Dare to Share
And Mellon is everywhere

by Jeff Fischer (TMFJeff)

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 3, 1998) -- According to the Wise, the stock market languished because investors were waiting for election results. Hmm. As we'll share in a minute, we're in a similar situation: waiting patiently on Fools like you!

Meanwhile, the Drip Port kept fairly steady. Its elected leader of the day was Mellon Bank (NYSE: MEL). On news, the stock rose nearly 3%. Big deal? Thinking about it, that equals two year's worth of typical dividend payments from many Dow stocks, with many of them now yielding only 1.5% or less, including our own Johnson & Johnson.

Mellon continues to surprise to varying degrees, first by refusing a steep premium buy-out offer, next by selling various businesses, and finally -- today -- announcing a strategic agreement with ABN AMRO Bank NV of the Netherlands. The global custody alliance gives Mellon immediate presence in 70 countries through ABN's 1,900 offices. The alliance focuses on financial institutions "seeking both global custody and value added products and services, such as compliance monitoring, investment accounting, performance measurement and analytics. The alliance will market its services worldwide with the exception of Mellon's home market, the United States, and the markets where Mellon has existing alliances with other parties, being Canada, the Nordic countries, Spain and Portugal."

It's interesting to watch Mellon undertake various strategies for growth as -- or even before -- they begin to come to light. We're going to see the company continue to grow its non-interest, higher-margin income businesses, and its mutual fund and brokerage business, among others. Mellon stated of this deal, "[We're] very pleased to establish a worldwide alliance with ABN AMRO in offering value added global securities services."

But today isn't about Mellon. It's about voting and you. Did you vote? (No, not at the polls.) Did you vote on the message board for your favorite oil and gas companies to study?

We received over 200 votes telling us which industry to study, and nearly 70 of those said, "Yo, study oil and gas and related energies." We've narrowed that to oil and gas because we feel that utilities, etc., are too disparate from oil and gas and deserve their own separate consideration. We'll first learn all that we can about oil and gas, decide on our favorite company, and then we'll stack that up against the "Enrons" and other energy-related companies in the world during a second study -- a second study that will happen before we buy anything in this immense industry.

Immense. Think about it: without energy in all its forms, where would the world be? For one, Intel wouldn't exist. In fact, our collective Drip Port wouldn't exist. This column wouldn't. And I'd probably still be a fish monger in St. Jean de Luz, France, as I was when the Fool found me. Energy is an immense field of study and so we're breaking it apart.

Back to the voting: we received 70 votes saying to study primarily oil and gas, and later we received three or four dozen votes telling us which companies to study (we'll compile that list by the end of the week). But -- and it's a large but -- we received only a few posts yesterday sharing knowledge about oil and gas companies. Apparently some Fools are shy when asked to share knowledge, or maybe most Fools don't possess knowledge about the industry, or maybe Fools are still composing their posts. Let's hope it's the latter!

Please post your knowledge this week about oil and gas companies on the Drip Companies message board on the Web, under the title "Our Foolish Study," just as Fool GinnyW did yesterday. Your insight will be summarized and shared here by the end of the week, alongside our list of final companies that we'll put head-to-head against each other. Then, next week we'll formally begin the study, first providing an outline and our intended process. If you don't share your knowledge, we begin the study on lesser ground than we otherwise might. Your input is key in the process now and throughout the study. Please post what you know. That's Foolish!

After posting, take the Fool Poll on this election day. And finally, check out today's Cash-King column which is on DRPs.

Fool on!

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

11/03/98 Close

Stock Close Change CPB 56 0 INTC 90 7/16 -1 3/8 JNJ 82 3/16 + 5/8
Day Month Year History Drip (0.39%) 1.84% 18.72% 1.11% S&P 500 (0.07%) 1.11% 14.47% 16.77% Nasdaq (0.69%) 0.96% 13.89% 12.21% Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Current 09/02/98 8.027 CPB $52.867 $56.000 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $80.238 $90.438 10/07/98 7.850 JNJ $71.405 $82.188 Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Value Change 09/02/98 8.027 CPB $424.36 $449.51 $25.15 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $780.50 $879.72 $99.22 10/07/98 7.850 JNJ $560.53 $645.17 $84.65 Base: $2000.00 Cash: $186.08** Total: $2160.48

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:
09/21/98: Sent $77 to buy/enroll in MEL.
10/24/98: Sent $40 to buy more INTC.
10/26/98: Sending $60 to buy more JNJ.