Although interest rates turned higher yesterday -- usually a bad sign for stocks -- the Dow Jones industrial average forged ahead 14.92 points and closed at a record high. On extremely heavy volume of more than 375 million shares, the Dow indicator finished the busy session at 3,798.82, now ahead 490 points, or 15 percent, since this date last year.
GOOD INDICATOR: "As January goes, so goes the year. Nothing beats this January Barometer. Since 1950, no other indicator has predicted the annual course of the market with such accuracy. Based on whether the S&P; composite index is up or down in January, most years have followed suit -- 38 out of 43 times, for an 88 percent batting average." (1994 Stock Trader's Almanac.)
JANUARY JOURNAL: A reader sends in these 1932 (Depression) annual Baltimore earnings: Bus driver, $1,373; construction worker, $907; doctor, $3,382; secretary, $1,040; live-in maid, $260 (!); registered nurse, $936; steelworker, $520; and typist, $624 . . . Tomorrow night, locally produced "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser" talks with Leon Cooperman, chairman, Omega Advisors, in a program titled, "A Hot Money Manager Looks Ahead" with panelists Alan Bond, Harvey Eisen and Martin Zweig . . . Investors put a record $242 billion (not million) into mutual funds in the last 10 months of 1993. The number of global stock funds rose by more than one-third . . . The present 6 percent prime rate, banks' lending rate to their best customers, stands at its lowest level in 20 years. Late 1993 mortgage rates (7 percent for 30 years) also have fallen to their lowest in two decades.
HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Beware of mutual funds that buy high-risk 'restricted securities' for their portfolios. These securities are not publicly traded, and a growing number of funds prefer them because of their large profit potential. To defend yourself, check the 'investment restrictions' in the fund's prospectus to see if it is barred from buying them." (Investment Horizons) . . . In view of higher 1993 income tax rates, you may need to adjust your Jan. 18, 1994 federal and/or Maryland estimated payments. Contact your accountant or tax person promptly regarding an amended estimate . . . Beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, I will be Dan Rodricks' guest some Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. on WBAL Radio to take your financial calls. Also, I answer your "money" questions weekdays at 5:45 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. (Saturdays at 8:15 a.m.) on WBAL-TV (Channel 11). We give the phone numbers on the air . . . Did you realize that if your estate is worth $600,000 or less, none of it will be subject to federal estate taxes?
MAGAZINE RACK: The New Yorker magazine, dated Jan. 10 and on newsstands all week, runs one of its rare business stories, this one a long, fascinating profile of Microsoft's billionaire CEO William Gates. Excerpts: "He dominates the computer industry the way Henry Ford dominated the auto industry . . . At age 38 he is one of the country's richest men, with a fortune of $6.1 billion . . . There are no beginnings or ends to Gates' messages -- no time wasted on 'Dear' and 'Yours' . . . He controls the computer industry like no other person in any major industry . . . Gates always flies coach when traveling on business; in Microsoft anything more than that is just aggrandizement, for him or anybody else . . . Gates once chartered a plane and Steve Ballmer, the 'numbers man,' gave him so much grief that Gates is still explaining why he did it . . . In commercial planes Gates takes a nap with a blanket over his head."
WORKPLACE WISDOM: The National Business Employment Weekly is out with its Dec. 31-Jan. 6 "Year-End Special Issue: The 10 Best Articles of 1993" ($3.95) and the 48-page issue, on newsstands all this week, is worth buying. The special edition covers such topics as: Resumes that impress hiring managers, pros and cons of paying others to write your resume, 10 commandments for winning interviews, a guide to advance-fee job-search services, the benefits of being an interim manager, why some careers never take off, etc. The next paragraph contains random quotes from the various articles. Read on:
CAPSULE COMMENTS: "The more you know about the company you're looking to work for, the greater your odds of being the right match . . . Be prepared to demonstrate how your xTC experience and skills are allied with the company's goals . . . Open your cover letter with an offer to solve a problem the company is faced with . . . The ultimate decision to hire a job candidate is based on chemistry between the job hunter and the person making the hiring decision . . . Don't sign up with an 'advance-fee' job search firm until you've thought about it for a few days."
LOOKING AHEAD: "A gold breakout over $410 would touch off powerful breakouts in low-priced gold stocks." (LaLoggia's Special Situation Reports) . . . "As 1994 begins, the preponderance of evidence continues to suggest that, while the primary trend of the market is still positive, we are in the process of forming a major market top." (Lowry's Market Trend Analysis) . . . "1994 has the potential to be a troublesome year. Reasons: The four-year 'down' cycle is a reality to be reckoned with, our 'sell' list is far larger than our 'buy' list, and pension-fund cash is now down to an incredibly low reading of 2.9 percent, the lowest in a decade. After the Santa Claus rally runs its course, be careful." (Professional Tape Reader) . . . "Most people plan their vacations better than they plan their investments." (Peter Lynch.)