Wall Street sends message as stocks hit new highs


Encouraged by reports that interest rates may fall still further, investors pushed all popular stock indexes to record highs yesterday.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 42.89 points to 4,553.68. Long-term bonds gained about 3/4 of a point.

We may learn more about interest rates tonight when Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan addresses the Economic Club of New York.

WALL STREET WISDOM. "Even at or near market tops, don't be overly concerned with market timing. Even by investing $2,000 at the very market top -- the worst possible time -- every year for the last 25 years, a stock investor would have turned that $50,000 into $281,000." (Dean Witter's "Strategem," which Stephen Stauffer will mail you if you phone 592-3164.)

RATHER BE SAFE? Chevy Chase Federal Savings, Md. (800-825-9000) is listed under "Top-Yielding 2-Year Certificates of Deposit" in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, July. The "Annual Percentage Yield to May 22" is stated at 6.45 percent. (Ticker Note: The average dividend on stocks today is only 2.45 percent, a record low.)

YOUR MONEY: Speaking of top CD rates, Barron's, dated June 19 and on newsstands all week, prints a national list of "Top Savings and CD Yields" for various maturities. Barron's publishes top rates every week.

LONGER VIEW: "The biggest mistake investors make when measuring performance is focusing on brief time periods: a month, quarter, single year. Short-term performance seldom tells much about the future. Returns spanning 3-5 years or more are more desirable." (Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co. newsletter.)

YOUR PAYCHECK (cont'd): Here are more average annual earnings from Fortune's June 26 cover story "Are You Paid Enough?": Plastic surgeon, $181,000; registered nurse, $40,000; high tech CD-ROM producer, $60,000; IRS revenue agent, $49,000; corporate chief legal officer, $259,000; public defender, plant manager, $100,000; TV news anchor, $66,000; secretary, $29,000. (More coming Thursday.)

MEDIA MILLIONS: And to show where our values lie, the story says that Barbara Walters makes $10 million a year but the president of the United States earns $200,000. ("It's good he's not doing it for the money.")

NOTES & QUOTES: "With its new three-day deadline for settling stock and bond trades, the SEC is contributing to the phaseout of stock and bond certificates altogether. This is not an advantage for investors." (Moneypaper, June.)

"Convertible bonds and preferred stocks give you the advantages of high yields and downside protection of a bond and upside potential of a stock. See your broker for specific suggestions." (Financial World.)

BALTIMORE BEAT: Alex. Brown & Sons is listed under "Most Valuable Underwriters" in Forbes, June 19. The text advises, "The best places to buy new issues are at underwriters with the good records."

"Sun Stocks" reaching 12-month highs in recent trading include Data Measurement, HCIA, Insituform East, Procter & Gamble and Super Rite. Education Alternatives and Hechinger B slipped to yearly lows.

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: According to Money magazine, July, the best borrowing deals are at Ryland Mortgage (296-0122) for fixed-rate 30-year mortgages; at First National Mortgage (800-624-6616) for one-year adjustables; at First Fidelity (244-3360) for home-equity lines, and at Baltimore County Savings (256-1300) for car loans.

TRAVEL TIP: "To avoid long lines at the airport ticket counter, use curbside check-in. It's worth the two-buck tip because you can go directly to your gate instead of waiting with the people who are buying tickets, booking seats or complaining that they missed their flights." (Men's Health, July-August)

NEW CUSTOMER? "The most eager new client for entrepreneurs could be the federal government. Uncle Sam is a $200 billion-a-year consumer. New rules mandate that by 2000, most $2,500-$100,000 purchases go to small businesses. For details and a list of computer-accessed Value Added Networks (VANS) that simplify subscriber requests, call the Electronic Commerce Information Center at 800-334-3414." (Success, June)

WALL STREET WATCH: Over the weekend, market newsletters, advisers' comments and "expert" opinions have been about evenly divided:

"When the market's high, I'll sell stocks into it. When it's low, I'll buy from it. It's high now, so I'm selling. Investing is really that simple." (Charles Will, investment manager)

"Advance has further to go. Investors are naturally jumpy with stocks so high, but nothing major has changed, and the advance will resume." (S&P; Outlook, June 14.)

"Technical evidence indicates that the blow-off phase in the stock market is now over." (The Wellington Letter)

"Despite the strong rally, insiders continue to buy like crazy, short interest has moved to record levels and the technical situation remains favorable. We're still bullish." (Investors Intelligence)

"Buying stampedes, such as this one, feed on themselves and leave traditional guidelines by the wayside. This bubble will burst suddenly." (Professional Timing Service)

"America's corporations are in better financial shape than ever before. Never have they been so profitable. Stay fully invested." (Wall Street Digest)

"Stock prices now reflect the best scenarios -- slowing economy, low inflation, strong profits. That's a wish list, but not realistic. Be patient. Market risks are rising. Increase your cash position." (Finance Over 50)

"I predict a crash. A whole generation has grown up without living through a bear market. Their time has now come." (Joseph Granville.)

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