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Rising Dow a half-point from record


The Dow Jones industrial average continued to forge ahead yesterday, closing within one-half point of its record high of 3,710.77. At the final bell, the Dow was up 6.14 points to 3,710.21. (For an astonishing stock market prediction made 10 years ago, see "Close Call" below.)

Since today is the 52nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -- Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 -- I looked back and found that on that date the Dow average stood at 116.60, but when World War II ended on Aug. 14, 1945, the Dow closed at 164.79.

MONEY-MAKER: "Boost your IRA by making the maximum contribution of $2,000 in January rather than spreading it out over 12 months. Example: If you invest $2,000 in January in an account earning 9 percent, you will have $2,180 at the end of the year, compared to $2,100 if you invested equal amounts over 12 months. Repeated over 10 years, this strategy will bring you $43,907 instead of $32,855." (Jay Schabacker, editor, Mutual Fund Investing, Potomac)

CHEERFUL NOTE: Hate to leave work in the dark? Cheer up. Although the shortest day of the year (least hours of sunlight) doesn't arrive until Dec. 21, tonight marks the year's earliest sunset (4:37 p.m.) and from now on evenings begin to brighten. This curious phenomenon is caused by the Earth's elliptical, not circular, orbit around the sun. On the other side of the clock,

however, the sun will rise later each morning until Jan. 8, but from then on mornings, too, will begin to brighten.

CLOSE CALL: "Robert Prechter, editor of The Elliott Wave Theorist, believes we are at the end of a 300-plus year upmove. He foresees a plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average of 90 percent (no misprint). The eerily accurate nature of his predictions suggests that his current opinion be shared with our readers. His forecast for a peak in the Dow -- made over 10 years ago (!) -- calls for a top of 3,686, plus or minus 25 points, with a top target of DJ 3,710.73." (Dick Davis Digest.)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "To buy a 'hot' mutual fund that has closed its doors to new investors, consider buying shares in another fund run by the same successful manager. For example, manager Ken Heebner's CGM Mutual Fund is open, whereas his CGM Capital Development Fund is closed. Same with Richard Weiss's Strong Opportunity Fund [open] and Strong Common Stock Fund [closed]. You won't get the 'closed' fund, but you will benefit from that fund manager's expertise. (Kenneth Gregory in "The No-Load Fund Analyst.")

TOP PERFORMERS: The winter edition of "Standard & Poor's Lipper Mutual Fund Profiles" just arrived, and here are the top performers over the last 10 years through Sept. 30, 1993, in order: CGM Capital Development, Merrill Lynch Pacific A, Prudential Utility B, Fidelity Magellan, Fidelity Contrafund, New York Venture, Acorn Fund, Guardian Park Avenue, Evergreen Limited, T. Rowe Price International Stock Fund, Fidelity Select Utilities, Fidelity Destiny I, Century Shares Trust and GT Global Pacific.

NOTES & QUOTES: Looking for year-end tax deductions? Empty your attic and donate old clothes to charity. Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army list these sample deductions: Ladies sweaters $3 to $12; men's slacks $5 to $10; children's coats $4 to $12. Also household items (lamps, chairs, sofas, etc.) bring good deductions . . . Giant Food, with many stores in this area and an annual dividend growth rate of 17.8 percent, is listed under "Great Stocks With Great Dividend Reinvestment Plans" in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, January. Call (800) 937-5449 for details . . . Legg Mason's latest "Utility Income Buy List: Income/Growth" includes these stocks and their current dividend yields: Boston Edison 6.0, DPL Inc. (Dayton Power & Light) 5.8, DQE Inc. (Duquesne Light) 4.7, Eastern Utilities Association 5.2 and Southern Co. 5.3.

DOTS & DASHES: National Business Employment Weekly, Dec. 3-9, on newsstands this week, runs a fine article, "My Mom's Not Working, She's Networking," subtitled, "An 11-Year Old's View of Unemployment May Help Your Children Better Understand Your Situation." ("My Mom goes to the library to do research . . . My Mom has a new resume . . . My Mom goes on interviews") . . . "Variable rate on U.S. savings bonds is a low 4.25 percent as of Nov. 1 but your bonds may actually be earning much more. The variable rate which changes twice a year only impacts bonds that are at least five years old." (Don Pederson, president, "Savings Bond Informer.")

ENDPAPERS: Baltimore is ranked No. 30 in "Your Home: Where Prices Will Increase The Most All Over The U.S." in Money magazine's "1994 Forecast" issue. The median Baltimore price is stated at $118,900, with a projected 1994 gain of 2.9 percent. Top city -- where prices will increase the most -- is Orlando (median $92,100); lowest is Detroit ($87,400) . . . "Mistake: Buying shares in a bond mutual fund solely because the fund has a high yield. Better: Look for the fund's 'total return,' which is the yield plus or minus share price changes during the year. A high yield can come at the expense of a fall in the share price." ("Funding Your Future: The Only Guide to Mutual Funds You'll Ever Need" by Jonathan Clements, $10.99) . . . "Tax Tip: With tax rates rising next year, move deferred income into 1993. Example: If your bonus check usually arrives in mid-January, ask your employer to move this year's check up to Dec. 31." (Forbes, Dec. 6) . . . "Famous American Financial Fibs" include 'The check is in the mail,' 'We service what we sell,' 'Your car will be ready in the morning,' 'Money cheerfully refunded,' 'This offer is limited to the first 100 people who call in,' 'Leave your resume and we'll call you,' and 'Your table will be ready in a few minutes.' " (Bits & Pieces.)

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