You can look for the silver lining, but beware of the slides of March

The Ticker

March 01, 1996|By Julius Westheimer

AS MARCH arrives we share recent Wall Street views, in proportion received:

BEAR TRACKS: "Legg Mason strategist Ray De Voe, an 'early bear,' has taken 80 percent of his money out of stocks. 'The best time to leave a party is when you want one more drink,' he says." (U.S. News & World Report, March 4.)

CLOUDY SKIES: "The old adage, 'Buy low, sell high' is now 'Buy low, buy high, buy even higher.' Trusting your life savings to young fund managers who never saw a bear market is sheer speculation." (Arie Vilner's Rational Outlook.)

"Dividend yield is now a staggeringly paltry 2.2 percent, making this market more overvalued than any in history." (Mogambu Guru.)

SILVER LININGS: "The tech sector, correcting since July, shows healing signs." (Trader's Focus.)

"It's not time for Armageddon, but it is time for caution." (Presidential hopeful Steve Forbes in -- what else? -- Forbes, March 11.)

"Eighty percent of the time it pays to be an optimist." (Sam Hopkins, retired Alex. Brown partner.)

MARCH WINDS: "Gold will surge to $500 an ounce by year-end, up from about $400 now." (Michael Metz, Oppenheimer & Co.)

"Owning more than five mutual funds increases odds of lower returns and complicates paperwork." (Stolper & Co., mutual fund advisers.)

"Risks of bank mutual funds are often not disclosed to customers. About 25 percent of brokers at banks did not mention sales charges or warn investors they could lose money." (Prophet Market Research Co. survey of 400 brokers working in bank branches.)

MONEY FROM HOME: To make money working at home, here, from Money, March, are highest-income home careers: Employee trainer, management consultant, business plan writer, computer trainer, mailing list assistant, temporary help provider. Cover story, "How to Earn $100,000 Working at Home" has specific suggestions.

JOB-HUNTING HINTS: This week's National Business Employment Weekly contains a helpful story, "Looking for a Job When You Already Have One." Some highlights: "Don't feel obligated to tell your employer you're looking. Take on new assignments -- committees, projects -- that boost your value, may provide leads. Steal as little company time as possible. Never use your firm's copying machine, postage meter, etc. Send thank-you notes to firms you've talked to."

TAX TIPS: To get a "smart start" on your 1995 tax return, Tax Hotline, March, suggests:

"Use last year's return to organize your work. 1994 deductions will remind you what to claim for 1995. A personal computer helps organize your taxes. Tax forms can be downloaded ready to use; order from 800-TAX-FORM. Don't assume the W-2 from your employer is correct."

INFLATION INDEX: "A Sunday New York Times in Tokyo costs $44. Tab for one night's rental of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is $40,000. An oil change for your Lamborghini Diablo: $280." (FYI magazine.)

SURPRISE! "As a result of last year's mutual fund boom, American families have more wealth tied up in stocks than in homes. All told, some 40 percent of U.S. households own stocks or stock funds directly, and millions more invest indirectly through fixed-benefit pension plans." (Wall Street Journal.)

LAST LINES: "Did you know the IRS adds 5 percent to your tax bill for each month your return is late?" (McCall's, March.)

For information on home computer tax deductions, call Harry B. Gorfine Co., 539-5474, to get the firm's February "Tax Report." It's a freebie, but too long to reprint here.

"To stay ahead in business, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings." (Bits & Pieces.)

"Near-term, protect yourself with stop-loss orders 8 percent to 10 percent below market prices." (U.S. Investment Report.)

"Buy enough life insurance to cover your estate taxes. However stiff the premium might seem, it's a bargain." (Fortune, March 18.)

"To cut funeral costs, ask for a reasonably priced casket even if you don't see one on display." ("The Funeral Book" by Clarence Miller.)

"Inexpensive gift from a child: Laminate his/her artwork and give it as a place mat." (A Penny Saved.)

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