Fool Portfolio Report
Wednesday, April 17, 1996

by Tom Gardner (TomGardner)

Feast your eyes on the earnings of the day from Merck, IBM, Coca-Cola, Ford, AT&T. . . they're telling us where the money is flowing and in what quantities. And we're trying in Fooldom to estimate why. Today's numbers and returns:

a. Ford (up $1 1/4 to $36 5/8) walloped projections by 20 cents;

b. Merck (up $1/4 to $60 1/4) met estimates of 70 cents;

c. IBM (down $10 1/4, to $105 1/4) beat estimates by 7 cents;

d. Coke (down $1 1/4 to $80 1/8) missed estimates by a penny;

e. AT&T (down $1/2 to $61 3/8) trailed estimates by a penny;

(Aside: General Motors, Beating the Dow stock, tells us about other auto companies. Lookie there at Ford.)

Conventional Wisdom once held that these earnings reports and the attendant moves simply could not be understood. Why IBM *beat* estimates and then fell 9% on the day might once have seemed baffling.

Today in Fooldom, thankfully, we don't just throw up the numbers and leave it be. Instead, we get hold of those EPS figures and then work through the balance sheets and cashflow statements -- since means not the ends, the process not the consequence, and the future not the present, is what earnings reports are all about in our minds. But we don't even leave it at that. Courtesy of MFs Templar (Randy) and Debit (Debbie), we now feature recaps of company conference calls with analysts, conversations that used to be walled off from individual investors.

The Foolish aim is to bring down these walls, level playing fields, unlock these doors, put microphones under quiet whispers, give everyone the same decoder ring---and network together those rings so that we can talk about those once secret messages. (Look out, Fool-Mart!) What IBM said today after their earnings announcement inspired the selling. And coverage of those comments jumped up online almost instantaneously here in Fooldom. IBMs talk and reports of loads of other earnings reports and conference calls can be accessed every day via The Evening News. Check it out.

Tomorrow's a big day.

A call over to Medicis Pharmaceuticals confirmed that the Company will be releasing earnings tomorrow at market-open. Fool estimates are sitting at 31 cents. Keep your eyes peeled. Then on Friday, when the Company speaks with analysts, The Frazzled Fool will sit with telephone to ear and hands on keyboard, transcribing comments online. Medicis closed today up $1/2 to $28. We're back in the black; MDRX has made us $35.01 now. Heck, we're borrowing on the plastic for a nice dinner tonight. We'll pay it down by month's end (cf. Settle Your Personal Finances, First: Investing, Foolishly).

At the other end of the day, when the bells rattle and the shouts on the floor die down, Iomega Corporation will come out with their first quarter earnings. And the chatter will move from trading floor to Fooldom. Street estimates sit at 11 cents. Fool-Folder consensus estimates are hovering in the 14 cent range, with sales projections around $205 million. Advertising---an investment---should bring down earnings, but our eyes here at Global Fortress of Folly are going to sit on the sales and gross margins figures.

We'll also throw an ear to any mention of new partnerships, but sadly that ear will be listening to a taped version of the conference call, anytime after 6:30 PM EST. To listen to the conference-call tape, call 1-800-633-8284, then enter password: Iomega---again, after 6:30 PM EST. It's a shame that The Fool will not be in on this call, live. And kind of kooky, when you consider that we'll be reporting back live from the Microsoft call at 5:30 PM. Oh well.

Iomega closed down $3/4 today.

We look forward to the aggressive analysis, thoughtful considerations, and intelligent postings about Medicis and Iomega earnings on our stock boards over the next 24 hours. A reminder here that on Friday night at 8 PM, we'll be featuring an auditorium-event review of Iomega: the earnings report, the business in present form, and the prospects going forward. Come one, come many and get your questions answered by our MF staff. ElvisStock might even show up for a jam session. More details of the auditorium event will show up on the mainscreen tomorrow.

With Medicis up strong heading into earnings and Iomega soft, The Fool Portfolio fell with the market today, posting 0.25% declines versus an S&P 500 drop of 0.53%. There were no meaningful moves today, but for America Online's climb of $1 1/8 to $56 3/8. AOL is now within striking distance of its all-time high of $60. Discussions of this company and stock over the past two weeks in our America Online stock folder have been instructive. Join in.

Not much else. We're just plugging away here at Fool HQ, hammering through reviews of as many earnings reports as we can, aiming to amuse and inform, and angling to help you beat the market. Clicking through Fooldom this evening has been very satisfying. We've made a good start toward what we wanted to accomplish when we threw open our investment approach for all eyes to behold and all minds to critique three years ago. Our Web Site is now officially open, and we'll be building aggressively there in the months and years ahead. To access it, try: .

You'll get the News, the Portfolio Reports, investment articles, Today's Pitch, the Fribbles. . . I believe we've made a good first step toward becoming the biggest financial-services provider on the Web. Drop by, and tell your friends who haven't yet wisened up to America Online, to jump into Webbed Folly.

To think this has all come together in less than two years. It's exciting.

But, we promise you. . . you ain't seen nothing yet.

Transmitted: 4/17/96 7:03 PM

Today's Numbers

Day Month Year History FOOL -0.25% 7.32% 36.40% 154.70% S&P 500 -0.53% -0.60% 4.17% 39.97% NASDAQ -0.36% 1.77% 6.53% 55.64% *Scroll down or expand screen for full portfolio accounting AMER +1 1/8...AMAT - 3/8...CHV - 5/8...GE + 1/2...GPS - 3/8 ...IOMG - 3/4...KLAC -1...MDRX + 1/2...S - 7/8... Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 7.27 56.38 675.14% 5/17/95 1005 Iomega Cor 5.04 31.63 527.74% 8/5/94 165 Sears 28.93 52.25 80.64% 4/20/95 310 The Gap 16.28 28.63 75.88% 8/11/95 95 GenElec 57.91 78.25 35.11% 8/11/95 110 Chevron 49.00 56.00 14.29% 1/29/96 250 Medicis Ph 27.86 28.00 0.51% 8/24/95 100 AppldMatl 57.52 36.63 -36.33% 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 44.71 25.63 -42.69% Rec'd # Security Cost Value Change 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 4945.56 38335.00 $33389.44 8/24/95 100 AppldMatl 5752.49 3662.50 -$2089.99 5/17/95 1005 Iomega Cor 5063.13 31783.13 $26720.00 8/5/94 165 Sears 4772.65 8621.25 $3848.60 4/20/95 310 The Gap 5045.25 8873.75 $3828.50 8/11/95 95 GenElec 5501.87 7433.75 $1931.88 8/11/95 110 Chevron 5389.99 6160.00 $770.01 1/29/96 250 Medicis Ph 6964.99 7000.00 $35.01 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 5812.49 3331.25 -$2481.24 CASH $12147.13 TOTAL $127347.76