Fool Portfolio Report
Monday, October 14, 1996

by Jeff Fischer (MF BudFox)

ALEXANDRIA, Va., October 14, 1996 -- A bizarre rumor was floating around Fool Headquarters last week, so I spent much of my weekend investigating. I snuck into the office late Saturday night and, shockingly, found the rumor to be true. Unbelievably true! So what did I do?

In the spirit of the 90's, I recorded everything that happened -- the unsuspecting parties having had no idea of being monitored -- and then I booked a red-eye flight to New York, hoping to sell the dirt to a tabloid for a huge sum of money.

Unfortunately, the tabloids weren't biting. They were too busy compiling their latest piece. Did you hear? Somehow, Elvis's own ghost is haunting the real Elvis, who is alive and well at this moment, living on a beach in Maui. Incredible. They had that story, so maybe you can't blame them for not taking mine. I must print it, though, right now.

The Fool Port and Boring Port have personalities of their own. They experience undulations of spirit by the hour, much like real people. But, frighteningly, the Ports have recently developed emotions, genuine character, and even -- yes -- real human desires. They are not simply "Fool port and Boring port." They are Monsieur Boring and Madame Fool, and they believe they are real people! But, stranger than that: the two of them have been having a torrid affair! Torrid! You don't believe me? I have it all on tape, and I'm going to transcribe it -- or parts of it -- for you right now. Let me warn you, though. It's sickening!

Okay. Hal, can we roll that tape? Er... wait a second. I'll type the scene for you:

Near midnight Saturday, all is dark in Fool HQ as I sneak into the office and, crouching low, crawl up to a computer and turn it on. I go directly to the Hall of Portfolios.

There, behind their proper buttons, seemingly rest the Fool Port and Boring Port. I click on Boring. Nothing. Boring isn't home. I click the Fool Port. Strange noises come from behind the Fool Port, loud noise -- fighting. Monsieur Boring is visiting Madame Fool, top hat on his head, cane in his hand, waving the cane about, gesticulating wildly... I grab the recorder... zoom in!... tape it!... ha ha!... no one deserves privacy anymore!

"Madame Fool," Monsieur Boring exclaims, "Please listen to me, please! I love you!"

"Oh, go on," Madame Fool says.

"Madame Fool, I offer you so much," Boring proclaims. "Look what I have in my Port! Look at my friends. I offer you the security of a roof over your head with Greentree Financial, and the benefits of Oxford Health Plans. I offer the nobility of a steadily progressive lifestyle. But you throw it all away -- and for what? For what!?"

Madame Fool shrugs.

Boring answers, "So you can run around with a tramp like America Online instead, that's why!," he shouts. "America Online has been in so many hands the last several months, it's sickening! That man has no respect for himself! He churns through so many relationships he's a revolving door. Why do you keep him with you?"

"You leave America Online out of this, Boring!" Madame Fool demands. "He may be going through rough times, and yes, he's allowed many people to use him and dump him, but he has a good heart! He'll make it someday. He'll be someone big again, and before you know it. You'll see!"

"We'll see, yes." Monsieur Boring says. He calms down and removes a pipe from his coat pocket. He lights up, and smoke rises. "But what of this Iomega chap?" he asks. "What a volatile bastard, Iomega. How can you stand him?"

Madame Fool blushes. "He's exciting." She twirls her hair. "And that's not all. He's really going to BE somebody, too. He's making all the right moves."

"Maybe so, Madame Fool," Boring contemplates. "But with me you're given instant security. Very safe, but progressing at the same time. Security with the likes of Carlisle Companies, and Texas Industries."

Madame Fool replies, "That's all very fine, but I already have the security you speak of. I have AT&T, and...."

"That old goat!" Boring interrupts.

"Enough!" Madame Fool exclaims. She calms. "I also have GM, and 3M, you forget, and Chevron. I have all the security I need. I have The Foolish Four." She stops and looks at Monsieur Boring; he's slowly deflating. "Oh, dear Boring, don't look so sad," she says. "I appreciate you, and at times you do much better than me. But we both know our places, please. Oh, don't be sad."

"Chevron," Boring pouts. "That big oil bag."

"Chevron is actually very ingenious," Madame Fool states proudly. Monsieur Boring is crestfallen. But then stands straight again. He's proud of himself, and of his accomplishments. Besides, he knows Madame Fool will turn to him when volatility shakes her up. She's a natural Zelda Fitzgerald. She'll come crying to him. But no, he doesn't want to wait that long! Suddenly he draws on a final straw.

"I have Cisco Systems," Boring reminds Madame Fool. He sees her melt a little. "That's right," he says, "Cisco Systems. I have Cisco Systems." Madame Fool moves closer. "Cisco can be all yours," Boring whispers. Madame Fool leans close. "All yours," he whispers again. She leans in very close. She's known for being unpredictable, a bit volatile, exciting, daring...

"Kiss me, Monsieur Boring!" she pleads.

They embrace, when from down the Hall the shout comes, "J'en ai marre!" as Trois Com strides forward. "I've had enough!" Trois Com repeats.

"Oh, It's that French goon," Boring groans.

"Actually I'm from California," 3Com says. "Though David has taken to calling me Trois Com."

