Fool Portfolio Report
Friday, August 29, 1997
by Jeff Fischer (

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Aug. 28, 1997) -- The night air begins to cool, the days become shorter, the shouts of your friends down the block begin to subside... Your parents, too, become resolved and quiet.

You didn't know back then that they were actually excited, anxious for you to get back to school. You weren't, though. Summer meant riding your bike, playing "kick the can," raising tadpoles in a bucket, and telling ghost stories at night while hiding in a tent with friends. Every year come late August, though, all of that... gone.

It's back to school time.

Because many of us are well beyond those days, this recap will try to recreate "back to school" feelings, while at the same time -- yes -- give the news of the week. So get in the car, cross your arms, and put on your pouty face, because mom is resolutely driving us off to the store to pick up some notebooks, folders, crayons, and a new lunch box with The Fonz on it (this was a while ago)....

...As the family car backs out of the driveway, you roll down the window to hear the crickets. Even as a kid, you recognize in late August that the insects begin to quiet down, and that night isn't such a "festival" anymore. Moving along the street the breeze comes through the window, and the insect noises rise and fall as you drive by. Your mom turns on the radio. The voice quietly comes over the breeze:

"The S&P had a volatile week, ending the five-day stretch down 2.6%. Nasdaq fared slightly better, losing 0.70%. Stocks have had a volatile year, and summer was no different. No summer doldrums this year, folks! The Fool Portfolio won the month of August, gaining 0.99% while the S&P lost 5.75%."

Your mom looks at you. "What's the Fool Portfolio?" she asks. You shrug. (The radio announcer was ahead of his time.)

At the drug store the parking lot is crowded, and many families are returning to their cars carrying bags of supplies. "I hope they still have everything that you need for school," your mom says. You roll your eyes. Inside from the dark, under the florescent lights, you first look at the rows and rows of candy -- cheap, small, exciting, you want to buy it. All of it. You want to make a killing on this trip.

Your mom grabs your arm. "No. This way," she says. "We need to get you essentials, not worthless garbage. Oh, look, some good 3M products. Let's buy some." She firmly plants herself in the aisle and begins to fill the cart. "What supplies do you need for each class? Do you have the list?" she asks.

You pull your class schedule from your back pocket, the schedule that you've been carrying around for two weeks. You hand it to her. Suddenly you hear your name called from down the aisle. "Hey, Alf-Alfa, come here!" You turn. It's your good friend, Spanky. He waddles forward.

The two of you converge and move away from the aisle. "How was vacation with your family?" you ask him. He replies that it was boring. He asks if you've seen Darla lately. No, you hadn't seen her. In school you will, though. That was one good thing about school. "Do we have any classes together?" he asks. You're about to respond when your mom grabs you again and pulls you down the aisle.

"You have the next nine months to talk to your friends. Let's get this done. I have a cabbage boiling in the kitchen and we need to stop at CHEVRON (NYSE: CHV) on the way home and get some gas. Did you know, Alf-Alfa, that on Friday Deutsche Morgan upgraded Chevron from hold to buy?"

You look at your mom and yawn.

She continues, "And your father's company, GENERAL MOTORS (NYSE: GM), was upgraded by A.G. Edwards from a sell to a reduce." She pauses. "Wait. What the hell does that mean? If you've already sold, how can you now reduce?"

You're perplexed and a little intimidated. Mom rarely swears.

The car loaded up with school supplies, you drive home through the night, stopping at Dairy Queen for ice cream and a quiet, thoughtful moment with mom. You sit on the outside table, under the stars, and she looks at you thoughtfully -- her little child, growing up. She places her hand on top of your head and tries to flatten that one spike of hair. It comes right back up. She smiles.

"Let's keep heading home," she says. "Summer is coming to an end, and the gambling season is slowing down. Traffic won't be so bad. But did you hear, Alf-Alfa, that the South Jersey Transportation Authority approved the financing for its portion of a new tunnel and road leading to Atlantic City? That's good news for MIRAGE RESORTS (NYSE: MIR) and other casino developers, but probably not so good for TRUMP HOTELS (NYSE: DJT). Trump's stock rose, though. Last week a brokerage firm began covering the stock with a "buy," and they're probably pushing it onto clients." Your mom pauses and looks thoughtfully at the stars.

You drive home in the quiet, and a gentle blue light emanates from the front window of your house. Dad is playing on a very early, test version of AMERICA ONLINE (NYSE: AOL), which was experimented with for decades before the service was finally released to the public. Who knew that years later on August 29th, 1997, AOL Germany would announce that membership had doubled in that country to 400,000 over the last nine months? For that matter, who knew that Lehman Brothers would reiterate 3COM (Nasdaq: COMS) as an "outperform" on that very day, too, setting a twelve-month price target of $70, the same price as the YPEG value? The analyst stated that he wasn't worried about near-term softness.

After petting the dog, Petey, you retire up to your room and flip through your baseball cards. You own the rookie card of some guy named Hank Aaron that you've owned for a while. You're getting tired of it, though. You think about using it to spread play-slime on your brother's doorknob, but then you think better of it. You'll keep it.

In bed, the fading sounds of summer outside, you actually begin to look forward to school -- the new classes, your friends, the teachers, the crushes on classmates, the games, and, yes, even some learning. But first you have a long, three-day weekend ahead, as do all of the "working people" out there. Working people aren't so anxious for the weekend to end, though. Some of them are not very excited to start another week... to dig in at their office or factory... to plant themselves behind piles of paper. In fact, they'd rather be in school again.

If you're beginning to think that you'd rather return to school next Tuesday, instead of work, remember: school wasn't all hopscotch and ice cream sandwiches, and kids can be mean, too. Even during college. Witness this article from The Onion, a satiric, comedic newspaper originating from the University of Wisconsin. Now, do you really want to return to that type of ridicule in school, or would you rather just keep working at your job?

I suggest we all just keep on Foolin'...

--Jeff Fischer

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Stock Change Bid ---------------- AOL + 1/4 64.50 T - 1/4 39.00 ATCT --- 4.38 CHV -1 5/8 77.44 DJT + 7/8 11.63 GM -1 62.75 INVX - 5/8 33.63 IOM - 1/4 25.63 KLAC -1 1/2 70.69 LU -1 1/8 77.88 MMM -1 1/16 89.88 COMS +2 5/8 49.94
Day Month Year History FOOL -1.02% 0.99% 16.71% 211.48% S&P: -0.46% -5.75% 21.43% 96.22% NASDAQ: +0.38% -0.41% 22.95% 120.41% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2.52 25.63 916.87% 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 7.27 64.50 787.21% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 77.88 63.55% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 70.69 58.10% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 77.44 54.00% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 89.88 36.84% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 33.63 21.35% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 51.97 62.75 20.74% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 49.94 6.57% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 39.00 -1.46% 4/30/97 -1170 *Trump* 8.47 11.63 -37.27% 10/22/96 600 ATC Comm. 22.94 4.38 -80.93% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2594.53 25112.50 $22517.97 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 2581.87 22897.50 $20315.63 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 9679.69 $3394.08 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 9189.38 $3376.89 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 14552.49 17570.00 $3017.51 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 9886.25 $2661.81 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 10928.13 $1922.51 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 3270.75 $1270.87 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11714.99 12484.38 $769.39 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 5070.00 -$75.11 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -13601.25 -$3692.75 10/22/96 600 ATC Comm. 13761.50 2625.00-$11136.50 CASH $40625.59 TOTAL $155737.90