Ike's 'attack' shook Wall St.

The Ticker

May 06, 1991|By Julius Westheimer

In the wake of President Bush's heart problem, many people asked yesterday, "What will happen to Wall Street now?" Nobody knows, of course, and although medical diagnoses differ between Bush's incident and President Eisenhower's 1955 heart attack, a look at history is useful.

President Eisenhower suffered a severe attack on Saturday, Sept. 24, 1955. The following Monday, the Dow Jones average plunged on heavy volume (8 million shares) from 487.45 to 455.56, about 6 1/2 percent, a lot for one day. That percentage decline at today's level would equal 190 points, lowering the index to 2,750. (The DJ stood at that level in mid-February, 1991.) History also shows that in 1955, the Dow recovered to its pre-heart attack level in two months.

HANGING ON: With recession still here, and more firms eliminating employees, have you seriously considered how safe your job is? Working Woman magazine for May runs a helpful article, alerting us to measures everyone can take.

Excerpts: "Even star performers and topflight managers are painfully discovering that they are not immune to cutbacks. . . It pays to be aware of early warning signs. . . Losing one's major ally often foreshadows trouble. . . Keep your eyes and ears open, especially in the cafeteria. . . A new boss requires action; form an alliance with him or her and offer to help the new chief look good. . . If you feel threatened, move to an area in your firm that is growing, like the bank department that works out problem loans, negotiates with creditors, etc."

HELPFUL HINT: "Don't rush to be the first guy interviewed for that job opening. The last interviewee gets the job nearly 56 percent of the time. Those interviewed first are hired just 17 percent of the time. Worst times for job interviews are Mondays or just before quitting time." (Men's Health, June.)

BALTIMORE BEAT: George Coppinger, manager, Pikesville Crown filling station, told me that in winter 92 percent of his customers use self-serve pumps, but in summer self serve rises to 96 percent. He added, "Mostly business people use full serve." . . . The Rouse Co., with 19 other nationally known firms, is highlighted in a jampacked new book, "You Can't Lose if the Customer Wins," by Ronald Nykiel. Rouse is mentioned for excellent service. . . Pearl Grimm, B.& J. Book Store, Hampden, told me, "Business is just starting to pick up; it fell to zero during the war -- everyone watched TV -- but now people are buying papers, magazines and books again.". . . John Lilly, Macy's, Owings Mills, writes individual thank-you notes to people who buy appliances from him; Stephen Holt, Brooks Bros., sends birthday cards to all his customers. Both tell me the remembrances bring additional business.

MAY FLOWERS: "Practice caution when offering job references; avoid carelessness, maliciousness or untruths at all costs. Speak to an attorney about legalities of giving job references before you give them." (Newsletter, Diversified Insurance, Cross Keys. Phone 433-3000 for a copy.). . . "Bob Blumberg doesn't need a committee of economists to figure out how the economy is doing. He simply looks at his monthly sales figures. Excelsior Legal has sold bankruptcy forms to lawyers since the 1930s, and lately business has been brisk. Sales of these forms rose more than 20 percent from 1989 to 1990, and January, 1991, sales were up a staggering 46 percent over 1990." (Inc., May).

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