'NAFTA rally' lifts Dow 23.48 points


Moving higher in what one Baltimore broker called a "NAFTA rally," the Dow Jones industrial average gained 23.48 points yesterday, closing at 3,663.55. Investors apparently believed Tuesday's debate improved chances of the trade agreement's passage, a development considered favorable for Wall Street.

LOOKING BACK: On Veterans Day 10 years ago today, Nov. 11, 1983, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 1,250.20. (The Dow almost tripled in the last decade.) On this date 20 years ago, Nov. 11, 1973, the Dow finished at 908.41. (Slim progress in that decade.) Fifty years ago on what was then called Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1943, the DJ stood at 132.68. (On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day.) On the day World War I ended, Nov. 11, 1918, the Dow stood at 88.06. The first Armistice Day was declared a legal holiday.

LOOKING AHEAD (1): Looking for more income? Legg Mason's "Utility Buy List" contains many issues currently yielding over 6 percent. Call Gerald Scheinker (486-8010) for your free copy . . . If you're worried about your bank's financial future, dial Veribanc, an independent bank-rating firm in Wakefield, Mass. ([800] 837-4226). Cost is $10 for one institution, $5 for each additional bank added at the same time. No bank with Veribanc's "Blue Ribbon" recognition has ever failed . . . Freebie: Write Oppenheimer Funds, Box 173304, Denver, Colo., 80217, or phone [800] 525-7048 for "Getting Your Financial House in Order." The material includes easy-to-use work sheets, ways to control cash-flow, etc.

LOOKING AHEAD (2): On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Security Analysts Society presents Patrick S. McGurn, director and legal counsel, Investors Responsibility Research Center on "Emerging Issues in Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism." The meeting will be at Stouffers Harborplace, at noon . . . Tomorrow night, "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser" spotlights "The International Scene" with guest Mark Holowesko, executive vice president, Templeton Worldwide, Inc., and panelists Frank Cappiello, Gail Dudack and Carter Randall. The locally produced coast-to-coast TV show marks its 23rd anniversary later this month.

BALTIMORE CONNECTION: The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 7, ran a lengthy profile of Sandy Weill, chairman, Primerica Corp., with these comments: "Weill now stands astride a company with assets of $100 billion, about four times Primerica's size just six months ago. He did it by combining a down-at-the-heels Baltimore finance company, Commercial Credit Co., with a money-losing brokerage firm, Smith Barney. He still insists that turning around Commercial Credit was the most fun he's ever had in business. At Commercial Credit, a major turnaround factor was a style which treated branch managers as owners. Managers who exceeded goals got fat bonuses, and those making as little as $25,000 got stock options for the first time."

MARYLAND MEMOS: Toney Tucker Enterprises, Lexington Park, and Fitzgerald's Lakefront Toyota, Gaithersburg, are listed under "America's Black Auto Dealers: Maryland" in Dollars & Sense magazine, November issue . . . Mid-Atlantic Medical and Columbia Real Estate stocks reached 12-month highs in early-week trading . . . Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co.'s recent Economic Review says, "The beginning of a gradual rise in short-term interest rates is likely in the first half of next year, after evidence of a stronger economy emerges." Phone David Donabedian, 237-5892, for your free copy . . . "Loyola Federal Savings, Md." is listed under "Top-Yielding 5-Year Certificates of Deposit" in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, Dec.

GETTING A JOB: "The Secrets of Successful Networkers" in National Business Employment Weekly, Nov. 5-11 issue, on newsstands this week, is valuable reading, especially for job-seekers. Excerpts: "By trying to help others more than they help you, you'll build a loyal group of supporters . . . The key to successful networking is reciprocity; do without expecting back . . . When meeting new contacts, try to develop meaningful relationships. Don't expect friendships to form immediately . . . Remember the names of all your contacts and keep track of what you need to send to whom and when."

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: Warning: Before jumping into the stock market, note that Barron's, Nov. 8 issue on sale this week, lists the Dow Jones price-earnings ratio as 32.5 times earnings, and the S&P; P/E ratio standing at 23.7 times earnings. Both figures are well above normal levels. Dividend yields have sunk well below 3 percent, often a danger signal . . . "Look into companies that buy back their own stocks. Reason: A buyback indicates a company believes its stock is undervalued and will soon rise. A buyback also boosts per-share earnings, since there are fewer shares left in the market." (Charles Carlson, editor, Dow Theory Forecasts) . . . "Don't throw away a credit card you receive but didn't request. By not letting the issuer know that you don't want it, the card's credit line -- which could be thousands of dollars -- may appear on your credit report. This may prevent you from getting credit you do want in the future. Cut up the card and return it to the issuer, with a letter requesting that the account be closed." ("Everything You Need to Know About Credit" by Deborah McNaughton, $15.99.)

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