All about money


Approaching year-end, we present an assortment of random money items from Baltimore and beyond:

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: Want to check on your bank's financial strength? Write Veribanc, Box 461, Wakefield, Mass. 01880 for full research report ($45) or shorter executive summary ($25). For instant phone rating ($10 for one, $3 for each additional), call 800-442-2657. Visa or MasterCard O.K. . . . "Upper-income earners may want to accelerate income into 1990 because it is taxed at 28 percent this year, 31 percent in 1991. Cut-off point for deciding whether to defer or accelerate income is generally $185,000 of taxable income on joint return, $109,000 for singles." (Price Waterhouse Report) . . . "Financial problems are a major cause of divorce in 80 percent of under-30 couples. Couples are more likely to remain happily married when women take an active role in family finances." (Brown University Family Therapy Letter) . . . Regarding the above, I find that women are generally better investors than men because women buy stocks of products they see selling freely in supermarkets, etc.: Campbell Soup, Gillette, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Bristol Myers (Bufferin, Clairol), Procter & Gamble, etc., whereas men specialize in high-tech issues they frequently know nothing about.

BALTIMORE BEAT: Myron Oppenheimer, Security Trust/Maryland National Bank, sends his firm's Strategy Update. Excerpts: "Bonds moderately attractive with inflation low and economy slowing; we're cautiously optimistic on stocks; earnings will be key as corporate margins are squeezed; buy quality firms with clean balance sheets." Phone Oppenheimer (244-6569) for full letter . . . Marvin Fribush, PaineWebber (576-3220), will mail 12-page "Yield-Enhancement Strategies for the Recession." . . . USF&G; stock is listed under "Where Yields or Payout Ratios Are Unusually High" in S&P; Outlook, Dec. 5 . . . Legg Mason (539-3400) has a new 50-page Institutional Monthly which the firm will mail . . . "Without Kuwait, economic pieces should fall into place to bring good stock prices, but with things as they are, we'll have to wait on events." (Investment Counselors of Maryland)

DECEMBER DIARY: Kiplinger Washington Letter, Dec. 7, says lower interest rates will cushion the recession as Fed will ease credit farther, with inflation barrier now lessened . . . "Did you know that individual taxpayers underpaid their federal income taxes by $48 billion last year because of understated income?" (Only Tax Guide You'll Ever Need, $12.95) . . . "If you want to be rich, do what rich people do." (Elderly man talking to young man in Lyric Opera House lobby) . . . "Switching from one credit card to another won't hurt your credit rating." (Inside Financial magazine) . . . My thanks to retired Circuit Court Judge Clayton Carter, Queen Anne's County, for writing, in part: "Over WBAL you stated that under the Maryland Uniform Gifts to Minors Act a custodian had to turn over assets to a minor at age 18. That act was repealed last year and the new act defines a minor as under 21."

WALL STREET WATCH: "Do things look gloomy? They always do, close to a major market bottom. This is best buying opportunity since 1974." (Kenneth Fisher, Forbes, Dec. 24) . . . "Recent upside breakout above Dow 2,520 is an important bull trap; don't get sucked into this bear rally." (Joseph Granville) . . . "It's beginning to look like a bull market once again." (Mutual Fund Forecaster) . . . "Stock market is nearing end of its rally; next decline should be more substantial than what occurred in August and September." (Robert Prechter's Elliott Wave Theorist) . . . "Market environment now favorable, with March, 1991, highest probability month for start of new bull market." (Favorably Positioned Stocks) . . . "Market is probably at or near end of its recovery phase." (Robert Farrell, Merrill Lynch) . . . "With possibility of lower interest rates ahead, stock prices should work higher." (Monday Morning Market Memo).

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