It's no time to panic and dump stocks

The Ticker

September 14, 2001|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

IN THE wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks, some suggestions: Don't panic and dump your stocks and mutual funds; our great companies will be around for a long time. Continue contributing to 401(k), 403(b) and other retirement plans; they provide tax-deferred income in any market. Don't blindly follow the crowd; the crowd is often wrong.

MONEY MATES: How should engaged couples and newlyweds manage their money?

Black Enterprise, October, suggests: "Before saying `I do,' every couple should count the costs of marriage. Couples should also disclose what assets and liabilities each brings to the marriage. Find out if one is a spender, the other a saver.

"Also, monitor household cash flow. Create a budget and cash flow statement to account for income and spending. Reduce credit-card debt. Buy enough disability insurance to cover at least two-thirds of joint salaries after taxes. Build up emergency savings."

GOOD CREDENTIALS: The issues below are listed under "Blue Ribbon Stocks" in Standard & Poor's Outlook:

American International Group Inc., Family Dollar Stores Inc., Hershey Foods Corp., Home Depot Inc., Lowe's Cos. Inc., Johnson & Johnson, MBNA Corp., Medtronic Inc. and PepsiCo. Inc.

The newsletter explains, "All raised their dividends in each of the past 10 years; showed a 10-year average total return [gain plus income] of 14 percent; conservatively project an earnings gain of at least 9 percent in 2002 from 2001's expected level."

AND NOW WHERE? "Pessimism has deepened, and the chances of a capitulation that exhausts selling and leads to an upturn have increased. The groundwork is in place for a recovery." (S&P Outlook)

"I've recommended being underweighted in technology stocks since the start of the year, but by year-end I might be tempted to be an aggressive buyer. Another round of tax-loss selling this fall could push technology prices lower still." (Ed Yardeni, Market Compass)

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