Fool Portfolio Report
Thursday, February 13, 1997
by Ben Lipman (MF Ben)
NEW YORK CITY, NY (Feb. 13, 1997) -- "They sold out." Perhaps no other three words define as well the transition from small time to the big top, from dingy clubs to packed stadiums, from a few thousand monthly visitors to hundreds of thousands bell-capped Fools. I never really thought about it before some friends of mine went on to become a relatively well known pop band and I began to hear people saying how "they sold out."
Sold out? They were all the same people they had been 6 months earlier. Sure, they had a little more money, didn't have to haul their own equipment anymore, and opened up for the Rolling Stones in front of a few thousand people (like 80,000), but they were the same guys otherwise, just with massive radio play.
The armchair psychologist in me supposes that the feeling stems from the joy of discovering something while its still small and accessible. Once it becomes part of pop culture (meaning it becomes popular), you suddenly have to share that band, that service, that look, with millions of others and you don't like it. Who would? No one likes walking down to their favorite restaurant only to find you now need reservations three months in advance.
Sure, some people DO "sell out" in the pejorative sense, meaning they sell their ideals, their principles, or their inner sense of morality for that holiest of holies, the almighty dollar ("Start Me Up" and Microsoft? HUH?). Others are just called "sell outs" by those early adopters, those who thought those dingy club days or the empty tables would and should last forever. That it was just their little secret.
Here's my secret. I'm only going to share it with you and the other thousands of bell-capped Fools: The Motley Fool has sold out and I don't mean those shares of Ride, The Gap, or Sonic Solutions. Sold out. No more small time, no more empty seats. The Big Top. 3 rings. Packed audiences. Still, no reservations needed and thankfully, dress is still come-as-you-are.
When I joined the Fool over 20 months ago, this thing couldn't have filled a pup tent, let alone a 3 ring extravaganza. Back then, the Fool portfolio was worth a sum total of $69,155.90, the number of Iomega folders could be counted using just your hands, there was no Fool book (let alone a sequel), and I knew almost every other MF hanging around the virtual water cooler. Those were the days. A small group. A happy band. Couple of kids with big dreams and stars in their eyes.
That was before the Motley Fool sold out.
Today, as of close, the Fool Portfolio is worth $126,894.64. Not bad for a sell out, eh? Actually, irrelevant. As Tom, David, or about any other Fool you happen to knock into here under the big top will tell you, the actual gain isn't what the Fool is all about. It's about learning, taking a little bit more responsibility for your life, starting with that little nest you're trying to grow.
Which leads me to my absolutely favorite stock in the Foolish Portfolio. No, not Iomega, but AT&T, that Dow Dog that slipped in there by hook and crook.
AT&T (NYSE: T) was unchanged today. Ma Bell. AT&T is that little nest turning into a 4,000 square foot loft in TriBeCa. My AT&T came to me by way of my grandmother, who died last year. Her husband, my grandfather Louis (97 years old, full head of hair, walks 3 miles every day, and remembers everything -- it's genetic!) bought that AT&T stock for her in 1949 and some for himself too. Hasn't sold a single share since. Holding Foolishly for the long haul. As has probably happened for many days in the 48 years my grandfather has owned AT&T, no news. How boring.
Not boring at all was the big winner today, KLA INSTRUMENTS (Nasdaq: KLAC), hitting a brand new 52-week high and turning the corner from red to black. Up a massive $4 7/8, KLAC is still riding high from an analyst beating earnings report on Tuesday evening. This former loser is now sweetening the Fool pot by $508.76 as of today. As Bob Dylan once said, "He not busy being born is busy dying." Welcome back, KLAC.
AMERICA ONLINE (NYSE: AOL) had quite a ride today, finally ending up $3/8 to a bid of $37 1/2. First, an article in the venerable New York Times called into question the stability of AOL's balance sheet, wondering if this pioneer of cyberlife is in for a cash crunch. Then online users fretted if their cyber-roses would be spoiled tomorrow as news of the reported St. Valentine's Day cyber-riot planned by some obviously dateless hackers circulated among the wires.
