Fool Portfolio Report
Friday, February 23, 1996

By David Gardner (MotleyFool)

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Feb. 23 --The Fool Portfolio closed out a great week with a humdrum day, gaining 0.47%. For the week, the Fool Port rose 5.32%, helped out by strong weekly moves in Sears (up $4 7/8), America Online (up $4), and Iomega (up $1 3/8). This week's surge puts us way ahead of the S&P 500 so far in 1996 (18.53% to 7.01%). As I hope to beat the S&P 500 by 10 or more percentage points every year, I ain't complaining.

There were two stocks of particular note today: Sears (S) and The Gap (GPS). Both posted big gains, despite continued general gloominess about the retail sector. Apparently, others have recognized the particular values in GPS and S that Fools have appreciated for a while now. GPS closed up $2, at $51 3/4, and S was up $2 5/8 to $47 7/8.

This whole experience, the past 18 months of being online, has caused me to reflect some on just what exactly is happening here. Sometimes in the midst of all the excitement, it's possible for one to lose one's perspective, get too caught up in the day-to-day (whether good or bad), and forget the month-to-month and year-to-year. . . the perspectives that really count for us, investors or otherwise.

"Every writer is a kind of second government," writes the Reverend Maurice Boyd of the City Church in New York City, my personal pick as one of the great lesser-known American thinkers and speakers of our era. This is "why totalitarian regimes have always been threatened by their writers, painters, and composers, and have sought to control them." How true.

Of course, it's going way too far to call Wall Street in its present incarnation a "totalitarian regime." But it has remained one of the almost untouchable institutional powers of our American century, with a tight hold on all aspects of money. Whether it's Wall Street's control over the trading of stocks and bonds, its status as one of the biggest of all big-money entities, its expensive suits and two-ton egos, whatever, Wall Street is certainly a regime, if not an Orwellian one.

But the thing about Wall Street, which we've reiterated again and again during our "Motley Fool Investment Guide" book tour, is that Wall Street doesn't want YOU to figure out how to manage your own money. That would make the skyscrapers, the overpaid "professionals," and the market-calling media "gooroos" very vulnerable. To protect itself, Wall Street has spent a great deal of money, and will continue to do so, to convince you that you need an "expert" to manage your money for you, because you simply don't have the time or understanding to do so. And our schools have cooperated, insofar as there is no substantial investment education to be had anywhere from elementary school through graduate school. Amazing.

When you learn how to do it yourself, you don't need Wall Street. You sell out of your professionally-managed, and so often mediocre, mutual funds, say goodbye to the full-service broker who may be getting paid based on how OFTEN your account is being traded (rather than how well it does), and begin a lean, mean future of do-it-yourself market-beating returns. You start to feel Foolish. And then you get Foolish.

For some of us, that process has occurred quickly. For others, gradually. For others, unfortunately, it will never happen, but the world is full of all kinds. So be it. Enough to see that through the power of a vision, and an online technology to back it, The Motley Fool has managed to make a great deal of difference in the lives of increasing numbers of responsible and hard-working Americans. And among those happiest are people who came to Fooldom as rank novices, without the faintest idea of what common stock was until they begin to read, to come back, and to learn.

This is what Boyd means, I think, when he writes, "The deepest need of those who have no vision is to catch the spirit of that solitary man on whose soul has broken a light that does not depart, and who can turn the hearts of others to fire." Except in this case, it hasn't been a "solitary man." Rather, what is so wonderful about Fooldom is that the light shines over this collaborative effort, breaking over the souls of thousands and not departing, eventually spreading wildfire over the hearts of tens of thousands. And it's happened, and will continue happening, with an astounding swiftness. That's how the world changes, and that's why the Wisemen of Wall Street are sometimes unhappy fellows.

Without getting all choked up about it, I find that stunning. It really is great to be alive right now. No wonder the market just keeps hitting new highs!

Today's Moves

AMER + 5/8
AMAT - 1/2
CHV -1
GE + 1/8
GPS +2
IOMG - 3/8
KLAC - 1/2
MDRX - 1/4
S +2 5/8

Today's Numbers

Day Month Year History FOOL +0.47% 11.79% 18.53% 121.33% S&P 500 +0.03% 3.63% 7.01% 43.78% NASDAQ +0.05% 5.46% 6.23% 55.20% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 7.27 55.88 668.26% 5/17/95 1005 Iomega Cor 5.04 15.63 210.15% 8/5/94 165 Sears 28.93 47.88 65.51% 4/20/95 155 The Gap 32.55 51.75 58.99% 8/11/95 95 GenElec 57.91 79.63 37.49% 8/11/95 110 Chevron 49.00 57.13 16.58% 1/29/96 250 Medicis Ph 27.86 28.50 2.30% 8/24/95 100 AppldMatl 57.52 41.88 -27.21% 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 44.71 28.75 -35.70% Rec'd # Security Cost Value Change 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 4945.56 37995.00 $33049.44 8/24/95 100 AppldMatl 5752.49 4187.50 -$1564.99 5/17/95 1005 Iomega Cor 5063.13 15703.13 $10640.00 8/5/94 165 Sears 4772.65 7899.38 $3126.73 4/20/95 155 The Gap 5045.25 8021.25 $2976.00 8/11/95 95 GenElec 5501.87 7564.38 $2062.51 8/11/95 110 Chevron 5389.99 6283.75 $893.76 1/29/96 250 Medicis Ph 6964.99 7125.00 $160.01 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 5812.49 3737.50 -$2074.99 CASH $12147.13 TOTAL $110664.01