Cuts at J&J
Plus, Touchstone Friday

by Vince Hanks (TMFElwood@aol.com)

NORTHVILLE, MI (Dec. 4, 1998) -- Good Times may be over for some employees of ol' J&J. Over the next eighteen months our company will close 36 of its 158 manufacturing plants worldwide, eliminating 5,800 positions from its workforce of 94,000. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) will add 1,700 new positions, however, placing the net reduction in jobs at 4,100, or 4%. The company will take a one-time after tax charge of $800 million against fourth quarter earnings as a result of the restructuring, as well as write-offs associated with the DePuy acquisition.

Drastic erosion of J&J's coronary stent market share, down to 9% from a near monopoly in recent years, as well as losing the battle in the allergy medication market to Schering-Plough's (NYSE: SGP) Claritin, were contributing factors leading to the shakeup. The world's fifth-leading pharmaceutical manufacturer hopes to raise cash for research and development by streamlining operations and increasing efficiency. We'll look deeper into the changes at J&J in the weeks ahead.

Sales are a growin' inside Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). Company spokesman Homer Simpson said he sees fourth quarter revenues rising 8 to 10 percent above the third quarter's results. Originally, an increase of 3 to 5 percent was expected. The company also plans to place more emphasis on its Internet business in 1999. Okay, it wasn't really Homer Simpson that released this information. He was busy napping.

Touchstone Friday. A seesaw week for the holdings in the DRIPfolio, as the market continued its short-term schizophrenia. Mere ripples in the arctic sea for us, being Fools that we are, with focus on decades and not days.

On Monday, we talked about giving stocks as gifts. A very Foolish notion, indeed. I can't think of an offering that better reflects the holiday spirit (except perhaps a lifesaving organ donation) than the gift of a more secure, self-reliant future that can result from learning about and investing in the stock market.

On Tuesday, we encouraged you to consider an Investment Club. Foolish Investment Clubs are proliferating like Tribbles since the launch of our new Investment Club Forum. Join or create one of your own!

On Wednesday, Brian walked us through the mega-merger of Mobil (NYSE: MOB) and Exxon (NYSE: XON), touching on the highlights of the proposed deal, as well as reflecting on the tremendous potential for creative nomenclature when oil companies merge. Don't forget to share your suggestions for renaming Exxon Mobil on the DRIP Companies message board.

Our minds were further lubricated Thursday, as Brian provided an excellent in-depth glimpse into OPEC and its future role in the global oil markets. The tide of OPEC influence may be swaying. Drop by the message boards and share your take.

On Monday, Brian's back, dropping the puck on the week with more coverage of the oil industry, and look for a return engagement from our old friend, TMF Runkle, as well.

Have a Foolish weekend!

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12/04/98 Close

Stock Close Change JNJ 81 5/8 +2 1/16 INTC 116 5/16 +6 13/16 CPB 57 3/4 +1 1/4 MEL 67 +3 1/8
Day Month Year History Drip 3.79% 3.82% 32.50% 12.84% S&P 500 2.30% 1.10% 21.24% 23.67% Nasdaq 2.50% 2.75% 27.56% 25.68% Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Current 11/02/98 8.055 CPB $52.880 $57.750 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $80.238 $116.313 11/09/98 8.578 JNJ $74.090 $81.625 10/07/98 1.000 MEL $48.560 $67.000 Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Value Change 11/02/98 8.055 CPB $425.95 $465.18 $39.23 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $780.50 $1131.41 $350.91 11/09/98 8.578 JNJ $635.55 $700.18 $64.63 10/07/98 1.000 MEL $48.56 $67.00 $18.44 Base: $2200.00 Cash: $262.88** Total: $2626.65

The Drip Portfolio has been divided into 93.111 shares with an average purchase price of $23.628 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:
10/24/98: Sent $40 to buy more INTC.
11/24/98: Sent $100 to buy more MEL