Stocks follow bonds higher Dow up 17.04

The Ticker

December 23, 1993|By Julius Westheimer

Following bonds higher, stocks scored good gains yesterday. In the wake of a successful five-year Treasury bond auction, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 17.04 points to close at 3,762.19. The final tally was just 2 1/4 points below the Dow's all-time peak.

All of the major stock indexes ended in plus territory.

SCROOGE SUMMARY: Pessimists have dominated recent Wall Street comment by about 4 to 1. A cross section of their views follows: "We caution investors not to be fooled by the strength in the Dow Jones industrials; the broad market is much weaker." (Biotechnology/Health Stock News letter) . . . "The stock market is too high, but generally the market doesn't decline in the first year of a new president's term -- it gets crunched in the second." (California Technology Stock Letter) . . . "Although Santa Claus will likely bring a much stronger economy than economists expect, the New Year Scrooge is likely to call on investors early in 1994." (Investech) . . . "I remain steadfastly bullish despite last month's painful correction. This December is the best buying opportunity that we have had since early 1992." (Louis Navallier's MPT Review) . . . "Another sign of excessive speculation: the number of 'net' bullish ads in Barron's last week was 31, a figure bested only twice before, once in 1987 shortly before The Crash." (The Zweig Forecast) . . . "In 1993 the market loved the cats and dogs; in 1994 it will punish them." (David Dreman, investment counselor.)

BRIGHTER THOUGHTS: Responding to several requests, we reprint this Christmas message, found in an old magazine many years ago: "This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Speak your love. Speak it again, and once again."

LOCAL LINE: Legg Mason says of Delmarva Power & Light, a stock widely held locally: "Although the company has several fundamental strengths, we do not expect this utility to outperform the group in the next few years. We recommend swapping into United Illuminating (Connecticut) with no loss of dividend yield." Call Gerald Scheinker (486-8010) for details . . . When McCormick & Co. announced a 9 percent dividend increase on Monday, that advance represented the spice company's 10th payout increase since 1988, a 250 percent jump in five years. The stock, now around $23 a share, sold as low as $1.50 during the last 20 years, adjusted for splits . . . Frederick Ruof, the president of National Emergency Medicine Association, headquartered in Towson, says that you can reduce errors in hospital bills by asking that an itemized bill be mailed to you before it is sent to your insurance company.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: To enlist the help of your children in cutting utility bills, try putting last month's bill up on the refrigerator door, and let everyone share the amount you save on the next bill." (Dollar Stretching Ideas) . . . Start sharpening your pencil and your wits for our 1994 Dow Jones forecasting contest, with dinners and lunches as guests of Mr. and Mrs. Ticker at your favorite restaurant as prizes; details and local "expert" predictions coming early next year . . . Good last-minute book ideas are "Computer Wars: How The West Can Win in a Post-IBM World," by Charles Ferguson; and "The Warburgs: The 20th Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family," by Ron Chernow . . . Merry Christmas to all. Drive safely!

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