Some notes at wartime

The Ticker

January 21, 1991|By Julius Westheimer

With the Mideast war in mind, I called John W. Stealey, CEO, MicroProse Software, Inc., in his Hunt Valley office. The firm manufactures software simulations, including many military /^ games for home entertainment, personal computers and coin-operated arcades.

Asked about his success formula, he rattled, machine-gun style, "Everything depends on product. I'm enthusiastic about ours 100 percent of the time, bursting to tell my story. I talk 'rapid-fire,' like our war games. I even talk about our products to people next to me on airlines. And I'm impatient; if I knew what to do brilliantly today, I'd have done it yesterday."

Stealey fast-forwarded, "We don't have a lot of committee meetings. We make decisions and go forward. It's 'Ready, fire, aim!' I'm a military man, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Having flown planes for six years, I know what action is. I move forward quickly with our software and military games, and we have every weapon system there is -- all computerized. We succeed because I go fast. But today I pause a few minutes and worry about my friends in the Persian Gulf, many of whom still call me 'Wild Bill.' I'm wild about our products and it shows."

WARTIME ECONOMY: What are the latest professional views on the wartime economy? On "Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser" Friday, Charles Maxwell, Wall Street's No. 1 energy analyst, said, "Oil prices will drop over the next three to five months, maybe to $15 a barrel. The war will last about three to four more weeks." Charles Schultze, Senior Brookings Fellow, stated, "We'll have a mild recession, even with war, then a vigorous recovery. The recession will end around midyear. We'll gain purchasing power as oil prices tumble." Wolfgang Demisch, No. 1 defense analyst, said, "This week showed that we have set U. S. military capability on a whole new level; the Iraqis will soon surrender; in four weeks the war should be over."

WARTIME WISDOM: As inflation heats up during wartime, and in the wake of last year's 6.1 percent rate, its highest since l981, try to stretch your business and personal dollars by obtaining the highest safe yields possible. Here are some local banks and savings and loans now paying top interest, with deposits insured up to $100,000 per account: John Hanson Savings of Beltsville, Custom Savings, Maryland National Bank, Chevy Chase Savings, Eastern Savings, Senator Savings, Washington Savings of Waldorf, Second National Federal Savings of Salisbury, Equitable Federal Savings of Wheaton. Check the above-mentioned banks and savings and loans for details, maturities, etc. (Data from 100 Highest Yields, Jan. 14 issue. To subscribe, write the publication, N. Palm Beach Fla., 33408, or call 407-627-7330.)

JANUARY JOURNAL: Our annual stock market forecasting contest is well under way (deadline Jan. 27) and complete details will be repeated in this space on Thursday. . . Barron's, dated today, runs its annual business roundtable, a valuable issue ($2.50). . . Last week's Dow Jones gain of 145 points set an all-time record. . . Kuwait is smaller than New Jersey. . . . . Wartime hint: shop several coin dealers (names in yellow pages) and buy small gold coins for emergencies; bury them in your back yard. . . "There's no 911 number to call the minute after a missile falls; it's pretty rough on the children." (Israeli spokesman in Tel Aviv Thursday night, on CNN).

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