Ticker marks 15th birthday

The Ticker

February 24, 1992|By Julius Westheimer

Marking Ticker's 15th birthday today -- we began, actually, on Monday, Feb. 22, 1977, with the Dow Jones average at 939.26 -- we list some of the hopefully helpful suggestions and tidbits that appeared in these 1,500 columns (1,500,000 words) of the past 15 years:

"85% of the time, it pays to be an optimist." (Sam Hopkins, Alex. Brown).

Sales hint -- "The bee that sticks close to the hive gathers no honey." (Chinese proverb).

Salesmen and women: Each night, ask yourself, "How many hours today did I actually spend selling?" (You'll be surprised how few.)

To find the number of years in which money doubles, divide the interest rate into 72.

Over the span of 35 years, the S&P 500 stock average has outperformed government bonds (including bonds' interest) by a ratio of about 17-to-1. Stated another way, $1,000 grew to $5,300 in U.S. bonds, $88,000 in stocks.

Regarding your investments: Keep it simple, stick to quality, and don't put all those eggs in one basket.

Inflation Note: Combing newspapers of the John F. Kennedy assassination weekend (1963), we find Brooks Bros. cotton button-down Oxford shirts for $7 (today $52); Evening Sun for 7 cents (now 50 cents); York Road car wash for $1 (now about $6); Read's drugstore full-course Thanksgiving dinner for $1 (no misprint).

Another inflation note: Dad used to hand me a quarter and say, "Son, buy me 2 packs of Camels and bring me the change."

If you had bought BG&E stock 10 years ago, you would have tripled your money and you would now be receiving 21 percent income on your 1982 investment.

Don't worry about capital gains taxes; worry about losses.

"When investing, don't stew about the gross national product, money supply, factory orders or the level of the stock market. Concentrate mostly on, 'Are people buying the products this company makes?' " (Peter Lynch, ex-manager, top-performing Fidelity Magellan Fund).

Don't let any stock or mutual fund grow to over 25 percent of your portfolio. Some Maryland families had to change lifestyles -- not just skip a cruise or a new car -- because the families were overweighted in Maryland National Bank, USF&G or some other fine company that suffered severe problems.

If you want to give Ticker a 15th birthday present, send a check to Our Daily Bread soup kitchen, 411 Cathedral St., Baltimore, Md. 21201.

Honor Roll: 10-year-old boy caller to my WBAL Radio talk show: "I thought you were supposed to buy stocks low and sell them high. Why do most people do it the other way?"

"The soup never reaches the table quite as hot as it leaves the kitchen." (My father).

"Entrances are wide, exits narrow." (Old proverb.)

One businessman to another, "If you want loyalty, get a cocker spaniel." (Overheard somewhere).

"Your emotions are often a reverse indicator of what you should be doing in the stock market." (Stock Trader's Almanac).

A highly successful executive told me that she never hires anyone, no matter how good the applicant's qualifications, unless he or she says, in effect, "I really want to work here; I really want this job."

"Corporate bigwigs are generally leaner and more fit than those they passed on the corporate ladder." (Men's Health.)

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