Dow stays up don't try to time move



Recovering from a 34-point free fall in the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average posted a moderate gain yesterday.

Despite a falling dollar which sent our currency to a new low against the Japanese yen, the Dow indicator edged up 7.95 points and closed at 3,997.56, only 14 points below its all-time high.

LOSER'S GAME: Speaking of stocks, don't try to "time" your stock purchases. Don't take my word for it; here's the historical evidence. John Bogle, CEO, Vanguard Group, says, "Dramatic market moves take place over amazingly short time periods. 50 percent of the stock market's rise in the past decade took place in only four of the 120 months. If you try to 'time' your purchases, you're likely to miss much of the market's surge."

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL (1): "Making an early withdrawal from an IRA, Keogh, 401(k) or 403(b) plan should be done only in dire emergency; you could incur big penalties and taxes." (Ken Dolan, author, "Straight Talk on Money.")

"To get more money from your boss, make an appointment at least once a year to talk to him or her about how your capabilities help the company." (Lesley Alderman, author, "Your Worklife.")

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL (2): "Will you stick with a favorite stock -- and maybe buy more -- if it drops by half after you first buy it? If you can't, you shouldn't be in the stock market." (Warren Buffett, highly successful investor and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway holding company.)

"You're being 'taken' if your broker asks, 'You don't want to be bothered every time we buy or sell something, do you?'" (Working Woman.)

MARCH WINDS: "When Your Parents' Money Becomes Your Worry" is worth reading in Business Week, March 6. ("Small slipups, lost utility bills, unpaid insurance premiums, uncashed dividend checks, major investment decisions -- can have major consequences for the elderly. Parents may need your help.")

"Of several thousand 'Power Ball' contestants surveyed, most people said they would ask their fathers first for investment advice if they won $100 million, followed by mothers, other family members and then stock brokers." (ABC News.)

"The typical American family is living on less than it did 15 years ago. Most of us are getting nowhere." (Labor Secretary Robert Reich.)

MONEY SAVERS: "If neither you nor your spouse is covered by an employer's pension plan, you can deduct every penny of your IRA contribution, regardless of how much you earn. You may contribute up to $2,000 if you're single; $2,000 per person ($4,000 total) if you're married, file jointly, and both you and your spouse work; or $2,250 if you're married, file jointly, and only one of you works." (Consumer Reports, March.)

NOT THE BEST: In a recent Ticker (Feb. 23), we listed the 10 "Hottest Job Opportunities in America" (computer engineer, physical therapist, special education teacher, etc.) from Money magazine, March. Here, from the bottom, are the "coldest" places to look, the jobs least likely to be available: Pharmacist, painter, heating and air-conditioning technician, religious director/clergy, auto body repairer, construction and building inspector, computer programmer, lawyer, accountant, auditor, stock broker, vocational education teacher.

BALTIMORE BITS: "Over the last 10 years Black & Decker has been a dog on Wall Street. At a recent $25 a share, it's just about where it was a decade ago. But the construction tool and appliance company has recently broken out of its torpor, and it's possible the stock is about to do the same." (Forbes, March 13.)

Speaking of Black & Decker, the stock landed in the 12-month "New High" listings practically every day last week, touching $27.12 a share. During the last year you could have bought the stock as low as $17.

Regarding stocks with local connections, the stock of Times Mirror Co., owner of The Baltimore Sun Co., slipped into the 12-month "New Low" column last week, sinking to $17.37 a share. Its yearly high was $23.75.

Bethlehem Steel appears under "Depressed Stocks With Rising Earnings" in S&P Outlook, March 1. Earnings per share are listed as 35 cents in 1994 vs. estimated $2.10 this year.

MORE BALTIMORE: Baltimore earns a "B-minus" mark in Financial World's March 14 cover story, "Ranking the Cities." ("Baltimore is getting there, but is still in the pilot stage of a new performance measurement system. Since FW started evaluating cities in 1991, Baltimore has had a number of fits and starts in this area.")

Looking at the above ranking by category, our city ranks B+ for financial management, C+ for performance evaluation, B for infrastructure maintenance and C for information technology. Our bonds are rated A1 by Moody's and A by Standard & Poor's.

LAST LINES: "Stocks will gradually rise through this year's first quarter because 1994 fourth-quarter earnings will be stronger than expected, boosting stock prices." (Wayne Angell, former Federal Reserve governor) . . . "The average car is now eight years old. Average age in 1970 -- 4.9 years." (Rockefeller International survey.)

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