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May, 2001


During the heady .com craze days, one of the companies with great promise and a winning philosophy, cited by "Barron's" for having the lowest costs of any purely online trading service, and recommended by yours truly, was Buy and Hold.Com. They advocated a winning investment approach of simply buying shares of excellent companies for almost no commission ($2.99 per purchase, regardless of the size of the trade) and holding them for the very long-term, essentially forever. To encourage this inactive trading style, the cost for selling was set relatively high ($19.99 per trade). There were no other fees stipulated for the buy and hold approach investor.

Now, the wind having gone out of the .com sails, Buy & Hold .Com finds itself struggling just to stay afloat and has not only instituted an inactivity fee ($2.99/month) for those who just do exactly what they'd recommended, occasionally buy super company shares, hold them, and do nothing else, but have also promised, beginning in June, 2001, to change their total fee structure to $6.99/month for buy, sell, or inactively hold. The $6.99 will be assessed whether or not you trade. But if you do, it gets you up to two trades. Any more are extra. All in all, their new approach encourages what they previously (wisely we think) discouraged: frequent trading. They have other fee arrangements now too and may be advantageous for frequent, dollar-cost-average investing. But their customer service has deteriorated to the extent that, at least in our experience, they no longer even answer clients' e-mails, a major deficit for a strictly online company. By the way, we have no argument with their original buy and hold idea (our portfolio through them being up about 40% over the past six months), just wish it had been a long-term message, not a flash in the pan.

We suggest now that you may do better to take your buy and hold business elsewhere.

Sometimes, though, excellent investment opportunities may not be too good to be true. Consider the following gems for purchase:

(Information source: "Value Line")

AssetFederal Realty Investment TrustEnesco GroupCoca-ColaHeinze, H.J.Hubbel, Inc. 'B'
Recent Price$19.52$5.44$45.76$40.53$27.65
Return on Shareholder EquityNot Applicable12%42%43%21%
Projected Earnings/
Share 2002 vs. 2001
P/E Ratio1513281517
3-5 Yr. Price Appreciation Potential92%267%57%97%107%
Financial Strength RatingB++BA++ (Highest)A+A+
Safety Rank2
(Above Average)

The long-term investor who puts equal amounts into all five of the indicated stocks will have a portfolio with above average financial strength and safety rank, an overall yield of 4%, price-to-earnings ratio only slightly above the median, return on shareholder equity of 23.6% (counting FRT's as zero), and a 3-5 year price appreciation potential averaging 124% (compared with a "Value Line" median estimated appreciation potential of just 70%).


Larry is not a professional. Don't take him seriously!

Actually, the investment article provided here is for general information only and should not be considered as professional advice, a solicitation to buy or sell any security, or the Word of God. Investors are encouraged to do their own research while considering their personal goals and circumstances, or consult their own professional financial advisors, before making investment decisions. Neither Larry nor LARVALBUG will be liable for any losses sustained by any visitor to this site.

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