Don’t miss the Carroll County home show this weekend!

Dow seesaws but rallies to all-time high


The Dow Jones industrial average, down 20 points in yesterday's first hour, seesawed during most of the session but rallied to close at an all-time high. The blue-chip indicator added 6.57 points to finish at 4,491.08, up 17 percent this year.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: "Large traders aren't betting on higher stock prices, while the small investor -- typically wrong at major market turns -- is buying at the fastest clip in years. This behavior typical of major market peaks in the past." (Global Market Strategist.)

SPEAKING OF STOCKS: "Joseph Kennedy paid $100,000 for his Palm Beach house in 1933, a home that was sold earlier this year for $4.9 million. His heirs didn't do badly, but other investments would be worth much more today: In Coca-Cola stock $71 million, in Exxon $250 million -- both with dividends reinvested. Moral: Houses are nice to live in, but if you want to leave your heirs 'serious money,' buy stocks -- and reinvest those dividends." (Forbes, June 19.)

LOCAL HONOR ROLL (cont'd): Black Enterprise, in its June cover story, "The Nation's 100 Largest Black Businesses," includes Harbor Bank of Maryland under "B.E. Financial Companies" and the Chapman Co. under "B.E. Investment Banks."

YOUR PAYCHECK: Fortune's June 26 cover story, "Are You Paid Enough?" lists these "Industry Average" figures: Public accountant (Big 6 Firm) $38,000; strategic consultant $120,000; university professor $49,000; CEO $1,524,000; electrical engineer $65,000; newspaper reporter $24,000; portfolio manager $100,000; family practice physician $124,000; law partner $183,000; sales representative $49,000; Wall Street generalist $440,000. (Figures rounded; more coming next week).

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Don't automatically demand the house as part of a divorce settlement. While a house represents security, upkeep can be expensive. And you could face a capital gains tax if you sell later. Better: Sell the house and split the proceeds -- and any tax liability -- as part of the settlement." (Peggy Ruhlin, financial planner.)

CAREER CORNER: "No matter what size your company, employee turnover is costly. Though it's tempting to forget former employees -- after all, they're gone -- the reason they left can provide information to reduce future turnover. Exit interviews are worthwhile; departees can offer insight about improving your business." (Entrepreneur, June, with specifics on conducting exit interviews.)

MARYLAND MEMO: "By having a voice-mail system answer incoming calls, Bhasker Agarwall hoped to avoid hiring a receptionist. But he soon discovered that some callers don't like voice mail, so he soon hired a switchboard operator to supplement the automated system at Information Systems and Services in Silver Spring, Md., his $5.5 million INC 500-company." (Inc., June, with more about this technique.)

NOTES & QUOTES: "Regarding Wall Street, bad news is good news until it's necessary to shift gears, whereby good news becomes good news, until bad news comes back into vogue as a bullish influence." (Ian McAvity.)

Tomorrow night, "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser" focuses on the Washington scene, with guest Thomas Gallagher, senior vice president at Lehman Bros., and panelists Allison Deans, Bernadette Murphy and Martin Zweig.

WHERE THEY RANK: Responding to several requests, here are new utility listings in Argus' latest (May) Electric Utility Rankings: "High Quality, Buy:" Allegheny Power, Dominion Resources, Duke Power, Wisconsin Energy. "Good-To-High-Quality, Buy:" Baltimore Gas & Electric, Boston Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric. (Potomac Electric Power and Delmarva Power & Light appear under "Hold.")

MID-MONTH MEMOS: "The Medicare Managed Care Directory" is yours free if you call the Health Care Financing Administration at 800-638-6833.

As of midweek, the "Dow 5 Stocks" are AT&T;, Chevron, GE, 3M and Sears. The strategy -- buying the five lowest-priced of the 10 highest-yielding Dow Jones stocks -- turned $10,000 in 1973 into $617,000 (!) 22 years later.

Phone Harry B. Gorfine & Co. at 539-5474 for a helpful freebie booklet, "Check Out That Early Retirement Offer."

LAST LINES: "To keep your finances private, guard your Social Security number by not writing it on checks or carrying it in your wallet where it could be stolen . . . Pay cash whenever possible, because credit cards leave an electronic trail that may backfire." (Money, June.)

For details on new rules, now in effect, that require investors to pay for stocks and bonds within three days rather than five, call the Securities and Exchange Commission at 800-732-0330 and ask for "T-Plus-Three." It's free.

Washington REIT, a real estate investment trust based in Washington, is listed under "Income Portfolio" in Personal Finance, June 14. The stock yields 6.3 percent.

"Car leasing rip-offs claim thousands of victims each year. Many people are overcharged. Be sure you comparison shop and read the contract closely before you sign." (Moneypaper, June.)

Final Reminder: Your federal and Maryland estimated tax returns must be postmarked by midnight tonight.

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