Reversing direction after losing 19 points in two previous sessions, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 12.66 points yesterday and closed at 3,908.00. The Dow utility, transportation, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes also gained ground.
YOU SAID IT: Participating in our Dow Jones forecasting contest, which ends at midnight Sunday (complete rules in last Tuesday's Ticker), some readers expressed these views on their postcard entries:
"Regarding your 1994 year-end forecast of Dow Jones 3,750, shame on you for not having faith in the stock market for this year. But I do. I think it will move up to 4,444." (Joseph Cuddy) . . . "I said last year we would have better days under President Clinton, but I didn't realize how good! Add another 11 or 12 percent from where we are now, making 4,226 for year-end." (Gary Hoopengardner) . . . "Prediction is a dangerous practice, especially if it involves money. But here's 19 cents postage that says 4,178." (Glenn Fulmec) . . . "I say 4,254. Reason: Gail Dudack is a believable stock picker, and that's good enough for me." (Don Royston) . . . "My guess is 4,112, and I won't pick the most expensive restaurant for dinner." (Henry Seim) . . . Ticker vTC note: This year's winner picked Harrison's Pier 5, and the runner-up selected Tio Pepe.
HONOR ROLL: "Some investment newsletters do well only in bull markets, others in bear, but a handful are all-weather performers," says Forbes, Jan. 31, in an article entitled, "Handicapping the Handicappers."
Here is Forbes' newsletter honor roll in both strong and weak stock markets, followed by their five-year "total return" (gain plus income) annual averages: Value Line Convertibles, 14.4; Investment Quality Trends, 12.9; The Chartist, 12.7; Zweig Forecast, 11.9; Systems & Forecasts, 11.6; Zweig Performance Ratings Report, 11.0; and Investors Intelligence, 9.5.
JANUARY JOURNAL: "For several years now, certain amoral life insurance companies and agents have touted insurance as a 'private pension' or a 'retirement savings plan' -- superior to even tax-favored IRAs, Keoghs and 401(k)s.
"But if you don't need life insurance, it makes no sense to use a cash-value policy to build retirement savings. Some actuaries call that 'moral malpractice.' " (Jane Bryant Quinn in Newsweek, Jan. 24, under"Yes, They're Out to Get You.") . . . "Think long-term: Asia's fantastic growth makes it a place to be for the rest of the decade. For investors who got in last year for a quick buck, pull some money out, give thanks for your profits and put them to work elsewhere." (U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 24, in a story titled, "Stock Shocks in Asia and Mexico.")
HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Here's a special message for teachers, school district employees and some doctors and hospital employees.
"There's a little-known way whereby you could get higher earnings on your retirement savings and have more control over your money, too. Millions of employees with 403(b) retirement plans can transfer their accumulated savings to another investment company -- such as their favorite mutual fund or insurance company.
"And they can make the transfer even if they remain in the same job,and even if the investment company they choose isn't on their employer's approved list.
"It's almost the same procedure as transferring an IRA. To make a tax-free transfer of a 403(b), contact a new investment company -- brokerage firm, mutual fund, etc. -- and they will send you a transfer form." (Wall Street Journal.)
YOU'RE THE TOP: The "most admired" companies, regarding "what they did for shareholders" in the last 10 years, according to the Fortune, Feb. 7, cover story, are, with annual total return percentages:
Home Depot, 31 percent; Walt Disney, 30; Coca-Cola, 29; Rubbermaid, 23; J. P. Morgan, 20; Procter & Gamble, 18; Motorola, 16, 3M, 14; and Microsoft, NA. "Least admired" firms, all with minus total returns, were Brooke Group, TWA, Leslie Fay, Gitano Group, Northwest Airlines, Crystal Brands, Southern Pacific, Stone Container, Continental Air Holdings and Glendale Federal Bank.