Ides of March brings warnings and optimism for further gains

The Ticker

March 15, 1996|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

"Beware the Ides of March." (Soothsayer to Caesar in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar"). The Ides, in the ancient Roman calendar, is the 15th day of March, according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

ANOTHER WARNING: "Erosion in enthusiasm since December is itself a warning stocks have far overextended their inherent values." (Vickers Insider)

BRIGHTER SIDE: "Current bull market will continue. Interest rates favorable, momentum positive." (Klipp Letter)

BEST OF BAD: "It was a lousy year for investment letters," says Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, April, adding, "Of 500 portfolios tracked by Hulbert, only 45 matched the 37.5 percent total return of S&P 500-stock index. Top newsletter was OTC Insight ($295 a year, 800-955-9566); its portfolios returned 71.2 percent.

APRIL FOOLS: "April is the cruelest month for poets and tax cheats. Here are stellar lawbreakers, with penalties: Willie Nelson, $5.4 million; Darryl Strawberry, $350,000; Leona Helmsley, $9 million; Ronald Reagan, $4,663; Pete Rose, $50,000; Spiro Agnew, $10,000." (Worth, April)

NOTES & QUOTES: "Least popular times to fly Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday are when you get best discounts, up to 30 percent." (Ladies Home Journal, March)

"If you're tired of stewing in your doctor's waiting room, call first to see how he or she is running. A helpful assistant will advise when to leave for the office." (Working Families)

MARYLAND MEMOS: CleanNet USA, Inc., Columbia, (commercial cleaning) and Parcel Plus, Annapolis, (business-shipping services) are listed under "Top 50 Business Service Franchises in America" in Entrepreneur, March.

Silver Spring-based Manor Care is described favorably under "In the Limelight" in S&P Outlook, March 13.

MARCH WINDS: Kiplinger Washington Letter says Treasury officials are considering bonds indexed to inflation, like those in Canada and Britain, with yields adjusted to CPI changes.

"If your boss doesn't like you, evaluate why your boss feels that way." (Good Housekeeping, March)

TAX-SAVER: "When making a charitable bequest, specify that the money comes from your IRA, 401(k), etc. When you leave tax-deferred money to charity, the institution receives the full amount, tax-free, helping your heirs escape tax that otherwise would be due when they take money out of an IRA." (Moneypaper, March)

WHAT YOU THINK: Comments from entries in our Dow Jones contest:

"I say year-end Dow Jones 5,849." (Barbara Frankovic, 1995 winner with her 4,948 prediction, made when Dow was at 3,880. Actual close: DJ 5,117.

"Downsizing racks up bigger corporate profits; stock uptrend to continue to DJ 5,988." (Milton Goldberg, 1994 runner-up)

"I predict 5,668, with more faith in industry vigor and ingenuity than in Washington officials." (Charles Tracy)

"Presidential election year and Republican victory is worth 20 percent, so it'll be 6,139." (John Yasalonis)

"7,892. As businesses get leaner and meaner, they'll continue to get greener." (Jo Ann Palmer)

"Large companies to keep cutting workers and costs, thus benefiting Wall Street to Dow 6,311." (James Walterhoefer)

STORM CLOUDS: "I pick 4,617 with the 'gut feeling' we'll have tough sledding." (Richard Lidinsky, retired deputy city comptroller)

"What goes up must come down. I say 4,130." (M. Gail Grempler)

"GOP and Bill Clinton won't agree on a budget, so interest rates will rise and times will get tough. I say 4,638." (Scott Furman)

"Government can't get finances in order; unemployed middle-income workers lose buying power; people under 30 suffer credit excesses. I say 3,785." (Phil Retchless)

Pub Date: 3/15/96

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