Dow advances 15.12 in busy session


Slicing an early gain in half, the Dow Jones industrial average closed with a modest advance of 15.12 points yesterday, ending the busy session at 3,455.10.

Since "Oscar Night" 10 years ago when the Dow closed at 1,116.78 (no misprint), the average has surged 2,338.32 (!) points, or 209 percent.

WALL STREET WISDOM: "Key investment questions: (1) How much time do you have before you need the money? (2) How much risk can you tolerate? The answers determine appropriate strategy. Generally, longer time horizons with more risk favor ownership of stocks, which are riskier in the short run but have potential for long-term gains. Shorter time horizons with less risk tolerance favor bonds -- usually short-to-intermediate-term bonds, which are less volatile than long ones." (Donoghue's Moneyletter.)

BALTIMORE BEAT: Procter & Gamble, with two manufacturing outlets here, is written up in S&P; Outlook, March 24. ("Profitability should be boosted by ongoing restructuring to shed marginally profitable businesses and to acquire high-margin health care companies.") . . . Ferris, Baker Watts' Michael Dougherty (659-4677) will mail "Total Stock Management," his 25-page growth stock strategy letter describing specific price targets, stop-loss orders, etc. ("Don't get emotionally attached to stocks; no stock goes up forever. If you buy a stock at $20 and it goes to $40 and you decide to hold it, you're actually deciding to re-buy the stock at $40.")

MARYLAND MEMOS: Allied Irish (First National Bank), Delmarva Power & Light and PHH Corp. stocks reached 12-month highs in last week's trading . . . Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is described under "Utilities Favored for Long-Term" in same S&P; Outlook mentioned above. ("BG&E; has strengthened its financial position through debt refinancing. Long-term prospects are also enhanced by diversified regional economy, completed construction program and favorable regulatory environment. We expect above-average dividend growth of 3.5 percent annually.") . . . Adrian Day's Investment Analyst, a Maryland publication, says, "Don't get impatient! The time will come when we will increase stock holdings substantially -- but not yet. It may upset you to watch the market pass you by, but it's not half as upsetting as to be on board a plunging plane."

WORKPLACE WISDOM: "Business Protocol: How to Survive and Succeed in Business," a new book by Jan Yager, $14.95, is worth reading. Excerpts: "Keep up with your customers throughout the year and remember them during the holidays . . . Be discreet about company business or secrets. People don't want to hear about your problems; they want to hear about opportunities. Remember the old slogan: 'Don't tell me about your crab grass; tell me about my green lawn.' . . . Cultivate friendships at work; it helps to create a pleasant workplace . . . Use proper written and spoken language. Be proud of the way your correspondence looks."

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: Because Daylight Saving Time begins next Sunday, travelers should pick up new rail and airline schedules this week as some arrivals and departures change. Get Amtrak timetables at Penn Station and to be placed on the freebie mailing list of the valuable BWI Flight Guide, call 410-859-7034. Tuck the Flight Guide in your briefcase when you travel because if your flight back to Baltimore is delayed or canceled, the handy booklet tells you what airline will bring you home, and when.

TAKE YOUR CHOICE: "Stocks are expensive but it's not a major problem so long as interest rates remain low." (Zweig Forecast) . . . "This bull market isn't young or cheap. It's very selective, with yawning downside potential." (Plain Talk Investor) . . . "The market peaked technically in early February." (Joseph Granville) . . . "Long-term, the market remains in the extremely overpriced zone. Upside potential is limited." (Business Cycle Monitor) . . . "Typically, stocks advance for nine to 18 months after bond prices peak. With bonds now as vigorous as stocks, a bear market is unlikely." (Global Market Strategist) . . . "April has traditionally been an 'up' Wall Street month, rising an average of 1.3 percent over the last 42 years. More ground is gained in the two weeks prior to the April 15 federal tax deadline than in the last two." (1993 Stock Trader's Almanac) . . . "Inflation is the most important fact of our time, the single greatest peril to our economic health." (Bernard Baruch, 50 years ago) . . . "One of the benefits of inflation is that kids can no longer get sick on a nickel's worth of candy." ("Peter's Quotations; Ideas for Our Time.")

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