Stocks surge to record high

The Ticker

October 17, 1991|By Julius Westheimer

The Dow Jones average surged 20 points to an all-time high yesterday. When Wall Street opened today the Dow index stood at 3,061.71, now ahead about 700 points, or 31 percent, since last October.

TAKE YOUR CHOICE: "I'm looking for Dow Jones 3,200-3,400 between now and January, and 3,600 by next fall. Current degree of pessimism isn't possible at a market top." (Joseph Granville) . . . "This is a frothy, irrational market, dominated by investors more concerned with charts than with underlying value. A 400-800 point downswing has begun." (California Technology Stock Letter) . . . "Because October has the reputation of being a bad Wall Street month, any hint of a selloff gets magnified out of proportion, and sell orders can be triggered by somebody sneezing." (John Martone Letter) . . . "With the Dow Jones in overvalued territory, the investment climate is fraught with danger." (Investment Quality Trends.) Note: Of all comments I read recently, gloomy forecasts outnumbered cheery ones by about two to one. Maybe that's a good sign.

MARYLAND MEMOS: On Thursday, Oct. 24, Security Analysts host United Asset Management executives at Stouffer's at noon . . . Potomac Electric Power remains on S&P's list, Oct. 9, under "Stocks For Superior Long-Term Total Return." At midweek the stock yielded 6.9 percent . . . Stephen Stauffer, Dean Witter, will mail his firm's Strategem letter, "When Will We Learn?" ("We think the stock market will continue to rise for some time. Our major caveat is the unforeseen decline in corporate profits.") . . . "Since spring, 1989, six-month CD yields have been cut nearly in half to 5.5 percent. For people living on a fixed income, this is like taking a 50 percent salary cut." (Rick Faby, Smith Barney)

BALTIMORE BITS: "This is a very favorable climate for equity investment. Interest rates have come down a lot, business trends have turned from negative to positive and the recovery is clearly in an early stage." (Investment Counselors of Maryland) . . . "How many investors will accept greater risk for the possible reward of capital appreciation remains to be seen, but before the final market top has been reached, some will. When investors are willing to pay inflated prices in the hope that some company will discover a cure for a yet-to-be identified disease, it's time to be cautious." (Rex Rehfeld, Gruntal & Co.) . . . On the day Memorial Stadium opened, April 15, 1954, the Dow Jones average stood at 313.77. On the day of the final Oriole game, Oct. 6, 1991, the Dow stood at 2,942.75.

AUTUMN LEAVES: "Women's investment clubs outperform men's clubs because women do more research and hang on for the long haul." (Working Woman, Sept.) . . . "Prescription medicine prices tripled in the 1980s and are up 11 percent this year vs. 1991 inflation up 3.3 percent."(CNN News) . . . "In 1976, average hourly fee for a partner in a mid-Atlantic law firm was $80. In 1991, $300." (Forbes, Oct. 21) . . . The Dow Jones price-earnings ratio (relationship of stock prices to their underlying earnings) now stands at 24.8 times earnings vs. 11.6 times one year ago . . . "The IRS holds over 72,000 unclaimed 1989 tax refund checks, average check $570. If you're missing a refund from any year, call the IRS at 800-829-1040." (Dollar Stretcher) . . . Having trouble dealing with a government agency? Phone Business Assistance Program, 202-377-3176.

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