Dow leads way for rising stock indices

The Ticker

May 03, 1994|By Julius Westheimer

Led by drug and cyclical issues, stocks scored a solid gain yesterday. The Dow Jones industrial average shrugged off early weakness and climbed 19.33 points to close at 3,701.02. All major stock indices moved into higher ground.

CLOSEST NOW: Speaking of stocks, here are the names of the closest guessers in our Dow Jones forecasting contest as the first third of 1994 ends. With the Dow industrial average closing Friday, April 29, at 3,681.69, the nearest are John T. McDonough (3,684) and Ray Smith (3,671), followed, in order, by Ginny Sinsz, Richard Lewis, Sofia Fudge, Danny Pruitt, Steven Fox, Dr. Irvin Raksin, Charles Jesilionis, Irving Zweier, Larry Lehmer and Elizabeth Singleton. (Last year's winner and runner-up, Mrs. Marie Scott and Milton Goldberg, selected Harrison's at Pier 5 and Tio Pepe, respectively, for their dinners and lunches. Both brought their daughters.).

BALTIMORE BEAT: USF&G stock ($12.50 a share) appears under "Bargain Hunting: Depressed Shares That Fund Managers Are Buying," in Barron's, May 2, on newsstands this week. The article explains, "Putnam Growth and Income Fund's manager David King says USF&G is cleaning up its balance sheet and reducing expenses. King thinks the insurer's shares, now around $13, could potentially double over the next 18 months."

FATTER CHECKS: "Dividends are popping up all over," says Business Week, May 2, adding, "Increases are coming in at a rate not seen in 13 years. The first quarter tally of 551 dividend hikes is the highest in any first quarter since 1981." Companies that have raised their payouts sharply: Alcoa, Bristol-Myers, Coca-Cola, Goodrich, Merck, Blockbuster Entertainment and Food Lion.

LOOKING FOR WORK? Between 1992 and 2004, economists predict these occupations will have the highest percentage growth. In order: home health aides, human services, personal and home care aides, computer engineers and scientists, systems analysts, physical and corrective therapy assistance, paralegals, special education teachers and medical assistants. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

GETTING THAT JOB: "The job market has improved for college graduates this year, but competition remains fierce," says USA Today, April 28. The story adds, "To get a good-paying job, graduates have to launch sophisticated job searches, for example: Networking is better than sending out hundreds of unsolicited resumes; personal interviews are best; research a company before the interview; never be late for your appointment; tell not only what you've done, but also how well you did it; set up 'informational interviews' to find out all about a company before you apply; tap alumni for help."

MAY FLOWERS: "May in Wall Street has historically been a flat month, with little change over the past 43 years." (Stock Trader's Almanac) . . . "The recent correction made tax-free municipal bonds a great bargain. Everything is on sale." (Jason Zweig, Forbes, May 9) . . . "Ten years and an estimated $200 million later, Investor's Business Daily is still losing money, but it is also gaining ground on the Wall Street Journal." (same Forbes) . . . On Thursday, May 12, Baltimore Security Analysts Society presents Gary Kelly, chief financial officer of Southwest Airlines, at the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel at noon.

WHO OWNS STOCKS? "Although there has been an explosion of mutual funds lately, funds own only 10 percent of stocks. Here is the current breakdown by percentages of ownership: Individuals own 54 percent, pension funds 25, mutual funds 10, foreign investors 5, insurance companies 4 and other companies 2 percent." (USA Today Research.)

CHOOSING WELL: "How to Find a Financial Planner" in Fortune, May 16, carries valuable suggestions. Excerpts: "According to a recent study, the No. 1 New Year's resolution is no longer losing weight or quitting smoking, but managing personal finances better. Trade associations, such as the Institute of Certified Financial Planners in Denver (800-282-7526), the International Association for Financial Planning in Atlanta (800-945-4237) or the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors in Buffalo Grove, Ill. (800-366-2732) have directories of planners near you, and they are good places to start looking.

QUESTIONS TO ASK: Ask financial planning candidates these questions: "How long have you been in business, and what is your educational background in financial planning? How are you compensated? If by fees only, what do those fees include? If you are compensated by commissions, how much would I pay to implement the plan you'll create for me? Who will work on my plan, you or a subordinate? How many clients in my financial circumstances do you have? May I see a plan prepared for a client like me? Are you registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission? May I see a copy of SEC Form ADV Part II, which lists any disciplinary actions regulators have taken against you?"

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