THB, Banditos, Wayward and more confirmed for Cosmic Cocktail!

Dow reaches 27th record high of year


Barreling through its sixth "hundred-marker" this year -- and reaching its 27th closing high since Jan. 1, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 13.84 points yesterday to close at 4,404.62.

The Dow now stands 570 points, or 15 percent, above its New Year's Day level and 780 points, or 21 percent, over its 12-month low.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and the New York Stock Exchange composite also reached all-time peaks.

AND NOW WHERE? About 60 percent of this week's forecasters are optimistic vs. only 10 percent "bulls" last week. Representative samples:

"The bull market is highly selective, but there's no evidence from our indicators that a top is at hand." (Walter Deemer's Strategies.)

"Typical bull-market ingredients -- monetary, breadth, leadership -- are absent, so we'll watch the heady, careening, bullish bandwagon from a distance." (InvesTech.)

"The end of the new bull market is not yet in sight." (McClellan Market Report.)

"Mutual fund cash dropped to 7.6 percent, lowest since 1983, the most ominous development so far. Someone up there must love this market, but how much longer?" (Technical Trends.)

"There are many reasons for bullishness -- the inexorable march of technology, renewed competitiveness of U.S. companies and maturing of baby boom investors." (U.S. Investment Report.)

GOOD ADVICE: "Patience is critical. We investors make decisions based on fundamentals -- and over the long term, fundamentals win out -- but over the short term, sentiment usually rules. So successful investing must be based on a period long enough to allow fundamentals to be reflected in results. Three years is long enough." (Dick Davis Digest.)

TOP RATES: Barron's, May 8, on newsstands this week, lists these local institutions under "Top Savings Deposit Yields." One-Year CDs: Equitable Federal Savings, Wheaton, Md., recent rate 6.30 percent (800-638-8528). Five-Year CDs: Loyola Federal Savings Bank, Baltimore, recent rate 6.91 percent (410-332-7123.)

POTHOLES TO AVOID: Are you making estate-planning mistakes? Here, from "Financial and Estate Planning Guide," are some errors to avoid: (1) Failing to reduce the size of your estate on a tax-free basis. (2) Believing that a living trust set up during your lifetime, with right to amend or revoke it, will save estate taxes.

"(3) Failing to skip a generation on a tax-free basis. (4) Wasting your $600,000 estate tax exemption. (5) Holding all assets in joint name with a spouse." (The guide mentioned above is available for $45 from CCH, 4025 W. Peterson Ave, Chicago 60646.)

CEO CORNER: "Challenge and periodically question all paperwork that has become routine. Ask why this form or that report was created. Is the purpose still valid? Is the data duplicated elsewhere? How does this form add profit to our business? Reward: A company that has never done this exercise may reduce its paperwork by 50 percent." (The Dreiford Group, Bethesda.)

FROM THE MASTER: The legendary Peter Lynch, for several decades the highly successful manager of Fidelity Magellan Fund, was interviewed in a recent issue of AARP's Modern Maturity magazine. Excerpts: "If I could avoid any stock, it would be the one everyone's talking about.

"Selling stocks that go up and holding the ones that decline is like cutting down the flowers and watering the weeds. . . . You can be negative on the country and still find a company like Toys 'R' Us and say, 'I don't know what's going to happen to the U.S., but this company's going to roll.' "

TELEPHONE TIPS: "You Can Impress Interviewers Over the Phone" is a useful article in the current (May 7-13) National Business Employment Weekly, a $3.95 Wall Street Journal publication, available Fridays at many newsstands.

(This week's NBEW publishes a "Baltimore Relocation Guide," a long list of local "major employers," with their phone numbers, on page 19.)

Excerpts from the "Telephone Interview" story: "A major employer says, 'I want to interview candidates over the phone first' . . . You must be ready to demonstrate your knowledge of their company and its concerns. . . . Let the interviewer do much of the talking, but answer his/her questions directly and fully.

"Don't let rejections slow you down. . . . After each interview, don't be afraid to ask about the next step. . . . Most employers look for positive, enthusiastic, likable candidates who understand the responsibilities of the available job. . . . Approach a telephone interview like any other conversation, with complete give and take, and you'll be on your way to landing a great job."

PICK UP A COPY: The latest New Yorker magazine (May 15) runs one of its rare business stories, this one a fascinating 18-page profile of advertising executive Maurice Saatchi, titled, "Master of Illusion."

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