Ask appropriate questions before taking 'curbstone tips'

The Ticker

June 28, 2000|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

Do you take "curbstone tips" when buying stocks, hoping Lady Luck will bail you out of mistakes? Here's a better idea:

"Before investing, ask your adviser these `must' questions," says Family Money, July-August:

Does the company show consistent sales and earnings growth?

Is the firm gaining market share?

Does the company raise its dividends regularly?

How does the business stack up against competition?

Do you see legal or regulatory problems ahead?

SENIOR CIRCUIT: "Grandparents who want to pay for college should consider capital gains taxes. If elders are in the 20 percent bracket and the grandchild is at 8 percent, it's better to transfer appreciated shares of stock instead of cash." (Forbes)

INFLATION FIGHTERS: "It's wise to add U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) to a portfolio, especially if inflation tops 2 percent. Principal and interest are pegged to the Consumer Price Index." (Robert Salomon, investment adviser)

WALL STREET WATCH: "This bear market is deceptively dangerous. Treat it with utmost caution. Stay on the sidelines rather than suffer devastating air pockets." (Richland Report, in this week's Barron's)

"Despite U.S. stock market turmoil for the `head-liners,' smaller companies around the world are just getting going." (Personal Finance)

"Stay cautious. We have not heard the last from the Fed and until we do, the market will continue in a volatile trading range." (Walter Frank's Money Letter)

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