TODAY WE open the April notebook:
April historically has been the fourth- strongest Wall Street month, stocks rising an average 1.2 percent over 45 years.
"New studies show people spend 23 percent more with credit cards than with cash. As one shopper said, "When I peel off $20 bills, that feels like real money.' " (Tightwad Gazette)
"Feed that IRA! You can open or add to an IRA until April 15 and count contributions against the 1995 tax year." (Modern Maturity, March-April)
ORIOLES OPENER: When buying stocks, don't try to make a killing by hitting home runs. If you swing for the fences, you might strike out. It's safer consistently to hit singles and doubles.
TAX TREADMILL: "Wonder why your income goes up, but your living standard doesn't? A family earning $95,440 -- twice the median rate -- is worse off than eight years ago, and marginally worse off after taxes than 24 years ago, thanks to rising tax burden." (Forbes, April 8)
WHO'S AHEAD: At the "first-quarter pole," with the Dow Jones industrial average closing out March at 5,587.14, the closest contest forecasters are:
Benjamin Knop, 5,590; Joao Moreira, 5,584; Mrs. John Phelps, 5,583; and Robert Flens, 5,582. When these predictions were made in mid-January, the Dow stood around 5,160. Nine months to go!
BE CAREFUL: "Over 10 years, Value Line scored top performance, but July 1995-February 1996 the firm's stock recommendations gained only 2 percent, 3 percentage points below average for the 1,700 stocks it tracks, and a staggering 12 points worse than the Dow." (Money, April)
TRY AN INDEX: "Only a few money managers outperform the market long-term. From 1986-1995, S&P 500-stock index returned 15 percent, yet only 14 percent of mutual funds did better. Last year, with S&P up 38 percent, only 8 percent of funds beat it. 'Index funds' put stock-pickers to shame." (Business Week, April 1)
FREE STATE FILE: Maryland ranks No. 2 in the United States. under "States With Highest Percentage of Black-Owned Businesses" in Black Enterprise, April. Our state shows a 10.9 percentage, or 35,758 black firms out of 328,403 total firms in the state.
LOCAL BAROMETER: "We're a good indicator of the Baltimore economy, because of our uniform rental 'add-ons' and 'layoffs,' " says Milton Halpern, senior vice president of Ace Uniform Services.
He adds, "The local picture looks bright. Holding up strongly are auto sales, chemicals, parking garages, trucking, bottling. In general, we see an upswing in people going to work."
TAX TIP: "Any stock 'tax-deferral' strategy is questionable. If you think the time is right to sell a stock, then sell it." (Financial World, April 8, in "Don't Let Taxes Rule Your Portfolio")
DON'T FALL BACK: Success, April, runs a jam-packed, eight-page review of a new book, "The New MaxiMarketing," by Stan Rapp and Thomas Collins. Article excerpts:
"You must re-examine your 1990s marketing, or you'll fall behind competitors. MaxiMarketers know their users by name, address, phone number, income, etc. One MaxiMarketer used home shopping channel to sell $600,000 of bathrobes in a single day. Once you have a customer in your database, you can sell, cross-sell, new-sell and friend-sell."
HOLD YOUR JOB! This week's (March 31-April 6) National Business Employment Weekly has a useful story, "Guerrilla Survival Skills to Protect Your Turf at Work." Highlights:
"Many give up power too easily. There's always someone who plays against the rules. Organizations never punish turf violators. They see who wins, then embrace winners and forget losers. Before you know it, you can be loser and someone else is your boss."
"Don't give up what you've worked so hard to build and let someone take what's yours. When in doubt, take more, not less of the pie. Develop a winning strategy that includes building allies."
"Corporate bean counters don't care. All they know is to cut back where they have least resistance. Don't let the 'least resistance' be you."
"Building turf isn't for the timid. Times are tough, and the less of a power base you have, the greater the chances you'll be axed."
"You could be in a life-or-death struggle for your job. You must be tough. Nice, lovely people are often the first to be let go."
Pub Date: 4/03/96