Low interest rates buoy investors

The Ticker

August 03, 1993|By Julius Westheimer

Encouraged by lower interest rates here and in Europe, investors pushed the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average up 21.52 points yesterday. The popular indicator closed at 3,560.99, just seven points below its record high set last week.

TAKE YOUR CHOICE: "There is scarcely an instance of a man who made a fortune by speculation and kept it." (Andrew Carnegie, 1902) . . . "I claim that America was built by speculation, and further progress must be made in that line." (Richard Whitney, 1930) . . . "A speculator is one who thinks and plans for a future event -- and acts before it occurs. And TC speculator must always be right." (Bernard Baruch, 1916).

CEO CORNER: Aaron Finkelstein, president of Ace Uniform Services -- a large Southwest Baltimore firm that rents, cleans and repairs uniforms -- updates us on his views of the Baltimore economy.

"We're a pretty good barometer," he begins, "because we deal with a variety of large and small businesses. In general, things are picking up, a modest gain. Defense industries are rebounding after big employment cuts. Service industries -- maintenance, delivery and courier firms -- are doing better. But autos never rebounded -- body shops close as fast as they open -- and 'heavy soil' manufacturing industries had suffered but found a level they can operate at. I wouldn't say the recession is over, but there are silver linings."

BUYING DIRECT: Companies that allow you to buy their stocks directly without paying commission include:

W. R. Grace (800-648-8392); Exxon (800-252-1800); Johnson Controls (414-276-3737); Texaco (800-283-9785); Central Vermont Public Service (802-773-2711) and Citizens First Bancorp (201-670- 2456).

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. allows you to buy $3,000 of its stock per calendar quarter after you own at least one share bought through a broker. Local discount brokers include Peremel & Co. (486-4700), Quick & Reilly (685-6210) and Charles Schwab (528-9099.)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: Best recent "money-saver" books are (1) "The Bankers Secret" by Marc Eisenson, $14.95, a homeowner's bible for those who want to prepay their mortgages, etc., with payment tables for different loan amounts. (2) "Cut Your Bills in Half" by the editors of Rodale Press, $7.98, which examines buying or leasing a car, getting college financial aid and other money-savers. (3) "Penny Pinching" by Lee and Barbara Simmons, $4.50, gives advice on everything from cutting grocery bills to buying mutual funds . . . Speaking of mutual funds, here are some of what Fortune magazine calls "Promising New Funds From Proven Managers": Dreman Small Cap Value (800-533-1608), Janus Growth & Income (800-525-8983), Templeton Developing Markets (800-237-0738) and Acorn International (800-922-6769).

BALTIMORE BITS: T. Rowe Price New Income Fund is mentioned in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, August, as "a leading member of the corporate bond fraternity; since it started in 1973, the fund has never had a losing year. Manager Charles Smith focuses on high-quality, intermediate-term bonds." . . . A local Wall Street veteran advises, "Don't buy stocks your next-door neighbor made $10,000 on; buy the ones he lost money on. By buying low, you'll do better in the long run." . . . Top-yielding area money market funds currently are at Loyola Federal, Chevy Chase Savings, Eastern Savings and Maryland National Bank. (Data from "100 Highest Yields.") . . . Alex. Brown's July Drug Quarterly Overview rates American Home Products, Merck and SmithKline Beecham as 'Strong Buys."

MARYLAND MEMOS: McCormick & Co. is listed under "Market Laggards Attractive for Purchase: Down 20 Percent or More From 1992-1993 Highs" in S&P Outlook, July 28 . . . Stocks of local interest which hit 12-month highs last week include Baltimore Bancorp, Laurel Bancorp, MBNA (credit card division of MNC Financial), T. Rowe Price and Potomac Electric Power . . . When Hall of Fame broadcaster Chuck Thompson started in radio (Reading, Pa.,1939), the Dow Jones industrial average stood at about 145. Yesterday's level: 3560.99.

WORKPLACE WISDOM: National Business Employment Weekly, July 30-August 5, on newsstands this week, runs a good story, "How Shy Networkers Can Attract Attention Painlessly."

Excerpts: "Give yourself no way out. Since networking (meeting influential people who can hire you) doesn't come naturally to you, force yourself into situations where it's a requirement . . . Best strategy is to regularly attend conferences and seminars that feature definite agendas . . . Volunteer to register attendees . . . Get the word out silently by submitting articles to trade journals and newspapers. When people see your name in print attached to quality work, they're likely to contact you . . . Make formal presentations. When you make a speech, you choose the content, have the benefit of a script and can get your message out efficiently . . . Cherish your quiet time. After a hard day socializing, retreat into a comfortable privacy. You'll feel more relaxed knowing that more people know your talents."

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