Dow industrials crash 5,000, and strong Dec. yet to come

The Ticker

November 24, 1995|By Julius Westheimer

WITH DECEMBER -- historically Wall Street's strongest month -- just ahead, and with the Dow Jones industrial average this morning at 5,041.61, up 1,207 points (31 percent) this year, where do we go from here?

IN GENERAL: "An obvious 'topping' sign is when sudden air pockets develop in high-flying stocks, and recently some high techs have been bombed for disappointing expectations." (Ian McAvity's Deliberations.)

"We're optimistic because the Fed is our friend, the economic expansion will last through 1996 and the stock supply-demand balance is favorable." (Bear Stearns' Global Investor.)

"Son, let the other guy have the last 10 percent." (My father, a stock broker many decades ago.)

SUGGESTION: At this lofty level in the stock market cycle, apply the "risk-reward" test to each of your stocks. Ask yourself, "Is the current risk of holding [or buying more] worth the potential reward?" Your broker can help.

NUTS & BOLTS: Philip Caret, 99, highly successful investor featured in last Sunday's New York Times, lists these stocks "for investors with five-year outlooks."

AT&T, Greif Bros. (fiberboard containers), Viacom (entertainment and communications), First Financial Caribbean (mortgage financing), BSB Bancorp (regional banking.)

Norwest (money center banking), Disney, American Mobile Satellite (satellite communications), Progressive Insurance (property and casualty coverage) and GRC International (telecommunications.)

LANDING THAT JOB: "Sell Yourself With a Two-Minute Commercial" is the title of a helpful article in this week's National Business Employment Weekly.

Excerpts: "Your goal is to create a short job description that could easily be recited during an impromptu elevator conversation.

"Such a quick commercial should have: Your most important work skills, values and organizational characteristics. A synthesis the above points into a short job description that could be quickly recited." The issue ($3.95) is worth buying.

STAYING PUT: "Fewer unemployed executives are relocating to accept or look for a new job. One reason: the dual-income family where a working spouse won't move. Exception: 1993, the busiest downsizing year, when many felt they had to move." (Business Week, Nov. 27.)

LITTLE GUY: "It's welcome news that a new nonprofit organization, the National Council of Individual Investors, has come into being on behalf of small shareholders," says Gerri Detweiler, in charge of public policy for the group.

"The balance of power in Washington these days has been shifting toward the securities industry and away from the individual investor."

NCII can be reached at (202) 467-6244. (U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 27.)

TAX STRATEGY: Some steps to take before Dec. 31 to reduce your tax bill: Schedule an appointment with your accountant. To avoid penalty, make sure your total withholding or quarterly payments are within $500 of the tax you'll owe for 1995. To be safe, make your 1995 payments at least 100 percent of tax you paid last year. If self-employed, shift income into 1996. Balance gains with losses.

BALTIMORE & BEYOND: USF&G stock appears under "Opportunity Knocks -- Look Where The Smart Money is Going Now," in Forbes, Dec. 4, just out.

Black & Decker hit several new highs this week. Now trading around $36, the stock sold as low as $22 within the last 12 months.

Procter & Gamble, parent of Noxell Cosmetics and Fragrance Products, Hunt Valley, is listed under "Core Stocks for Long-Term Capital Appreciation," in S&P Outlook, Nov. 22.

Stock markets will close at 1 p.m. today, historically the year's slowest trading session.

"A 'qualified pension and profit-sharing plan' is one of the few remaining viable tax shelters. See your benefits people." (Personal Finance, Nov. 22.) Details next Wednesday.

Tonight, "Wall Street Week" focuses on retail stocks with guest Joseph Ellis, retail specialist, and panelists Ralph Acampora, Frank Cappiello and Louis Holland.

Tired of resumes, interviews, etc.? Send $12.95 for "A Home Business Start-Up Guide" to author Wendy Priesnitz, P.O. Box 60, Lewiston, N.Y. 14092." (Living Cheap News, November.)

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