve months ago.

The past week the Drip Port was busy.

On Monday, Brian talked about opportunity costs, part one, and on Tuesday our two active holdings, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported earnings, which we covered that day. We also covered Intel's conference call. (By the way, there are a handful of new conference call summaries listed in our conference call synopses area, including one of Carlisle Companies (NYSE: CSL), which is an interesting DRP candidate and a Boring Port holding.)

Behind curtain number three this week... was Wednesday.

Wendesday was absolutely monumental for the Drip Port. Wednesday made the front page of newspapers as far away as Japan. To a crowded press room of reporters from around the world, we announced our next industry for study to the delight of everyone. There was much rejoicing, and even sobbing. But it actually wasn't our announcement to make. Readers like you choose the industry. We're going to study integrated oil companies next. How far does that term stretch? Which companies will we consider? We'll tackle that next week.

Next, on Thursday Brian presented "Opportunity Costs, Part Two" -- a real-life story of a GM investor. The lesson: reinvest dividends. They do matter. Brian was much more entertaining in presenting the lesson, so if you haven't read it, spin the dial... give it a Foolish gander.

Next week we'll begin our oil study by first compiling a list of companies to review, and we'll be asking for your participation. We'll also discuss Johnson & Johnson next week, and possibly Intel as well if time permits. On Friday, Intel announced that it was taking a $500 million stake, or 6%, in memory leader Micron Technology. Also on Friday, Mellon Bank (NYSE: MEL) was upgraded by a large broker, sending the stock price higher. We're waiting for our DRP account with Mellon to activate.

Finally, we received our recent Johnson & Johnson statement. On October 7, we bought $100 worth at $77.754 per share. Adding any additional costs, we paid... $77.754 per share. After reporting earnings the stock achieved a new high of $82 3/4.

If you have questions about anything, from how to begin Drips to how birds fly, please visit the Drip message boards linked in the top right of this page. Have a Foolish weekend!

--Jeff Fischer

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

10/16/98 Close

Stock Close Change CPB 82 7/8 + 1/4 INTC 83 3/4 - 13/16 JNJ 82 7/8 + 1/4
Day Month Year History Drip (1.08%) 3.42% 15.89% (1.31%) S&P 500 0.85% 3.88% 8.86% 11.05% Nasdaq 0.62% (4.30%) 3.22% 1.70% Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Current 09/02/98 8.027 CPB $52.867 $57.000 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $80.238 $83.750 10/07/98 7.850 JNJ $71.405 $82.875 Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Value Change 09/02/98 8.027 CPB $424.36 $457.54 $33.18 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $780.50 $814.66 $34.16 10/07/98 7.850 JNJ $560.53 $650.57 $90.04 Base: $2000.00 Cash: $186.08** Total: $2108.85

The Drip Portfolio has been divided into 85.474 shares with an average purchase price of $23.399 per share.

The portfolio began with $500 on July 28, 1997, adds $100 on the 1st of every month, and the goal is to have $150,000 in stock by August of the year 2017.

**Transactions in progress:
9/21/98: Sent $77 to buy/enroll in MEL.