Edging two points lower, the Dow Jones industrial average closed yesterday at 3,254.25, only 1 percent below its all-time high. By contrast, Japan's Nikkei index recently fell below 20,000 to its lowest level in five years, off 49 percent from its peak of 38,915 set in December 1989.
TAKE YOUR CHOICE: "In the typical presidential year, April and May often bring corrections, so it's wise to forgo purchases until the April-May time frame ends and earnings improve." (Intelligent Investing). . . . "When the speculative stock market party ends, there's a big hangover. But the party is so good nobody wants to leave. I would rather leave the party early than stay to the very end." (Robert Farrell, Merrill Lynch). . . . "Long-term trend still up but be prepared to buy dips if things get rocky." (Mercer Forecast). . . . "Is this the end of the bull move? We think no." (Tucker Anthony & Co.)
EXPERT'S PICKS: Continuing our publication of "Wall $treet Week's" top 1991 stock pickers' 1992 selections, we print this year's favorites of last year's third-place finisher, Ralph Acampora: Charter Co., Ekco Group, Goodmark Foods, Greenwich Pharmaceutical, Hovnanian, Lawter Chemical, Perry Drugs, Recognition Equipment, Santa Fe Southern Pacific, Three Com Corp. and Toll Brothers. Mr. Acampora's 1991 selections were up a whopping 77 percent.
MARYLAND MEMOS: Tomorrow night, Owings Mills-based "Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser" looks ahead with investment adviser Bill Berger and panelists Alan Bond, Eddie Brown and Frank Cappiello. . . . Legg Mason (539-3400) will mail its March 9 Research Weekly with comments on Baltimore Bancorp ("We rate the stock neutral.") and Mid-Atlantic Medical Services ("Its growth will be among the highest in its rapidly growing industry.").
DATABANK: According to Barron's Monday issue, the S&P 500 price-earnings ratio stands at 25 times earnings vs. 17 one year ago. . . . Average dividend yield has sunk to a low 3 percent -- close to a record -- vs. 3.2 one year ago. . . . If you doubt stocks' long-term appeal, note that the S&P 500 index gained in nine of 10 years between 1982 through 1991, rising 31 percent in 1985, 1989 and 1991. The 10-year average annual gain was 17 percent. . . . Black & Decker stock stands at 24 vs. 12 one year ago; several years ago it was 8.
GOOD NEWS, MAYBE: "If you're saving up for your kid's college education," says Business Week in next Monday's issue, "you may be in line for an expanded tax break. The Senate's proposed tax bill would make earnings on Series EE Savings Bonds free of federal taxes, so long as the interest is used to pay educational expenses. Now, Series EE interest is excluded only for families earning less than $90,000."
SPRING SNIPPETS: "John Templeton's Four Laws of Investing are: (1) The thrifty will eventually own the spendthrifts. (2) Buy at the point of maximum pessimism, sell at the point of maximum optimism. (3) All assets are risky. (4) If you buy the same stocks as other people, you'll have the same results as other people." (Dick Davis Digest). . .. "If you're going to invest in new stock issues, buy them through specialized mutual funds because only a broker's best customers get good ones when they come out at low offering prices." (Michael Metz, Oppenheimer & Co.). . . . "10 Stocks for Children" are Coca-Cola, Ford, Heinz, Hershey, Jostens, McDonald's, Paramount, Ralston Purina, Waste Management and Wendy's." (Moneypaper). . . . . . . Your 1991 income taxes are due four weeks from last midnight.