Dow gains 17.80, falling 79 short of all-time high


Adding to last week's 126-point surge, the Dow Jones industrial average continued to climb yesterday, although at a slower pace. The blue-chip index, up 29 points about noon, closed with a gain of 17.80 points, at 3,898.85. The Dow now stands only 79 points below its all-time high and 361 points above its 12-month low. As one local broker put it last night, "Today was a good consolidation day."

LATE SUMMER NOTES: September on Wall Street is historically a "down" month, the year's worst, dropping six-tenths of 1 percent annually on average . . . As of today, the "Dow 5" -- the basis of a strategy whereby $10,000 grew to $583,000 (!) over 20 years in high quality stocks -- are American Express, Chevron, Merck, Sears and Woolworth. Over two decades the "Dow 5" returned a 21 percent compound annual rate and more than quintupled the sharp climb in the Dow Jones industrial average . . . Beginning this week, in an expanded schedule, I answer your call-in money questions three times each weekday morning: 5:45 a.m., 6:15 a.m. (new time) and 6:45 a.m. on WBAL-TV (Channel 11). We also answer your questions on Saturday mornings around 8:15 . . . "Don't buy shares of a mutual fund that invests in only one foreign country. The secret of foreign investing is diversification." (Alexandra Armstrong, author of "On Your Own: A Widow's Guide to Emotional and Financial Well-Being.")

CHECK-A-WEEK: Do you want to receive a dividend check every week -- instead of once every three months -- to help offset some bills you receive frequently? Here is a portfolio that provides well-spaced, above-average income with 52 dividend checks a year, roughly one week apart, yielding about 5.7 percent: Bankers Trust, Bell Atlantic, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chevron, Consolidated Natural Gas, Dominion Resources, J.P. Morgan, New England Electric, NIPSCO Industries, Northern States Power, Southern Co., Weingarten Realty and Wisconsin Energy. See your broker for details.

WASTED MONEY: Fortune's 1994 Investor's Guide runs a helpful article titled, "Many Ways to Waste Money." Excerpts: "(1) Put an annuity in an IRA. An annuity gives you tax-deferred growth, so why pay IRA fees? (2) Put a municipal bond in a tax-deferred IRA. Interest income you receive on municipal bonds is generally free of federal, state and local taxes anyhow, so why take an unnecessarily low yield? (3) Buy a closed-end mutual fund when it is first publicly offered. Studies show that prices generally fall about 8 percent after three weeks. (4) Buy a closed-end fund to save commissions; you've paid fees even if you don't see them."

BALTIMORE & BEYOND: "Black & Decker has dropped 22 percent since February 1992, which still gives it plenty of upside, since earnings are growing 20 percent a year." (Elaine Garzarelli, Lehman Bros.) . . .. T. Rowe Price Tax Free High Yield Fund appears under "Five Muni Funds That Shine" in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, September . . . "Sun Stocks" reaching 12-month highs recently include Aegon Insurance, Baltimore Bancorp and Fusion Systems . . . Wilmington Trust is listed under "Midcap Stocks For Long-Term Appreciation" in S&P; Outlook, Aug. 24 . . . Money magazine, September, lists Placer Dome, Schlumberger, Georgia-Pacific, Equity Residential and Dow Chemical under "Five Stocks That Will Thrive on Inflation."

MONEY-SAVERS: "The Time to Plan for 1994's Taxes is Now," in Harry B. Gorfine & Co.'s "September Tax Report" contains helpful suggestions. (For a free copy, phone 539-5474.) For example, "Defer taxable income by looking for ways to put off receiving taxable income until 1995 or later . . . One of the most popular retirement savings plans is a 401(k). Not only can you build up a fund for your later years, but also your contributions are not included in your current income . . . Take advantage of capital gains because the maximum tax rate for gains is 28 percent vs. 39.6 percent for ordinary income . . . Consider tax-free bonds."

CAREER CORNER: "Job Hunting While You're Still Employed" in this week's National Business Employment Weekly (Aug. 28-Sept. 3) is worth reading. Excerpts: "You can land a better position before your boss finds out that you're looking, but don't lose your current job by trying for a new one . . . Keep your mouth shut, despite temptations to let colleagues in on your plans . . . Never use company equipment (telephones, fax machines, photocopiers) to facilitate your search. If caught, you could be dismissed immediately . . . Be sure to know where you're going; it's a mistake to leave a bad situation without making sure you're headed to something better."

MONTH-ENDERS: New books for small investors include "How to Buy Stocks" by Louis Engel and Henry Hecht ($14.95), "Winning in Mutual Funds" by Jay Schabacker ($24.95) and "Grow Rich With Mutual Funds -- Without a Broker" by Stephen Littauer . . . "Lesson in greed: The 'chance of a lifetime' nearly always involves a risk you cannot afford to take." (Frank Lalli, managing editor, Money) . . . "Hard times have a way to teaching us lessons that we refuse to learn in good times." (Clarence Thomas, associate justice, U.S. Supreme Court) . . . "Start a 'gift shelf' by setting aside gifts bought on sale during the year. When you need a gift, check the shelf before going shopping. You may have already bought the perfect gift at a good price." ("The Frugal Connoisseur.")

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