Ailing banks drag Dow index down


Dragged down by a decline of $2.25 a share in J. P. Morgan stock, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.38 points yesterday and closed at 4,025.23.

Bank stocks generally gave ground after Bankers Trust reported severe losses in "risk management" investments (less kindly known as "derivatives") and also setbacks in Latin American ventures. Bankers Trust stock plunged $9.875 a share and closed at $51.50, a 12-month low.

SPEAKING OF STOCKS: "Even with some severe dips, the stock market has outperformed all other investment categories since 1926. We have every reason to believe that it will continue to do so." (The Patient Investor, whose slogan is Aesop's "Slow and steady wins the race.")

"If, starting in 1987, you had invested $50 a month in Coca-Cola stock, your $4,550 would now be worth well over $15,000." (Moneypaper, March)

"Our sentiment readings last December showed the most pessimism since 1982, but in the last few months the market soared from Dow Jones 3,690 to over 4,000. Now we show more bears than bulls, suggesting even more upside to this market." (Michael Burke, editor, Investors Intelligence)

MARCH WINDS: "With a moderate 3 percent annual inflation, the value of money halves in 23 years." (CNN News)

"In 1991, when the Dow Jones industrial average first crossed 3,000, the average broker's salary was $63,000. Today, as the Dow stands above 4,000, that salary is $90,000." (USA Today)

"In every trade, somebody loses." (Dick Davis Digest)

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Make sure you document any charitable donations above $250. The IRS says a canceled check is no longer sufficient documentation." (Tax Hotline)

"The Value Line Investment Survey stands in first place among all letters we have tracked since mid-1980. The Chartist is in second place." (Hulbert Financial Digest, February)

"Company retirement account errors can prove very costly. Even a small mistake can cost big dollars when compounded over the years. Ask your employer for a summary plan description that tells how benefits are calculated." ("Baby Boomer Retirement" by Don Silver, $9.95)

DATES TO REMEMBER: "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Treasury Securities," a free public lecture, will be held Friday, March 17, 10 a.m.-11 a.m. (repeated noon to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.) at the Federal Reserve Bank, 502 S. Sharp St. Limited seating, reservations required, lots of free parking. Call 576-3386.

On Thursday, March 23, at the Sheraton Hotel at noon, the Baltimore Security Analysts hold a joint meeting with the Security Traders Association. The topic is "Equity and Fixed Income Derivatives."

Only five weeks left (midnight Monday, April 17) in which to file your federal and Maryland income tax returns.

LOCAL SCENE: McCormick & Co. appears under "Five-Star Stocks: S.&P.;'s Buy List" in "The Outlook," March 8. ("We see strong rebound in this stock as restructuring bears fruit.")

"Integrated Health Services is a relatively unknown local company that is estimated to do over $900 million in sales for 1995," writes Legg Mason's Gerald Scheinker. He will send you the full report if you phone 486-8010.

MORE BALTIMORE: "The Leading Borrowing Deals" in this area, from HSH Associates, Butler, N.J., via Money magazine, are: Fixed-rate 30-year, National City Mortgage (410-573-5757); One-year adjustable rate, Heritage Savings Bank (410-583-8700); Home equity line, First Fidelity (formerly the Bank of Baltimore) (410-244-3360); Car loan, American National Bank (410-752-0400).

"Are Tax Cuts in Your Future?" asks (and answers) the March "Tax Report" prepared by Harry B. Gorfine & Co. Phone 539-5474 for your copy.

IDES OF MARCH: "Beware! You're being taken for a ride if your broker says any of these to you: 'Trust me; I'm buying this stock for my mother, too. . . . It's too complicated to explain on the phone. . . . I've got a special deal just for you. . . . These (bonds, stocks) are being snapped up fast; better get in quickly. . . . I need your answer right away; it's a special deal. . . . There's no commission on this trade. . . . You don't want me to bother you every time I make a trade for you, do you?'" (Working Woman magazine)

MIDMONTH MEMOS: "With apartment and office rents climbing, professionals suggest that you put 5-10 percent of your portfolio in real estate. And relax -- you won't have to harass tenants for rent checks if you invest in equity real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are diversified portfolios of income-yielding properties. Top REITs could earn annual returns of 15-20 percent through 1997." (Money, March)

WALL ST. WATCH: "The weak dollar is not too serious for the United States. Actually, we're the winner because we can export more goods." (John Dessauer) . . . "Don't worry too much about the weak dollar. It's good for companies like McDonald's, Johnson & Johnson, 3M and other multinationals because they do lots of business overseas." (Alan Bond)

"I would buy the food and beverage stocks, like Philip Morris, Quaker Oats, Budweiser [Anheuser-Busch]. I also like Clorox, American Home Products, Eli Lilly, First USA and Ambac.

"But I'm bearish on utilities, energy and high-tech stocks." (Robert Sanborn, highly successful manager, the Oakmark Funds)

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