Fall plunges rattle Wall St.

Julius Westheimer

September 12, 1991|By Julius Westheimer

Reversing a 75-point, 11-day downtrend, the Dow Jones average edged up four points yesterday, closing at 2,987.03. Investors still worry that 1991 may duplicate previous years' "September slaughters" and "October massacres."

WALL ST. WATCH (in proportion received): "For the past few months, low cash levels among institutional investors and mutual funds have been disturbingly low. This means that even if other factors are favorable, there isn't enough firepower to boost stocks." (Wall Street Journal) . . . "From a technical perspective, the stock market looks bad." (Lynn Elgert Letter) . . . "Although stocks may look a little overvalued now, they really aren't because earnings will be much better next year." (Financial Commentator) . . . "Based on history, stocks will begin a slide in September that will accelerate in October before a November recovery." (Hamilton Investments) . . . "Stock market post-mortems don't pay dividends." (Jesse Livermore, highly successful investor many decades ago)

NEW YORK DIARY: A "21 Burger" at 21 Club restaurant now sells for $21.50 vs. $14 several years ago. (McDondald's on 7th Avenue sells them for 95 cents, not quite as tasty.) . . . Asked about the recession, the "21" Maitre d' said, "We had ours last year; things are picking up now." (The place was mobbed) . . . Upon our host's request, I was deep into figuring a 15 percent tip on a $147 luncheon-for-four check (no drinks, two appetizers, one dessert) when the headwaiter placed this slip in front of me: "If you would like us to automatically add a 20 percent gratuity to your bill, check this box." (I didn't check it.) . . . Elevator directories in Saks 5th Avenue are now printed in Japanese, German and English . . . "If you have a fever, get out of bed; the fever will find someone else." (Mercedes McCambridge, the cranky grandmother in "Lost in Yonkers," a Neil Simon Broadway hit I rate C-plus at best.)

MEDIA WATCH: I will answer your money questions Saturday morning on WBAL Radio from 8-9 . . . Tomorrow night, "Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser" features "The Fall Economy" with economist Edward Yardeni and panelists Martin Zweig, Laszlo Birinyi and Mary Farrell . . . The New Yorker, dated Sept. 9 and on newsstands this week, runs one of its rare business stories, this one by Connie Bruck about goings-on between MCA and Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co.

BALTIMORE BEAT: Security Analysts host Legg Mason on Thursday, Sept. 19, Stouffer Harborplace at noon, with CEO Raymond (Chip) Mason the speaker . . . UNUM Corp. will be featured by the same group on Wednesday, Oct. 2, Tremont Plaza, at noon . . . Security Trust/Maryland National Bank's Myron Oppenheimer says, "In this uncertain environment, stay invested for the long-term, remain diversified, stick with quality." . . . Gruntal & Co.'s Rex Rehfeld (727-0522) will mail his latest letter, "Dow ??" if you phone. ("Considering economic and political uncertainties, high quality bonds may provide safest haven until a clearer picture emerges.") . . . Call PaineWebber's Marvin Fribush (576-3220) for his firm's 24-page special report, "Taking Control of Your Retirement." . . . Hats off to Dean Witter's Larry Adam for his tireless work for "Harvest for The Hungry." . . . Potomac Electric Power stock is listed under "Superior Long-Term Total Return Stocks" in S&P Outlook, Sept. 11.

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