Dow average is up 3.36 as early advance fades

The Ticker

August 31, 1993|By Julius Westheimer

Unable to hold an early-session double-digit gain, the Dow Jones industrial average drifted lower in late trading yesterday but managed to hold onto a 3.36-point advance, closing at 3,643.99.

At yesterday's close, the nearest crystal-ball gazer in our Dow Jones contest is Richard Aull (3,643), followed by Diane Shapiro (3,645), Clarence Walter (3,641), Alvin Lamm (3,640), Robert Zelechowski (3,649), R. G. Hoddinott (3,650) and Samuel Downey (3,639).

If nothing changes between now and year-end -- an unlikely outcome -- Mr. Aull and Ms. Shapiro and guests will dine at their favorite restaurants, and Mr. and Mrs. Ticker will be pick up the check.

SUMMER ENDERS: September in Wall Street has historically been Wall Street's worst month, registering an average 0.7 percent loss for the S&P composite index over the past 42 years. September has also been the worst Dow Jones month, with the Dow up only four times in the last 23 years . . . The following local stocks reached new 12-month highs in last week's trading: BG&E, Delmarva Power & Light, Laurel Bancorp, Marriott, Potomac Electric Power and Signet Banking . . . "Through July, the annual CPI inflation is running at 2.8 percent and, excluding food and energy, the 'core' CPI is up 3.2 percent -- the lowest core inflation in 10 years." (CNN News) . . . The following stocks are recommended by seven newsletters which are followed by the latest Hulbert Financial Digest: AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Intervoice, Merck, Reynolds & Reynolds and Synoptics.

BE CAREFUL: "Dollar Stretching Ideas," September, runs a good article, "Ways to Foil the Bad Guys." Excerpts: "A thief doesn't need a gun to steal from you. Some thieves go through trash, looking for credit-card correspondence they can use to get your card number, and then they charge purchases by mail. Tear up any mail that has your credit-card numbers on it . . . Some ingenious thieves also look for preapproved credit-card applications, those unsolicited letters millions of us throw away. If you flip those letters without destroying them, a thief can send the application in with an address change. He'll get the card, but the bills will be in your name." (Speaking of careless habits, I was surprised recently to find find dozens of discarded automatic teller machine receipts, with account numbers and cash balances, in a midtown ATM trash receptacle. Take those slips home, then tear them up.)

WANT A JOB? "When job-hunting, add these unconventional strategies to your search: (1) Contact bankrupt companies that are still operating. They usually have good cash flow. (2) Offer to teach at a local community college in your specialty area; when you teach, you learn, maybe uncovering employment strategies you hadn't thought of before. (3) Look for clues when searching for companies that may need someone with your skills. Review the Yellow Pages to see what's listed for the industry and profession you know best." (National Business Employment Weekly, Aug. 27, on newsstands this week.)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "If a mutual fund ad claims, 'Our fund is ranked No. 1,' ask, 'For what time frame?' If a fund advertises, 'We have a high current yield,' ask, 'What is the total return [gain plus income]?' If a mutual fund says, 'We'll generate high income,' ask, 'What is your exposure to junk bonds and other risky investments?'" (Business Week, Sept. 6) . . . "If you had placed $10,000 in a money market fund one year ago this week, you would now have $10,228. If in foreign stocks, $13,200." (DRI/ McGraw Hill release). Ticker Warning: Past performance is no guarantee of future results . . . "Do You Know Where Great Business Ideas Come From?" asks Inc. magazine, September, answering, "Forget focus groups, market surveys, and business plans. What really counts in spotting -- and capitalizing on -- great business opportunities are serendipity (the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident), ingenuity, street smarts and fast footwork."

LOOKING AHEAD: "Of course there will be bear markets, but the next one shouldn't be all that bad, and a really big one is a long way off." (Kenneth Fisher, money manager, in Forbes, Aug. 30) . . ." As some 'hot issues' have recently illustrated, there can be a downside even while the fat lady is still relaxing in her dressing room." (Laszlo Birinyi, financial consultant) . . . "By every historical standard the market is too high, but low interest and inflation rates will keep it up. I'll predict Dow Jones 3,700 within 30 days and 3,800 by year-end." (Robert Stovall, adviser) . . . "We look for companies selling at low P/E ratios and large discounts. I like the financial service stocks -- banks, savings and loans and brokerages. My pets include Citibank, Lloyds Bank, Barclays, Enhanced Financial and some REITs." (William Miller, president, Legg Mason Fund Advisor)

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