The Year of the Drip
What does 1999 have in store?

by Brian Graney (TMFPanic@aol.com)

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Dec. 31, 1998) -- If 1999 is anything like 1998...

Fools will be another year older and another year Foolish, thanks to another 250 or so free daily Drip Port reports... The share price of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) will continue to appreciate annually at this year's 70% rate, a pace that puts the stock on a course to hit the $1,000 per share mark sometime in late 2002 or early 2003 (assuming no stock splits, of course). Tom Kurlak will be left scratching his head again at year-end... Speaking of craniums, Jeff Fischer will continue to cut his own hair, saving another estimated $110 in yearly barbershop costs.

Mark McGuire will hit another 70 home runs in a single baseball season. If McGuire can keep it up, he will eclipse Hank Aaron's career record of 755 home runs in 2003. If he falls flat on his face next year, he will be traded to the perpetually jinxed Phillies and never hit another home run again... The Gardner brothers will produce yet another Foolish book, filled with more insights and bad puns than the last. At this rate, Dave and Tom are making Stephen King and John Grisham look downright lazy. The New York Times Bestseller List should probably be renamed The Motley Fool Bestseller List to avoid confusion... The market capitalization of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) will continue to expand at this year's 33% annual rate. That puts J&J on track to reach the $1 trillion market capitalization level by 2006 -- equaling the 1995 gross domestic products of South Korea, Mexico, and Sweden combined.

If 1999 is anything like 1998...

Wall Street's Wiseguys will again hit the airwaves, magazine racks, and financial Web pages in droves and tell everyone to buy stocks just when the Dow is hitting its high points of the year (as it did in July and again in November this year) and to sell just when the benchmark is hitting its lows (as it did in August). Of course, we have no idea what the market averages will do in the coming year, and we really don't care. But it's a pretty fair bet that the Wise will continue to give investors exactly the wrong advice at precisely the wrong time, regardless of the date on the calendar... Jeff and I will remain carless, mooching a combined 520 rides off kind-hearted Fools next year. In lieu of sending us money for a jalopy, please make a charitable donation to Share Our Strength if you haven't already.

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) will still be mistakenly referred to as a "tech stock," even though it has more in common with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) than Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) when business models are considered. This is kind of like calling a police officer a gunsmith just because he happens to have a .40 caliber on his hip... The words "recession" and "correction" will continue to be batted around by the financial press with the same alacrity that magicians say "shazzam" and "abracadabra"... However, the most overused phrase spewing from the mouths of financial commentators will continue to be "the tech heavy Nasdaq." Can't anyone come up with a new expression? Why doesn't Nasdaq just give up and rename itself "the tech heavy stock market for the next 100 years?"

If 1999 is anything like 1998...

The Dow Jones Industrial Average will advance at 1998's 16% annual clip, hitting the magical Dow 10,000 point mark along the way. Extending that growth rate out into eternity, the Dow will pass the 20,000 point mark sometime in 2003. At that rate, CNBC will waste investors' time with a new hour-long "Dow 1,000 point milestone" special every 5 months or so. Get those VCRs ready... Teenagers throughout the U.S. will continue to eschew the three R's (reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic) for the three B's (baggy pants, Backstreet Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) The majority of U.S. high schools will also maintain their unwillingness to offer students structured classes in personal finance and investing.

Dozens of U.S. banks will continue this year's merger trend and agree to be acquired by other banks. Drip Port holding Mellon Bank (NYSE: MEL) will probably not be one of them... The Fool will continue to reinvent itself and come up with new-fangled products, such as this year's Breakfast With the Fool and the 1999 Industry Focus... The Drip Port will reluctantly put off sending more money to Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB) in light of the new fees the company instituted on optional cash payments this year. By the way, what ever happened to bugging Campbell en masse about its fees, as Jeff proposed many moons ago? Where's our rabble-rousing spirit? Get on the Drip Companies message board and start agitating!... Jeff and I will be asked (again) to limit the number of bad jokes per column to three or less. We will laugh (again) in our editors' faces.

Finally, if 1999 turns out to be similar to 1998 in any way at all, then it will be another bang-up year for long-term Drippers such as ourselves. By making small, regular purchases of shares of world-leading companies over time, we believe the Drip Port is going to continue the market-beating ways of its first full year in the decades to come. We're looking forward to 1999, and we hope you are, too.

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

12/31/98 Close
Stock Close Change JNJ 83 7/8 -1/8 INTC 118 9/16 -5/8 MEL 68 3/4 +3/8 CPB 55 +1/16
Day Month Year History Drip (0.24%) 4.64% 33.55% 13.73% *S&P 500 (0.12%) 5.47% 28.58% 29.34% Nasdaq 1.19% 12.47% 39.63% 37.58% *S&P 500 numbers have been adjusted to reflect dividends. Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Current 11/02/98 8.055 CPB $52.880 $55.000 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $80.238 $118.563 11/09/98 8.578 JNJ $74.090 $83.875 10/07/98 1.000 MEL $48.560 $68.750 Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Value Change 11/02/98 8.055 CPB $425.95 $443.03 $17.08 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $780.50 $1153.30 $372.80 11/09/98 8.578 JNJ $635.55 $719.48 $83.93 10/07/98 1.000 MEL $48.56 $68.75 $20.19 Base: $2200.00 Cash: $262.88** Total: $2647.43

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.
12/19/98: Sent $100 to buy more MEL.