Touchstone Friday
Plus, help us help Drip Port

by Jeff Fischer (TMFJeff)

ALEXANDRIA, VA (April 30, 1999) -- April, the season of blooming trees and company earnings, has come and gone. All in all, both experiences (the blooming trees and earnings) were pleasurable. (Ah-choo!) Three of our companies announced first quarter results that topped expectations, while Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB) stayed quiet. Campbell will report earnings on May 18.

By the way, for quarterly earnings dates, split dates, and other excellent information, bookmark the Fool's quotes and portfolio area if you haven't already done so. Also in that area, you can enter ye olde portfolio. With your portfolio on the Fool, you can easily click to these columns, daily newsfeeds, the message boards, the Fool news, and more -- all of it free.

Back to April...

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), now at $61 3/16, began the month at $59 9/16, so it ended April marginally higher. Earnings were strong, but anticipation of a (typically) slow summer put the stock on hold. Johnson & Johnson (Nasdaq: JNJ) began April at $93 1/2, rose as high as $103 on a strong first quarter, and declined today on an analyst downgrade, ending at $97 1/2. We recently bought more J&J at $89. All systems are "go" in its business. Mellon Bank (NYSE: MEL) started the month at $70 3/8 and steadily rose to today's close of $74 5/16 on another strong first quarter and dividend hike. Campbell Soup began at $40 11/16 and ended at $40 3/4 -- all that volatility for naught.

The Drip Port gained 3.36% this month while the S&P 500 gained 3.79% and the Nasdaq added 3.29%, so we "split the uprights." Drip Port has existed for 21 months. We have invested $2,400 in the market, more than half of it in the past year, and now the portfolio is valued at $2,948. We've earned $548, or 22.8%. In the same amount of time, we would have earned about $50 in a savings account, or 2%.

Numbers aside, the Drip Port and the Fool in general are trying to provide a service that is helpful to investors -- to you -- on a regular basis. Do we succeed? How can we improve? If you have suggestions for improving this portfolio and these reports, please post them this weekend on the Improve our Foolish Portfolios message board. Anything at all --suggestions on column topics, suggestions on presentation, anything. We appreciate and seek feedback. Working in a vacuum is far from our forte. We like to throw the doors WIDE OPEN, let all the light in (all the truth), and all the neighbors, too, and work together.

In that same light, if you're interested in writing a Drip Port column to share your experiences, or if you have specific lessons to share, please e-mail me at JeffF@fool.com. We'll happily work to publish your Foolish words in this space.

Touchstone Friday
Like the "Flavor of the Day" at Ben & Jerry's, we slurped on a different topic every day this week.

On Monday, George discussed the importance of brand name recognition. On Tuesday, we defined direct investing, addressing dividend reinvestment plans (DRPs) and direct stock plans (DSPs) -- the advantages of each and the differences between the two. On Wednesday, we considered Coca-Cola's dilemma. Mergers are being blocked (Mexico is blocking the Cadbury Schweppes deal, too, since our column was written), but that's not all. Visit ye olde column. On Thursday Brian considered another long-term winner: Wrigley. Both Coke and Wrigley adorn our Watch List.

Next week we welcome May -- Foolishly. Fool on!

The Fool is hiring. Answer the call.

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