After cautiously digesting last week's strong gains until mid-afternoon yesterday, stocks surged in the final hour. The Dow Jones industrial average, up 65 points last week, climbed 18.67 points to close at 4,157.34, its 11th record-setting high this year. Other representative indexes also reached peak levels.
SPEAKING OF STOCKS: Be alert this week for Wall Street "window dressing." As each calendar quarter ends, some (not all) mutual fund and other fund managers "dress up" their portfolios by loading up on "winning" stocks and dumping losers. This technique, which tends to push markets higher, creates portfolios that appear appealing in shareholders' quarterly reports -- and to fund managers' bosses.
HOW THEY STAND: These Maryland-based firms appear in Business Week's March 27 cover story titled "1,000 Of America's Most Valuable Companies." After each firm's name we list (in parentheses) its market value rank:
Baltimore Gas & Electric (280); Black & Decker (415); Comsat (731); Geico (303); Manor Care (506); McCormick (514); Mercantile Bankshares (819); Mid-Atlantic Medical (837); Rouse (833); USF&G; (616).
Nationwide, the top companies by market value are, in order, General Electric, AT&T;, Exxon, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Merck, -Z Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, IBM and Dupont.
DON'T BE LATE! Because Daylight Savings Time returns Sunday and some plane and train schedules change, be sure to get new airline and rail timetables.
To get your name on the free BWI Flight Guide mailing list, call (410) 859-7034 or write Maryland Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 8766, BWI Airport, Md. 21240-0766.
Penn Station and your travel agent have new Amtrak time tables.
HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Since 1964 intermediate Treasuries performed better than long-term bonds, showing less volatility and more independence from stock market fluctuations." (Ibbotson Associates.)
Ticker Note: Regarding the above, today and tomorrow the Treasury issues two- and five-year notes, with expected rates around 6.65 and 6.95 percent, respectively. Call the Federal Reserve, 576-3553, for details.
Regarding bonds, here's encouragement from Money, March: "No matter how fresh your memory of last year's rout, don't kiss your battered bonds goodbye. In fact, many strategists say that now may be the time to buy more."
LOCAL HONOR ROLL: A. B. ("Buzzy") Krongard, Alex. Brown, is listed under "CEO Of The Year: Silver Award Winners: Financial" and Henry A. Rosenberg, Jr., Crown Central Petroleum Corp. appears under "Bronze Award Winners: Energy" in Financial World's cover story, March 28.
Speaking of honors, Black & Decker stock reached a 12-month high of $29.625 a share in recent trading. In the past year the
stock hit a low of $17.
BALTIMORE BIT: "While interest rates on consumer loans have jumped by about 2 percentage points since last spring, lenders of variable-rate home-equity lines of credit are wooing borrowers with low introductory rates.
"One lender, Citizens Bank of Baltimore, offers initial rates as low as 3.9 percent, far below the current 9 percent prime rate. After three to six months, the rate on such loans typically fluctuates monthly based on the prime rate plus three-quarters of a point to 2 points." (U.S. News & World Report, March 27.)
MONTH-END MEMOS: Want to learn more about handling "dinner-time" and other phone calls? Write for the free brochure, "Schemes, Scams and Flim-Flams: A Consumer's Guide to Phone Fraud," to National Fraud Information Center, Attn: National Consumers League, 815 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.
Want low hotel and motel rates? From a Business Week, March 27 story, "Hotel Rates That Make For Sweet Sleep," call Quikbook 800 789-9887; RMC Travel Center 800 782-2674; Room Exchange 800 846-7000; Hotel Reservation Network 800 96-HOTEL and Express Reservations 800 356-1123. Ask questions about location, condition of facilities, etc.
For a free booklet, "Variable Annuities: What To Know Before You Invest," call Scudder, Stevens & Clark, (800) 225-2470, Ext. 8347. The booklet tells, for example, that you can switch from your current variable annuity if you find a better one by filing a 1035 exchange form.
LAST LINES: "The Dow is topping out at our major target of 4,000-4,100 and is primed to begin its Grand Supercycle bear market." (Robert Prechter, Elliott Wave Theorist) . . . "Pessimism is returning among the wrong-way speculators. This is just the start of a strong up-move." (The Daily Trader) . . . "Our initial downside target is Dow Jones 2,790, at which point the Dow average yields 4 percent. This 30 percent slide won't happen overnight, but it lies ahead." (Investment Quality Trends) . . . "With dividend yields below 3 percent and T-bills and CDs now at 5-6 percent, investors are flirting with disaster. This is a high-risk, overvalued market." (The Yamamoto Forecast).