MIAMI, FL (Nov. 19, 1997) -- "How is Hong Kong doing?"
Like Chinese water torture the question has become a perpetual stumper at the nightly Fool chats. Every few minutes a new user will pop in and ask the common Q. Always anxious to help out the fellow Fool someone will pull up the Hang Seng Index quote and all is right with the world -- until the next curious Fool drops by. Every day, save for Friday and Saturday nights of course, when the question becomes "What will Hong Kong do next week?"
I can only imagine, at the other end of the world, Asian cybervestors are logging on when their moon is high and asking the same question.
"How is U.S. doing?"
We have indeed become a global community. We are little audioanimatronic marionettes singing "It's a Small World," waiting for the lights to go out for a chance to drag the water for pennies. Or pence. Or centavos.
Pangaea has been coming together over the last few years. The continental puzzle pieces are shifting back into place thanks to the Internet. A few decades ago television brought images of the world into our living room. It was amazing. Today, thanks to the good ole www, we can interact with those images. We as individuals can now select our own filters. We as a community can manipulate our own personalized data.
So while I can say that Amazon gained $1 1/8 today the ball is suddenly in your court. Do you skim past to the next line break or do you take action? Maybe you have your own thoughts to post or simply want the passive pleasure of reading fellow Fool perspectives in the message board. Maybe you want to pull up fundamental information on Amazon. Neil Armstrong has landed on the moon. Pick a crater and explore.
The cyber bookshop opened a second distribution warehouse in Delaware yesterday. That means that the shorts who have been crying that the company was being valued at $1.3 billion per distribution center now have to make $650 million per center their new battle cry. Actually it was the old number just a few months ago -- the stock has just doubled since then.
The significance, with centers now serving as coastline bookends, is that time and money will be saved here. The stronghold of East coast publishing houses who had to ship their bounded bounty all the way to Seattle now have a closer drop-off point. That Atlantic Coast customer, who had to wait for Robert Frost's poetry collection to fly three time zones away only to fly right back, can now sit back and enjoy the book less traveled.
And beleaguered 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) churned out yet another positive press release to no avail. The company just completed three huge networking projects for the Singapore government. The last time the Singapore government was in the news a rambunctious American teen was in store for some heavy caning. 3Com investors have been feeling the lashes lately. Thank you sir, may I run for cover. Go figure... the San Francisco 49ers have done nothing but win at 3Com Park this season, shareholders have done nothing but lose in 3Com stock over that time.
Meanwhile AT&T (NYSE: T) closed at yet another 52-week high. Analysts at Lehman Brothers and Sanford Bernstein reiterated their buy ratings yesterday. Wall Street is apparently buzzing with the prospects of the telco giant's new CEO. Michael Armstrong took the post earlier this month and is apparently set on finding ways to boost revenues while cutting costs. Nothing gets an investor's heart to skip a beat like a company set on growing its top-line fast and its bottom line even faster.
It is the kind of news that closes out the day in a smile as one retires for the evening. Even as fading eyes tonight ponder how FoolPort surrendered 0.2% while the S&P rose 0.7% today all is right in the world. Even the Nasdaq's paltry gains, barely better than break-even, edged out the FoolPort, today. Good thing FoolPort wasn't launched on November 19, 1997. Nope. It was launched more than three years ago with ample time to prove that Foolish investing can rule over a dormant index. While the S&P and Nasdaq have doubled in that time -- we have tripled.
So as you fluff up your pillow and slide those Gumby slippers bedside, if you find yourself in an insomniac state, try counting sheep. Ten million of them. Puffy and playful, each one going over a makeshift wooden hurdle. I say 10 million, which would be the same as watching a million sheep dart across your eyelid theater ten times, because FoolPort watchers have probably been seeing that number a lot lately.
Last week it was Iomega (NYSE: IOM) selling its 10 millionth Zip drive -- an amazing benchmark for any product, especially in this ever-changing high tech world. This week it was America Online (NYSE: AOL) surpassing ten million subscribers. So in a sense those of us with AOL accounts are like Zip Drives -- except for the occasional outages. One sheep, two sheep... until Little Bo Beep's head bursts.
It all brought me back to my childhood when I once made my mom a jewelry case out of an old shoebox. I painted it a putrid shade of purple and pasted on some hideous cutout fashion magazine shots. It was so horrible that my mom treasured it long after its practicality wore out. My point is that Iomega has produced 9,999,999 more storage devices than I ever have. And my mom doesn't even own a Zip Drive so there is hope that my production will continue to get lapped. Yet that is only Zip Drives. Other product lines in Iomega's war chest continue to grow in capacity and popularity. With 2 Gig Jaz drives on the way, and the more rudimentary Ditto line of tape backups now up to 3.7 Gigs -- like Rolling Stones tour dates through the years, man, that's a lot of gigs.
So, you sleep, you count sheep, a lot of sheep, knowing full well someone in an online chat room is in need of veritas.
"How is Hong Kong doing?"
Fine. And yourself?
Today's FoolWatch: all the latest in Fooldom.
Day Month Year History FOOL -0.20% -0.90% 22.97% 228.19% S&P: +0.68% 3.28% 27.52% 106.06% NASDAQ: +0.05% 0.48% 24.03% 122.34% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2.52 30.88 1125.20% 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 7.27 72.44 896.00% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 83.13 74.57% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 82.31 63.69% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 94.31 43.60% 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 38.22 54.13 41.61% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 52.81 33.44% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 51.97 61.19 17.73% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 45.56 1.90% 4/30/97 -1170 *Trump* 8.47 8.88 -4.80% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 24.56 -11.36% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 33.25 -29.04% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2509.60 30257.50 $27747.90 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 2581.87 25715.31 $23133.44 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 11084.24 15696.25 $4612.01 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 10289.06 $4003.45 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 10374.38 $3149.94 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 14552.49 17132.50 $2580.01 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 6865.63 $1720.52 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 3491.25 $1491.37 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 5923.13 $110.64 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -10383.75 -$475.25 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 7982.81 -$1022.81 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11714.99 8312.50 -$3402.49 CASH $32438.81 TOTAL $164095.37