"That's right!" Madame Fool exclaims, "I have 3Com! I don't need your Cisco, Boring! I have 3Com!"

"You best be leaving," 3Com says calmly to Boring, while palming an ethernet card in his pocket. Monsieur Boring leaves. He doesn't need the humiliation. He's doing fine on his own. He has his own success to tend to. He just wanted to share some of it. But heck, he doesn't need Madame Fool. She's obviously wrapped up in her own exciting world.

As Monsieur Boring exits through the Fool Port icon, and slips down to his Boring Port, he hears Madame Fool shout, "Monsieur Boring...I do respect you! And myself, too! I never dated that Quarterdeck guy! I dumped him the minute I saw him!"


That's what I witnessed. Can you blame me for being shaken up, or for wanting to make some bucks off the story? I did call CNBC today and I may be able to tell the whole story tomorrow night, Tuesday, live, on-air, immediately after the Fool's meaningful and useful appearance at 7:30 p.m. I'm still in negotiations with CNBC, though admittedly running my story would be a stretch for them. I actually may have better luck with the tabloid show "Rock Bottom!," which is the Homer Simpson equivalent of "Hard Copy."

Speaking of tabloid news, AT&T (T) today announced they are suing arch-rival MCI Communications, claiming MCI has infringed on AT&T brand names which include the word "True". No kidding. MCI is launching a product called "MCI True Rate," but AT&T has trademarked the word "True" with its "True Savings" campaign. So, mental note here: "True" is trademarked. Perhaps MCI can use, "For Real Rate;" Or, "Not False Rate." Or, go to broken Spanish, and use "Verdad Rate."

America Online (AOL) made another new 52 week low today. Much discussion of the stock takes place in the Fool AOL message board, of course, and on Sunday I added to this in a three part post, which is partly why I didn't write in depth about AOL here again today. Also, tonight Randy Befumo (MF Templar) has written about AOL in tonight's edition of The Evening News. Take a look.

Fool short Quarterdeck (QDEK) released CleanSweep 3.0 software today, which is an upgrade to its Windows cleanup program for Windows95 and WindowsNT. CleanSweep frees up hard disk space by removing unwanted programs and by quickly finding and removing duplicate files, as well as infrequently used files (doh!) on Windows 3.1 to NT. It will ship this month for about $39.95 a copy. The stock was fairly flat as the market rose.

Foolish Four GM (GM) labored $1 3/4 higher today despite continued employee relation problems. News came that 5,911 U.S. employees have been idled as a result of the Candian Auto Workers strike. The stock probably rose with Chrysler (C), which announced record earnings a whole 40% above estimates for last quarter. Meanwhile, Chevron (CHV) burned up to a new all-time high, closing at $67 7/8, as oil stocks were strong.

Also, Iomega (IOMG) rose a whole $ 7/8 today, or about 4%. The company is due to announce earnings Thursday, and though expectations are not extremely high for the past quarter, Iomega is entering what should be their strongest quarter of the year, and the conference call may reflect that optimism.

Speaking of earnings, Intel Corp (INTC) destroyed earnings estimates today after the market closed, posting $1.48 per share against estimates of only $1.25. This just may hint, just hint, that perhaps things aren't so glum for the leading technology companies -- or for the technology sector as a whole -- as people were predicting this summer. Hope you didn't buy into (or sell into) that gloom and doom this summer, but instead kept a long-term Foolish perspective.

Finally, the Fool beat the S&P 500 today, but lost to the Nasdaq, both of which are in record territory. Incidentally, the Dow closed above 6000 today for the first time.

Foolishly, I say, "So what?" It's a number.

But numbers which end in "000" have always caused people great concern. I don't know why. At 4000 the Dow was doomed. At 5000, too -- especially at 5000 (because it's half way to 10,000, of course!); and now at 6,000 it's doomed again, the Nervous Nellies claim. Why, when an index of 30 stocks reaches 6000, the entire market is doomed, I don't know. But then again, the world is going to end in the year 2000, as well. Right?

Right. And portfolios can talk.

Happy Columbus Day, Fool!

Transmitted: 10/14/96

Today's Numbers

Day Month Year History FOOL +0.58% -3.08% 47.95% 176.26% S&P 500 +0.41% 2.36% 14.22% 53.48% NASDAQ +0.65% 2.40% 19.41% 74.45% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 5/17/95 2010 Iomega Cor 2.52 23.88 847.81% 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 7.27 22.88 214.52% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 67.75 44.58% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 66.88 32.99% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 71.38 8.68% 9/27/96 -890 Quarterdec 7.08 6.63 6.48% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 47.75 0.28% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 51.97 51.88 -0.19% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 38.75 -2.09% 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 44.71 24.63 -44.92% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 5/17/95 2010 Iomega Cor 5063.13 47988.75 $42925.62 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 4945.56 15555.00 $10609.44 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11714.99 16937.50 $5222.51 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 8359.38 $2073.77 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 7851.25 $626.81 9/27/96 -890 Quarterdec -6304.75 -5896.25 $408.50 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 2005.50 $5.62 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 14552.49 14525.00 -$27.49 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 5037.50 -$107.61 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 5812.49 3201.25 -$2611.24 CASH $22563.12 TOTAL $138128.00 Transmitted: 10/14/96