Dow posts a slim gain interest rates edge up

Slipping late in the day, the Dow Jones industrial average managed to hold onto a one-point gain yesterday, closing at 3,240.87. Interest rates edged higher yesterday.

AND NOW WHERE? "Stocks increase only 3 percent on average the year after a presidential election, no matter which party wins. Historical data suggest the next 12 months will be a time for extreme caution." (Money, November) . . . "I lack enthusiasm for the U.S. stock market. Right now I have only 55 percent of our portfolio in U.S. stocks. My main concern is that stock valuations are too high." (Leon Cooperman, investment chief, Goldman Sachs Asset Management) . . . "Slow and steady wins the race." (Aesop) . . . "The October dip made stocks cheaper, compelling us to add to our growth portfolio." (Stephen Leeb, Personal Finance) . . . "The 1987 and 1990 bear markets lulled investors into thinking they could recover losses quickly, but typically it takes five years to recover from a bear market. If your horizon is less than five years, we strongly advise against buying stocks now." (Global Fund Timer)


BALTIMORE BEAT: As we approach the holidays, please be generous to Baltimore's soup kitchens. Our Daily Bread, 411 Cathedral St., has published its new "Wish List": Lunch meats, baby food, baby formula, tuna fish, milk, cheese, sugar, baggies, jelly, soap, razor blades and money. Phone 410-659-4000 for delivery instructions. This soup kitchen serves an average of 850 men, women and children for lunch 365 days a year. In O.D.B.'s newsletter, volunteer Betty Rochford writes, "I noticed a gentleman wearing a heavy winter coat in August and I wondered why. The answer became clear as other guests were seated, each with his or her entire belongings on their backs."

MORE ON BALTIMORE: Myron Oppenheimer, investment chief, Security Trust-Maryland National Bank, will mail his firm's latest "Investment Review," featuring an explanation of the European currency crisis and how it affects our markets. Phone 410-244-6569. . . . For a worthwhile, six-page "Mandatory Income Tax Withholding From Pension Distribution" booklet call Theodore Kaczynski, Capital Portfolio Management, at 410-561-5757. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 1993, states: "Recipient can defer taxation by transferring the distributed assets to an individual retirement account [IRA] within 60 days." . . . Asked how the recession affects people's food-buying habits, a Giant cashier said, "Their shopping carts have much less red meat but much more chicken and turkey. Otherwise, I don't see much change."


INVESTMENT WISDOM: "One of the greatest traps in the stock market for all investors seeking long-term success is its constant gyrations, which tempt investors to trade constantly with the desire to maximize profits. Does this constant churning really work? A recent study by Morningstar Inc., a mutual fund tracking firm, says, 'In a nutshell, low-turnover mutual funds have made more money and as sumed less risk than moderate-turnover funds, which, in turn, boast the same advantages over high-turnover funds.' The study's results prove what many individual investors have always believed." (The Patient Investor)


* "Reshape Your Career To Reflect the 90s Workstyles" in National Business Employment Weekly, on newsstands this week, has valuable hints: "Savvy candidates are combining different approaches to earning a living. . . . New career paths can be lifesavers. . . . The new corporate ladder is flatter, has fewer rungs and thus is tougher to climb."

* And if you're looking for a job, the same issue has a good story, "Opportunities Improve in Food Marketing: Hiring Demand Rises for Food Marketing Pros."

* Did you know that you can use fireplace ashes for fertilizer alone or in compost? (from "Dollar Stretching Ideas")

* Did you realize that the average major league baseball player makes a million dollars a year now, five times the salary of the president of the United States? This brings to mind Babe Ruth's oft-quoted 1930 quip. When told that he was making more money ($80,000) than President Hoover ($75,000), the Babe replied, "I had a better year than he did."

* Legg Mason's November selected investor's list includes American Express, Borden, Eli Lilly, Liz Claiborne, Monsanto, Media General and Telefonos de Mexico.