SHERMAN OAKS, CA (April 2, 1998) -- By now it's clear to everyone that our little announcement yesterday was an April Fool's Day hoax. Being a remote staffer, far removed from Fool Galactic Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, I wasn't in on the gag, so I'm trusting that the very understanding corporate accountants at Fool HQ will laugh along with me when I request an employee reimbursement for the new Boston Market franchise I acquired in dutiful compliance with the New 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly. I saved the receipt, so I'm sure it won't be a problem.
If you haven't seen the reaction to our stunt, by all means head to the page that shows off the incredible reader response. Over 1,000 messages poured into our email box from readers everywhere -- some folks fell for the gag, others laughed along with us. Said one reader, "Great news!ï¿½ Also I understand pigs are flying now and hell has frozen over." Quoth another, "I have put in an emergency order to sell out my entire portfolio and purchase the 'new' Merrill Magellean Vanguard Bond Growth Tax-Free Equity Boston Chicken Platinum Visa Fund." While the gag was all in fun, it did give us a great opportunity to remind everyone, once again, of the most important of all our Foolish messages: that the best manager for your own money is you, and you alone. Take that to heart the next time somebody makes some outlandish claim in any medium, be it online or off, within Fooldom or without.
I was most touched by messages from Fools who were concerned for the fate of our poor fictional intern who, as reported in yesterday's counterfeit "apology," was "taunted and then fired" when he attempted to bring the bogus error to the attention of Fool staff. One reader asked, apparently misunderstanding the joke, "Have you offered the intern a permanent spot back at your company? I fear that until you do this your personal karma will remain sketchy."
I'd like to assure our readers that our Foolish Karma remains intact. I can report that our nonexistent intern (who is not now and never was a real person) is now back at his peach crate (we ran out of desks) and is getting double the free salary he was receiving before the incident occurred (despite the fact that said incident never actually happened). In fact, I can vouch for all the employee-management relations here at TMF -- I have been a full-time employee of this company for nearly a year now, and I haven't been fired even once. I have, of course, been taunted, but mostly only for my personal hairstyle choices and never because I pointed out somebody's error (unless it was one of my own, usually dealing with my personal hairstyle choices). So please be assured that all is well.
Meanwhile, lost in all the silliness is the fact that the good ol' Fool Portfolio is on a tear, jumping 3.58% yesterday and another 1.68% today. Rallying Internet stocks in particular, along with a rallying stock market in general, seem to be the cause for our rise. The Dow Jones Industrial Average made a run at the coveted 9,000 mark, coming within 5 points of that level in the course of today's trading. Fool Port Dow stocks DuPont (NYSE: DD), Exxon (NYSE: XON), and International Paper (NYSE: IP) were strong participants in that rally, while long-term Fool holding AT&T (NYSE: T) remained unchanged. Shares in the AT&T spin-off Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), however, were up more than 5% today, perhaps in trading action related to the stock split that became effective with today's market close.
The Port's largest holding, America Online (NYSE: AOL), rose $1 5/16 on word that analysts at Bear Stearns started coverage of the online services giant with a "Buy" rating. Bear Stearns suggested a 12-month target price of $90 per share. AOL also announced some super-fast online access technology and will begin conducting field trials in selected markets.
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) shares continued their stunning ascent, ending the day at $94 7/8 per share after climbing another $4 3/4 today. There was no news that I saw to account for this rise, but conditions for a short squeeze seem to be ripe. Before March of this year, the shares had never traded above $80 each, and now they are approaching the century mark.
On the downside today was KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC), which pre-announced worse-than-expected numbers for its third quarter yesterday. The stock finished the day down $1/2. 3Dfx (Nasdaq: TDFX) joined KLAC with another half-dollar loss on no news.
Can I close this report by pointing out that the Fool Portfolio is now showing gains of 18.22% year-to-date? And that this beats the year-to-date returns of both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq (15.41% and 18.00%, respectively)? And that this is the first time we've led both indexes all year? No? That would be too gauche on my part? Then what about all these chickens, the ones I acquired in dutiful compliance with Fool Investing Step #10? Can I just turn them over to the Boston Market franchise? Wouldn't they know best what to do with them?
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Day Month Year History FOOL +1.68% 5.32% 18.22% 296.76% S&P: +1.07% 1.66% 15.41% 144.33% NASDAQ: +0.29% 0.94% 18.00% 157.29% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 3.64 74.25 1941.83% 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 1.28 7.00 446.70% 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 23.81 69.44 191.65% 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 38.22 94.88 148.22% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 66.38 67.71% 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 95.91 112.03 16.81% 2/20/98 215 DuPont 59.83 69.00 15.32% 2/20/98 200 Exxon 64.09 69.63 8.64% 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 25.67 27.63 7.63% 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 47.69 49.94 4.71% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 26.56 -4.14% 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* 8.47 9.00 -6.27% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 40.50 -9.42% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 34.00 -27.45% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 2581.87 52717.50 $50135.63 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 11084.24 27513.75 $16429.51 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 2509.60 13720.00 $11210.40 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 1999.88 5832.75 $3832.87 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 8628.75 $3483.64 2/20/98 215 DuPont 12864.25 14835.00 $1970.75 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 11029.25 12883.59 $1854.34 2/20/98 200 Exxon 12818.00 13925.00 $1107.00 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 10908.63 11740.63 $832.00 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 12876.75 13483.13 $606.38 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 8632.81 -$372.81 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 5265.00 -$547.49 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -10530.00 -$621.50 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11715.99 8500.00 -$3215.99 CASH $11233.54 TOTAL $198381.45