Lots of stocks were bargains back when this column was born

The Ticker

February 19, 1999|By Julius Westheimer

On MONDAY, Ticker will mark its 22nd birthday. When this column was born on Feb. 22, 1977, the Dow Jones industrial average stood at 939.26. This morning, the Dow is at 9,298.63 after a 22-year surge of 8,359.37 points, or 890 percent.

Adjusted for splits, here are the prices of some well-known stocks from when Ticker first ticked, followed (in parentheses) by yesterday's closing prices:

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. $8.125 ($26.75); Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. $4.50 ($125.125); Procter & Gamble Co. $5 ($91.625); Coca-Cola Co. $2.125 ($64.625); McDonald's Corp. $2.25 ($83); Merck & Co. $1 ($77.75); Rouse Co. $5.125 ($23.125).

Where will the stock market go now?

"Our current reading of advisers shows 60.7 percent `bullish,' the highest optimistic reading since August 28, 1987," says Moneypaper.

"That was about a month and a half before the 508-point crash, the biggest one-day percentage decline in history. This certainly raises the caution flag."

BE CAREFUL: "Beware of `one-year' mutual fund and money managers' performances," warns Hulbert Financial Digest. "Huge one-year returns turn out to be almost impossible to sustain. Often, last year's big winner turns out to be this year's big loser.

"When focusing on one-year returns, it's impossible to separate advisers whose returns reflected genuine ability from ones who were just lucky. Longer track records -- five or 10 years -- tell us much more about an adviser's abilities."

Pub Date: 2/19/99

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