Blue chips recover near Dow's final bell


Although continued profit-taking kept the Dow Jones industrial average down by double digits most of yesterday, the blue-chip indicator recovered near the final bell. The Dow indicator slipped only 1.68 points to finish the busy session at 3,848.63, still up 94 points in 1994 after last year's 453 point, or 13.7 percent, advance.

BALTIMORE BEAT: Alex. Brown says, "Nordstrom: Buy. Our investment thesis remains focused on projected strong year-over-year gains in quarterly earnings per share (estimated to rise, on average, 14 percent over the next four quarters), along with what we regard as an attractive stock valuation." (Barron's, Jan. 10) . . . T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund is listed under "Five-Year Winners" in the "Lipper Mutual Funds Quarterly" special section of the same Barron's issue . . . "American National Savings Bank, Baltimore" is listed under "33 Banks Where You Can Find Truly Free Checking Accounts" in Money magazine, January issue . . . Host Marriott Corp. CEO Matthew Hunt will address the Baltimore Security Analysts Society on Jan. 25 at noon at Stouffer's Harborplace Hotel.

MORE BALTIMORE: "William McChesney Martin, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in the 1950s and 1960s, joked that the job of the Federal Reserve was to take away the punch bowl just when the party got going. Keep your eyes on the punch bowl." (Gruntal & Co.'s Rex Rehfeld) . . . Phone Dean Witter's Jack Rosenbloom (547-7027) for his firm's descriptive "Select 10 Industrial Portfolio." (Chevron, Du Pont, Eastman Kodak, Exxon, Merck, J. P. Morgan, Philip Morris, Texaco, Union Carbide and Woolworth) . . . Legg Mason's new "Investor's Dozen" lists Bristol-Myers, Caremark Int'l., Durakon, First Alabama Bancshares, Instrument Systems, Interstate Power, Kranzco Realty Trust, Lone Star Technologies, Shawmut National, Telefonos de Mexico, United Illuminating and Waban. Call 486-8010 for your copy.

MARYLAND & MORE: Because only five days remain before your fourth-quarter federal and Maryland estimated tax payments are due (midnight Tuesday) -- and tax rates rose sharply for some people, retroactive to Jan. 1, 1993 -- check with your tax person about possibly amending your return . . . "Got a problem with your savings and loan? The U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision (Consumer Programs, 1700 G St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20552) will send you a free "Guide to Consumer Assistance" that tells how to complain." (Money, Jan.) . . . Maryland is ranked No. 1

under "Ranking the States: Percent of Auto Accidents Where Claimee is Represented by an Attorney" in Forbes, Jan. 17. Maryland's percentage is listed as 65.7 percent. (Washington, D.C., is ranked No. 3 at 61.1 percent) . . . "Hechinger is the country's fifth-largest building-supply-stores chain; once sales growth flows through to the bottom line, the firm's earnings growth will soon see substantial gains." (Financial Focus)

JANUARY JOURNAL: "Regarding the October 1987 stock market crash which drove the Dow Jones industrial average down 508 points in one day (Oct. 19) and about 1,000 points in that one week -- and still frightens many people -- did you know that it took the average income mutual fund only 56 days to return to pre-crash levels, the average balanced fund only 62 days and for the funds hurt the most -- the aggressive growth funds -- it took only 71 days to reach pre-crash net asset values?" ("Mutual Fundamentals") . . . Saturday morning, from 7:10 a.m. until 8, I will answer your call-in financial questions on Dan Rodricks' WBAL Radio show. Dial 467-WBAL (467-9225) . . . Bethlehem Steel, Computer Data, General Motors, Marriott Host, Marriott International and Martech Biosciences are stocks with local connections that reached 12-month highs in early-week trading.

'93 SCOREBOARD: What were the best and worst New York Stock Exchange stocks of 1993? According to Fortune, Jan. 24, the best were, in order, with total return percentages: Callaway Golf (golf club manufacturing) 220 percent; First USA (credit cards) 187; EMC (computer storage products) 176; Timberland (footwear and apparel) 172; LaQuinta Inns (hotels) 166; Holiday Franchise System (hotel franchising) 162. And the worst, from the bottom, with minus total return percentages: Value Merchants (closeout merchandise) negative 97 percent; Martech USA (marine environmental services) 96; Merry-Go-Round Enterprises (specialty apparel) 83; Frederick's of Hollywood (intimate apparel) 73; Leslie Fay (women's wear) 73. (U.S. Surgical, widely held locally, was eighth worst, down 66 percent.)

LOOKING AHEAD: "After three consecutive years of advances in the bellwether Dow Jones industrial average (24 percent, 7 percent and 14 percent) we see a slim chance of a repeat in 1994. The market faces a formidable task of making it 'four-in-a-row.' " (J. W. Charles Market Update).

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