Buyers of blue-chip 'bargains' lift Dow


November 29, 1994|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

Building on Friday's 33-point gain -- after plunging 153 points in the previous four sessions -- the roller-coastering Dow Jones industrial average climbed 31.29 points yesterday and closed at 3,739.56. Although interest rates moved higher, blue-chip "bargains" appeared to tempt stock buyers back into Wall Street.

LOOKING BACK: December has historically been the year's strongest month, rising an average 1.8 percent over the last 43 years, measured by the S&P 500-stock index . . . Also looking back, why has jumping in and out of the stock market been a losing game? The Wall Street Journal says, "Getting out is easy, but it's harder to get back in, and evidence shows that very strong markets are clustered into tiny time periods. By trying to 'time' your moves, you could have missed the best markets. For example, in the best 60 months between 1926 to 1993, returns per month averaged 11 percent, but in the other 756 months, the average return was only one-tenth of 1 percent."

LOOKING AHEAD: A. Gary Shilling, economist, says in Forbes, Dec. 5, "The voters have spoken, but the markets don't seem to be listening. Investors are too busy watching the Fed." . . . Mark Hulbert, editor, Hulbert Financial Digest, writes, "After November most of the best-performing market newsletters felt essentially as they did before the elections: Bearish." . . . "December might be your last chance to take advantage of your company's 'flexible spending account' -- a benefit that allows you to use pretax dollars to pay for health care. It is one of the only middle-class tax breaks left. Check with your company's benefits department." (Smart Money, December)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Nearly every fee charged by your bank is negotiable. To get better terms: Find out what other banks charge, ask for what you want, stress your loyalty and good credit record, hint that you might take your business elsewhere and ask to have a no-fee checking account, your loan fees waived, etc. Repeat requests if you're turned down." (Edgar vTC Dworsky, "Consumer Forum") . . . "At outlet stores the best

bargains are often in the back of the store, and bargaining with the manager is acceptable." (Dawn Frankfort, author, "The Joy of Outlet Shopping") . . . A local traveler tells me that the book, "How To Be an Importer and Pay For Your World Travel," $8.95, tells where to go, what to buy, how to pay for it, get it home and sell it. Contact Ten Speed Press, Box 7123, Berkeley, Calif. 94707.

BALTIMORE BITS: Bethlehem Steel appears under "Blue-Collar Retirement Bulge," subtitled, "Many good blue-collar jobs should open up at industrial companies with a large share of older workers," in Business Week, Nov. 28 . . . "Eastern Savings Bank, Baltimore," appears under "Top U.S. Savings Rates: Jumbo 5-Year CD's," in the publication "100 Highest Yields." A footnote explains that a jumbo CD is based on a $100,000 deposit. . . . "Now is a good time to hold on to your bonds if you are thinking of selling, and to buy bonds if you have cash on hand." (Professor Steve Hanke, Johns Hopkins University)

MARYLAND MEMOS: Chapin, Davis' 1994 "Stocking Stuffers" are Dyersburg, Ennis Business Forms, Frederick of Hollywood, Gilbert Associates, Glatfelter, Hartford Steam Boiler, Interstate Bakeries, Nash Finch, TAB Products and Town & Country Trust. President David Clogg reports, "Last year's 'Stocking Stuffer' return of 7.3 percent was good enough to outpace the S&P 500's return of 3.8 percent." . . . Black & Decker is the subject of a favorable Legg Mason report which notes, "We have raised our 12-18 month target from $26 to $30."

NON-MONEY INTERLUDE: As most headline writers have probably unhappily discovered, Parris Glendening's last name has more letters (10) than any Maryland governor since 1919. Here's the list, going backward: Schaefer, Hughes, Mandel, Agnew, Tawes, McKeldin, Lane, O'Conor, Nice and Ritchie.

MONTH-ENDERS: "Stocks are on sale, and we're in the eighth inning of a bear market. My funds are fully invested. The Federal Reserve has overdone its interest-rate hikes. I especially like technology stocks such as Lotus and LSI Logic, also Office Depot and Starbucks." (Frederick Kobrick, senior vice president of State Street Research & Management, whose fund gained 13 percent in the last three months.) . . . "Incur deductible credit card charges before year-end. You'll be able to deduct them this year even if you don't pay them off until sometime next year." ("The Kerstetter Letter")

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