LUCENT (NYSE: LU), that AT&T spin-off also had a pretty good day, up $1 1/2 on news that its GlobeView(R)-2000 Broadband System asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) core switch has "...the leadership position in core ATM usage." Wondering what it all means? You are not alone, but if you head over to the Fool Networking Industry area, chances are that you can get the whole scoop.
Also up strongly for the Fool Portfolio was GENERAL MOTORS (NYSE: GM), up $1 1/2, and that recently kicked dog 3COM (Nasdaq: COMS), up $1 1/4 to a bid of $41 1/8. 3Com bucked a First Albany downgrade today, from buy to neutral, perhaps countered by the news that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eric A. Benhamou had been named to Clinton's Advisory Committee on High Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet, fondly known around Fooldom as the (ACHPC&CIT&NGI). Please, don't try that at home.
News of IOMEGA (NYSE: IOM) officer Nageshwar Srini's sale of 300,000 shares couldn't keep the Zip maker down. Iomega ended the day up 1/8 at $16 3/4.
But all was not positive today.
ATC COMMUNICATIONS (Nasdaq: ATCT) continued its slide today, proving once again that no one is perfect. Heck, Tom and Dave aren't even close (forgive me guys!). Down another $5/16 to a bid of $6 1/2 and ATCT once again proves that Sonic Solutions wasn't the last bad pick in the Fool portfolio.
In light of the Dow's newly reached height of 7,000, I think I'm Foolish enough to face the facts, don my jester cap and admit that the Motley Fool has sold out. In the good sense. They've made it to the big time and managed to spread a little knowledge, fun, and information with and between that often overlooked class of investors: the little retail guy.
We individual investors are finally getting some due and not just around the halls of AOL. Morgan Stanley, like many NYC big banking firms, realized that the Wall Street of the 90's is a different animal than the Wall Street of the 60's, 70's and 80's. They want and need that retail business Dean Witter knows so much about. The shift is on. I can hear the belled caps ringing now.
And so, to Tom and David and all the other full- and part-time Fools, I say:
"YOU SOLD OUT!" Congratulations.
Welcome to the big tent. Please don't feed the clowns, er, Fools.
*Disclaimer: Of those stocks held in the Fool portfolio, MF Ben would like all Foolish readers to know that he owns Iomega, AT&T, NCR, and Lucent. However, he would also like you to know that he owned them all before the Fool did. "I knew them when they were small nobodies," he says. Sure ya did.
(c) Copyright 1997, The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. This material is for personal use only. Republication and redissemination, including posting to news groups, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of The Motley Fool.
Stock Change Bid -------------------- AOL + 3/8 37.50 T --- 39.63 ATCT - 5/16 6.50 CHV - 1/4 68.88 GM +1 1/2 59.25 IOM + 1/8 16.75 KLAC +4 7/8 48.63 LU +1 1/2 58.75 MMM --- 86.25 NCR - 5/8 35.00 COMS +1 1/4 41.13
Day Month Year History FOOL +1.37% -6.72% -4.91% 153.79% S&P: +1.13% 3.26% 9.60% 77.10% NASDAQ: +0.87% -0.66% 6.18% 90.34% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 5/17/95 2010 Iomega Cor 2.52 16.75 564.95% 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 7.27 37.50 415.61% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 68.88 36.97% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 86.25 31.33% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 58.75 23.38% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 51.97 59.25 14.00% 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 44.71 48.63 8.75% 1/2/97 8 NCR 33.63 35.00 4.09% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 39.63 0.12% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 41.13 -12.24% 10/22/96 600 ATC Comm. 22.94 6.50 -71.66% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 5/17/95 2010 Iomega Cor 5063.13 33667.50 $28604.37 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 4945.56 25500.00 $20554.44 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 8609.38 $2323.77 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 9487.50 $2263.06 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 14552.49 16590.00 $2037.51 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 5812.49 6321.25 $508.76 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 2467.50 $467.62 1/2/97 8 NCR 269.00 280.00 $11.00 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 5151.25 $6.14 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11714.99 10281.25 -$1433.74 10/22/96 600 ATC Comm. 13761.50 3900.00 -$9861.50 CASH $4639.01 TOTAL $126894.64