Dow, S&P, Nasdaq gain utilities drop as rates rise

THE TICKER

February 17, 1994|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

The Dow Jones industrial average extended Tuesday's 24-point rally yesterday, adding nine points to close at 3,937.27. The S&P 500-stock and the Nasdaq over-the-counter indexes also gained, but utilities declined as interest rates edged up. U.S. Surgical stock, widely held here, plunged 5 5/8 points to 21 1/2 after the firm lost a patent-infringement lawsuit.

MONEY MATTERS: "The way to get rich is to make money, not to save it." (Kate Chopin, 1889) . . . "Economy is a savings bank, into which men drop pennies, and get dollars back." (Josh Billings, 1865) . . . "It's very well to be thrifty, but don't amass a hoard of regrets." (Charles D'Orleans, 1465.)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "You could save money on life insurance by buying it directly from a company like Ameritus Life Insurance Corp. (800-552-3553) or USAA Life Insurance Co. (800-531-8000). These companies sell term and cash-value insurance directly to the public, thereby minimizing commissions and fees. You can also save money by boosting the deductibles on your homeowner's and auto insurance policies and increasing the waiting period before your disability insurance starts." ("The New Century Family Money Book" by Jonathan Pond.)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Next week, the government issues two- and five-year notes, income free of state and local taxes. Call the Baltimore Federal Reserve Branch (576-3553) for details . . . Here's a partial list of local area stockholders' meetings, more to follow: McCormick, March 16; Mercantile Bankshares, TC April 18; First National Bank, April 19; Baltimore Gas and Electric, April 20; Alex. Brown, April 25; Signet Bank, April 26; Bank of Baltimore, April 27; Rouse Co., May 12. Stockholders should watch their mail for time, place, etc. . . . Tomorrow night, "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser" presents Eric Ryback of The Lindner Funds, with panelists Ralph Acampora, Carter Randall and Maceo Sloan. The program is about investing for income.

FEBRUARY FINDINGS: Next Wednesday, Baltimore Security Analysts feature Mid Atlantic Medical Services, with John Child, chief financial officer, as speaker, Hyatt Regency at noon . . . Legg Mason's Gerald Scheinker will mail his firm's "Utility Income Buy List" if you phone him at 486-8010. ("High-yielders" include FPL Group, Interstate Power and Nevada Power, all 7 percent or higher). . . . Each weekday morning this week and next, I conduct a series on Channel 11 called "Making Ends Meet," a hopefully helpful collection of money-savers. For a summary of all 10 programs, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to "Making Ends Meet," WBAL-TV, Balto., Md. 21211 . . . Inflation Note: A reader sent me an old New Yorker magazine, dated Feb. 11, 1939, (15 cents), which ran a full-page color ad for a six-bottle carton of Coca-Cola for 25 cents. (If I recall correctly, a single Coke at Oriole Park at Camden Yards last summer cost $2.25.)

BALTIMORE BEAT: Myron Oppenheimer, vice president, Security Trust/NationsBank, sends along his firm's latest "Investment Review," which he will mail you if you phone him at 244-6590. The brochure contains domestic, international and small capitalization stock performance figures, interest rate levels and total return on different bond market indexes. ("Regarding stocks, another year of moderate gains is likely for 1994 as the economy continues to expand from fourth-quarter momentum.") . . . Investment Counselors of Maryland (Craig Lewis) says, "In regard to the 96-point Dow Jones plunge following the discount rate increase, we believe it was an overreaction that will not begin a trend." Phone 539-3838 for the firm's February Economic and Investment Perspective.

MIDWINTER MEMOS: Although the Dow Jones industrial average gained 16.9 percent and the S&P 500 advanced 10 percent last year, the EAFE (European, Asian, Far East) International Fund surged 33 percent. All figures are for total return (gain plus income) . . . "Odd things are happening to closed-end municipal-bond funds -- investment companies that own tax-exempt securities and trade on the exchanges. Instead of the usual premium-to-net-asset value, many closed-end funds are trading 7 to 8 percent below the value of the fund's holdings. The result is tempting: you can find $15 of assets on sale for $14." (Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, March.)

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