The Return of Drip Port Lite
Opening the mailbag

by Vince Hanks (TMFElwood@aol.com)

NORTHVILLE, MI (March 12, 1999) -- Drip Report Lite! is back! Half the calories and one-third the fat of your usual Drip Report (not to mention two-thirds less words), and it's 100% natural! Drip Report Lite! is just the thing to tip off this first weekend of March Madness.

For tonight's edition of DRL!, we'll pluck a couple questions from our reader mailbag, and then move on to an unheavy recap of the week's events.

The first question tonight comes from Dan S., who writes: "When I asked my broker to issue shares to me in order to begin a Drip, they said they offer their own dividend-reinvestment service. Am I just as well off using the broker's Drip?"

Excellent question, Dan! The main difference between company-sponsored Drips and the plans some brokers offer is the ability to make optional cash purchases (OCPs). OCPs allow you to buy stock commission-free and in amounts as low as $10 a month, providing an opportunity to significantly grow your share base over time. Buying additional shares in the broker's plan, you would have to pay the broker's commission rates. If you're not interested in purchasing more shares on a regular basis commission-free, but rather only having dividends reinvested, you're likely as well off with your broker's service for dividends.

We also received a note from south of the border asking: "I live in Brazil, but want to Drip U.S. stocks. Can this be done and are there any disadvantages?"

Roughly half of the dividend reinvestment plans available allow foreign investors, so there should be plenty of fine U.S. companies to choose from. Contact the transfer agents of the plans you're interested in to see if they accept foreign investors.

The only disadvantage I can think of that may exist is when it comes time to pay the tax man. The IRS will require full taxation of any income or capital gains earned in the U.S., and your country may want to tap into those earnings, as well.

Touchstone Friday Lite! Ding. Ding. Ding. Round one of the company-by-company oil sector analysis is officially over. Put on your giant foam "#1" fingers, paint your face in the colors of your favorite oil company, and get ready for round number two!

On Monday, George finished his thoughts on drips and taxes and told us why it's Foolish to do your own taxes.

Brian led the final charge through round one on Tuesday and Wednesday with in-depth analysis of USX-Marathon and Ashland, our final two oil company considerations. Don't forget that it's YOU who will decide the fate of these two companies. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Tell us here: Drip Investing - Companies

Finally, on Thursday, Jeff Foolishly examined the difference between price and value in the stock market.

Have a great weekend and be Foolish!

[To discuss these columns, please visit the Drip Companies message board on the Web.]

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