Investing schemes will help you get poor quickly

The Ticker

September 15, 1999|By Julius Westheimer

DO YOU GET calls and letters promising immediate riches? "Consumers lose millions to investment fraud," warns "How To Be An Informed Investor: Protect Your Money from Schemes and Scams," a paperback by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

It suggests: Buy nothing from strangers. Be wary of phone calls, letters, e-mail. Make no promises; you owe the caller nothing. Never rely on promoters' references.

Demand a prospectus and specifics about the group behind the proposal, and before investing, get professional advice from your attorney, accountant or the Better Business Bureau. Once the money is in swindlers' hands, it's generally gone forever.

SAFE HARBOR? "Bonds are headed to their worst year since 1994. Bonds perform dismally when interest rates rise. Through August the Lehman Brothers Bond Index recorded a woeful total return of minus 1.8 percent." (Bill Gross, bond manager)

WALL STREET NOTES: "Buckle up for a bumpy ride, but overall direction will be up as profits grow and merger wave bolsters share prices." (Kiplinger Washington Letter)

"Although the market is climbing a `wall of worries,' it may be forming an ominous head-and-shoulders pattern." (Smart Money)

Coca-Cola Co., Healthsouth Corp. and Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc. are listed under "Good Buying Opportunities" in S&P Outlook.

Pub Date: 9/15/99

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