Sykesville woman makes best Dow Jones guess

THE TICKER

January 03, 1995|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

On Friday, when the Dow Jones industrial average closed out 1994 at 3,834.44, Doris Wade of Sykesville became the winner of our 1994 Dow Jones forecasting contest with her prediction, made early last January, of 3,838.

Reached at her home, Mrs. Wade, a retired Social Security employee, said, "I was watching 'Wall Street Week' last January, when Elaine Garzarelli, the high-profile portfolio manager who predicted the 1987 stock crash, said she thought 1994 would end around Dow Jones 3,838 -- so I picked it." Mrs. Wade and her husband will be our dinner guests at her favorite restaurant, the Crab Shanty in Ellicott City later this month.

Faith Fishkind of Baltimore is the runner-up with her forecast of 3,830. She will enjoy lunch for two at her favorite eatery.

These 10 next-closest contestants, listed in order, will soon receive new, hardback books (valued at about $25 each) about money and finance: Mary Jane Meisel, Beth Brenner, Yvonne Perrett, Pam Joliffe, George Miller, Degna Cespedes, Nancy Paris, Raymond Howard, Jean Gerby and Leonard Fox. About 1,000 crystal ball gazers entered our contest. Stay tuned for next week's announcement of our 1995 game.

In our so-called "expert" category -- bankers, brokers, media stars, etc. -- the closest forecaster was NationsBank Baltimore's investment chief Myron Oppenheimer at Dow Jones 3,842. Next, in order, were Dorrit Westheimer (Mrs. Ticker), the Pulaski Highway fortune teller (not the one who was murdered), Comptroller Louis Goldstein, investment adviser Robert G. Wood, Alex Brown's Rich Palmer, Mr. Ticker (Old saying: "Even a blind hog finds an acorn occasionally") and mutual fund manager Frank Cappiello. (1995 "expert" predictions coming next week.

JANUARY JOURNAL: "If nothing but a new car will satisfy you, you can get help in finding the lowest prices in your area from Car Bargains (800-475-7283), a comparison shopping service that for $135 will solicit at least five low-ball bids on the model you want from local dealers." (Working Woman, January) . . . American Barrick, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb stocks are recommended by nine newsletters (the highest category) tracked by the latest Hulbert Financial Digest . . . Beginning this week, I will answer your money questions on WBAL-TV (Channel 11) at 6:15 a.m. (new time) and, Mondays through Thursdays, around 12:40 p.m. in the expanded noon newscast.

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Did you know that lack of estate planning may jeopardize $5 trillion (!) or more that baby boomers may inherit from their parents over the next generation? One quarter of Americans over 45 have not done any estate planning. They have not drawn up wills or organized their financial records. Also, 20 percent of existing wills could be outdated because of tax law changes or individual financial situations. Make sure your estate plan -- and those of your parents -- are in order." (Martin Shenkman, author, "The Complete Book of Trusts.")

IT'S YOUR MONEY: "Company retirement account errors may prove extremely costly. Even a small mistake can cost big dollars when compounded over the years. Self defense: Ask your employer for a description of your plan that tells how benefits are calculated. Then check to see that your salary, overtime, bonuses and commissions are reported correctly, the number of years you've worked at the company is listed correctly and contributions and benefits credited to your account match what they should be according to your calculations. If you find any discrepancies, get an explanation." ("Baby Boomer Retirement: 65 Simple Ways to Protect Your Future," by Don Silver, $9.95.)

MARYLAND MEMOS: "Washington REIT (real estate investment trust) is one of the safest REITs because of the economic stability in the wealthy Washington, D.C., suburbs, many of which lie in Maryland, and the REIT's conservative property portfolio." (Personal Finance, Dec. 28) . . . Chapin, Davis' "Cheap Stocks With Improving Earnings" list includes P. H. Glatfelter, Hancock Fabrics, Interstate Bakeries and Jacobson Stores. Phone David Clogg (435-3200) for the complete letter . . . "Baltimore's T. Rowe Price International Bond Fund (800-638-5660) is our top recommendation for mutual fund investors in the coming year." (Stephen McKee, No-Load Selections and Timing.)

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