Backing and filling all day, the Dow Jones average slipped 4 1/2 points yesterday, closing at 3,338.77. For a comparison, I checked back and found that the Dow closed five years ago at 2,285.94. The DJ vaulted 46 percent in half a decade.
TAKE YOUR CHOICE: "Although stocks hit new highs recently, two essentials for a real breakout are missing: volume and leadership." (Peter Canelo, market strategist). . . . "I've never seen a market where the rally is so narrow and where so many stocks are being taken apart." (Robert Kahan, brokerage trader). . . . "None of our clients have more than 50 percent stocks." (Robert Bingham, adviser). . . . "The 'big money' in our latest
institutional survey remains very bullish and expects to see new peaks this year." (Barrons, April 20). . . . "It's very late in the cycle; most stocks have seen their highs." (Mamis Guide). . . . "Let every man divide his money in three parts: a third in land, a third in business, a third let him keep in reserve." (The Talmud).
FACTS & FIGURES: The S&P 500-stock price-earnings ratio stands at 26 vs. 18 one year ago. S&P dividend yield is 2.9 percent vs. 3.1 percent in April, 1991. . . . If you had invested $10,000 in U.S. stocks a year ago, you would now have $11,077; in Treasury bonds, $11,273; in foreign stocks $9,102. . . . Three-month Treasury bills yield 3.7 percent vs. 5.7 percent a year ago.
TEST YOUR BROKER: How do you rate your broker? A new book, "Winning With Your Stockbroker in Good Times and Bad," uses these scores: Trust, 0-20 points ("A zero here ends the test. Your broker is your fiduciary; your interests must come first."); chemistry, 0-15 points ("Rapport; you have it or you don't."); service, 0-15 points ("Can you get through to your broker? Are calls returned promptly?"); willingness to listen, 0-15 points; investment smarts, 0-15 points; results, 0-20 points ("How much money has your broker made for you?") Scoring: Under 70 points: unsatisfactory; 70-79 points: average; 80-89 points: good; points: excellent.
BALTIMORE BEAT: T. Rowe Price Japan Fund is listed under "New Mutual Funds With a Twist" in U.S. News & World Report, April 20. The fund has a $2,500 minimum requirement. . . . Merrill Lynch's Richard Rist (547-5078) will mail his firm's brochure on professional money management ("wrap accounts"), with results. . . . The Franciscan Center, 2212 Maryland Ave., desperately needs old clothing. While delivering suits recently, I talked to an elderly man who had walked there, barefoot in freezing cold, from East Baltimore to get a pair of used shoes. ("For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me." Matthew 25:35).
MARYLAND & MORE: "The worst thing a customer can say about his stockbroker isn't 'he lost money for me' -- they expect that -- but 'he never calls me.' " (Veteran broker to trainee in Burke's restaurant, financial district). . . . b"Read the lips of the major presidential candidates and you won't learn much about how they'd tackle the enormous budget deficit if they are elected -- or re-elected. But, unless the deficit is cut, interest rates will eventually climb." (Fortune, May 4). . . . Latest Kiplinger Washington Letter says the recent stock surge resulted from better profits, interest rate drop and the fact that many CDs are now coming due. . . . "The risk of being audited by the IRS dropped to about .06 percent nationwide last year, down from 5.8 percent in 1963." (Wall Street Digest). . . . "Wall Street investment bankers predict that the sizzling market for new stock issues will continue through 1992." (Moneypaper, April).