Last year without a Series, 1904, saw Dow hovering around 60

THE TICKER

September 15, 1994|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

Responding favorably to lower commodity prices, higher retail sales and an optimistic Federal Reserve economic report, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 15.47 points yesterday and closed at 3,895.33.

Looking back, I found that when the World Series was canceled in 1904 -- the last year until 1994 that the autumn classic was scrubbed -- the Dow industrial average in October hovered between 57.59 and 64.54.

AND NOW WHERE? Shifting gears suddenly, many stock market reports, newsletters, analysts' comments, etc., have turned bullish. Of all the reports I have read recently, 70 percent are optimistic. Here are samples, in proportion received: "This market is getting ready to foil the majority once again by going to new all-time highs." (Prudent Market Decisions) . . . "The stock market is technically strong, and this strength says that this rally has a long way to go." (Downing & Associates' Technical Analysis) . . . "Although large-cap stocks may be reasonably valued, the significant undervaluation lies in the small-cap sector." (Investment Horizons) . . . "Expect a sharp and vicious decline of between 5 and 10 percent over a three-week span." (Winnell Report)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Assume you'll be audited. Although the number of audits has dropped, the IRS still catches many people, especially high-income earners. Prepare your return expecting an audit." (Tax Hotline, September) . . . "The best bargains in big-city hotels are on weekends, when business travelers have gone home. In resorts, best bargains are JTC midweek, because most people visit them on weekends." (Dollar Stretcher)

MONEY MATTERS: "The best investment advice I ever got was from my father, who taught me never to spend what I didn't have, and to put my earnings back into my company. The worst advice I ever got was from a banker many years ago who said, 'Why work so hard? Your husband should support you.' " (Lillian Vernon, CEO, Lillian Vernon Corp., a $196 million catalog company, in Working Woman, September) . . . "MBNA America (Del.)" is listed under Top-Yielding Certificates of Deposit in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, October. The number is (800) 345-0397 . . . "T. Rowe Price International Stock Fund owns 300 stocks in over 25 countries. Five-year returns averaged a respectable 11 percent annually." (S&P Outlook)

CAREER CORNER: National Business Employment Weekly, Sept. 11-17 issue, runs an optimistic story, "Hiring Rebounds for Banking Execs." The story explains, "As hiring picks up, banks are seeking specialists who understand such products as mutual funds and derivatives." . . . "When revising sales pay, where do CEOs seek help? A poll of 172 managers taken by the Executive Committee showed that 24 percent tapped other CEOs, 13 percent consulted their sales force and 12 percent hired a consultant." (Inc., September) "In the workplace, insincere praise worse than no praise at all." (Bits & Pieces)

NOTES & QUOTES: Final reminder: Your third-quarter estimated income tax payments must be postmarked by midnight tonight . . . Montgomery County is listed by the Census Bureau under "Counties With Most College Degrees," also with "Highest Per Capita Incomes" and the "Highest Share of Household Incomes Over $75,000." (Data from Kiplinger Washington Letter)

CHEERFUL NEWS: "If this is as bad as it gets, we should hope that it goes on forever. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up 4 percent counting dividends -- and this is the worst year for the stock market since 1990, when the S&P slipped a minuscule 3 percent." (Mutual Fund Forecaster, September) . . . "We wish the summer would go on forever. Despite a surging economy, bonds have held their course. And stocks, faced with higher interest rates, have fared well. Some averages are even challenging their highs." (Smart Money, Sept. 14) . . . Samuel Hopkins, retired Alex. Brown partner, says, "My experience shows that it pays to be an optimist 80 percent of the time."

LAST LINES: Hot Off Press: U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 19, just out, runs a semi-cheerful article on problem-ridden U.S. Surgical, founded in Baltimore and whose stock, widely held here, plunged from $118 a share in January 1992, to $15 last

year. (Midweek price about $26). The story describes a hopefully helpful new sales and marketing approach . . . Marvin Fribush, PaineWebber (576-3220) will mail you his firm's latest "Municipal Bond Strategies For Tax-Conscious Investors." ("Nobody of sound mind would build a house without a detailed plan. Yet it's not unusual for investors to plunge into the tax-free bond market, investing amounts many times over the cost of their homes, with little thought to a master plan.") The brochure then helps you construct a plan and portfolio structure . . . "All those long-distance discounts are sweet, but hikes in basic rates are offsetting special deals and sending phone company revenues ever higher." (From an article under "Information Processing" in Business Week, Sept. 19.)

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