Dow steadies, climbs 9 as Russian tensions ease

Julius Westheimer

September 23, 1993|By Julius Westheimer

Stocks regained their balance yesterday as tensions in Russia eased. After losing 96 points in four consecutive days, the Dow Jones industrial average edged up 9.78 points and closed at 3,547.02.

WALL STREET WISDOM: Regarding the above, my uncle Irvin Westheimer, a stockbroker, once advised me, "Julius, try to build a long-term, quality portfolio that every headline doesn't buffet." And Joseph Katz, a Baltimore advertising executive many years ago said, "Today's newspaper wraps tomorrow's fish."

AUTUMN ITEMS: A recent Business Week article listed these local "car-buying services" with phone numbers: Carbargains, Washington, (800) 475-7283; and Consumers Automotive, Fairfax, Va., (703) 631-5161. Ask for fees when calling . . . "If you hold a garage sale, sell popcorn and soft drinks, too. Customers will enjoy the snacks and linger longer to look at items, and you will take in extra money. And keep things neat, not only the items for sale but the garage where you sell them." ("Smart Cents: Creative Tips For Living the Skinflint Way," by Ron and Melodie Moore, $6.95) . . . "Reschedule a tax audit if the time assigned by the IRS is not convenient for you. New IRS rules require making audits more convenient for taxpayers. Best time: Just before lunch or near the end of the workday. Best day: Friday." ("Tax Wise Money" by Robert Carlson, 824 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, 21202.)

LOCAL NOTES: The locally-operated Greenspring Fund produced a 16.5 percent total return (gain plus income) for 1992 vs. 7.6 percent for the S&P 500 stock index. So far this year, Greenspring has returned 14 percent vs. 8.4 percent for the S&P 500. Greenspring holds a 5-star rating by Morningstar Rating Service. Call Mike Godack at 823-5353 for a prospectus and details . . . First National Bank says, "We continue to recommend a fully invested position, stocks slightly overweighted over bonds. We have increased our exposure to foreign markets either through country funds, individual securities or international equity funds." . . . Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon, Legg Mason's Fred Yoder holds a seminar on "Pre-Retirement Investing." Call 771-3455 for details . . . I answer your call-in money questions, live, on WBAL-TV (Channel 11) weekdays at 5:45 and 6:45 a.m., Saturdays at 8:15 a.m. We show the call-in phone number on the screen.

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "People can start collecting Social Security any time after they turn 62. But by beginning then, their monthly checks will be 20 percent smaller -- forever -- than if they had waited until 65. And if they begin at 65, their checks will be 20 percent smaller than if they had waited until 70. For each year of delay, the monthly payment rises 4 to 8 percent." (New York Times) . . . "Travelers who get hooked on discounts can rest easy. The industry's rebound is fragile and most hotel managers are desperate to fill beds. One hotel executive said, 'It is better to sell at a discount than not to fill rooms at all.' " (Fortune, Oct. 4).

WORKPLACE WISDOM: Working Woman magazine, October issue, runs a helpful story, "Five Best Businesses for Women." Excerpts: "Women often pick the riskiest businesses to start, but certain growth fields have built-in advantages and low start-up costs." They are (1) Health care, one of the fastest-growing areas the economy; (2) Nondurable manufacturing, such as plastic, rubber and leather products, also printing and publishing; (3) Environmental products and services; (4) Information management and technology; and (5) Business financial services such as tax planning, cash flow bookkeeping, receivables management, etc.

DEFICIT 'PEANUTS': "Want to know how to really cut the budget deficit? The concept is simple -- go after entitlements because that's where the big money is. All the rest, including 'reinventing government,' is peanuts." (Fortune, Oct. 4.) The article lists entitlements as federal retirements, veterans' benefits, Social Security, unemployment payments, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, farm subsidies, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. The article explains, "No wonder Washington is so leery of tampering with entitlements; they are the biggest sacred cows in American politics."

STOCK WATCH: "The stock market has reached a critical crossroads. Because of technical data and where we are in the stock market cycle picture, the odds are very high the market will see a major top within a few weeks, if it has not been seen

already." (Peter Eliades' Stock Market Cycles) . . . "A bubble of historic proportions threatens to destroy the middle class who have foolishly given up the safety of bank accounts for stock/bond speculation in the form of mutual funds -- the Tulip Mania of this century." (Harry D. Schultz, money manager) . . . "Risks in the market are increasing, yet for investors no top is yet here or in clear sight, so stay put." (Principles of the Stock Market) . . . "Only 40 percent of investment advisers are bullish, while 38.5 percent are bearish. These simply are not the type of attitudes you see at a market top. Rising corporate earnings are likely to continue to drive stock prices higher." (Investors Intelligence.)

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