IF YOU LISTEN to everybody, you'll have results like everybody," runs an old Wall Street saying.
And pity people who listened to curbstone gloomsters when September -- historically the stock market's worst month -- began. Examples:
* "With dividend yields down to 2.5 percent -- a record low -- stocks continue dangerously overvalued." (Investment Quality Trends)
* "Insiders are taking profits. Investors should, too." (Vickers Weekly Insider)
* "The stock market is dangerously overbought and vulnerable to profit-taking." (MPT Review)
* "In Septembers past, the Dow was up in only five of the last 26 years." (1995 Stock Trader's Almanac)
* "September will see a crash like 1929 and 1987." (Joseph Granville)
But, confounding most "everybody," a surprising September rally developed, pushing the Dow Jones average ahead about 200 points (4.1 percent) through last weekend. Low inflation, stable interest rates and strong earnings boosted stocks.
And leadership is strong. Recent "new high" listings were filled with blue-chip Dow stocks such as AT&T;, Coca-Cola, GE, Merck, Philip Morris and Procter & Gamble.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 4.33 points yesterday at 4,765.60.
Going back farther, when 1995 began, the Dow Jones average bTC stood at 3,834.44. Today's level: 4765.60. Clearly, your wallet is fatter if you didn't listen to "everybody."
LOOKING BACK: If, one year ago last week, you invested $10,000 in these categories, here is what you would now be worth: In U.S. stocks, $13,005; Treasury bonds, $12,442; foreign stocks, $11,046; money fund $10,541, gold, $9,840. (Data from Business Week, Oct. 2)
LOOKING AHEAD (in proportion received): "Strong demand for mutual funds bodes well for Wall Street. Stocks are still bargains. When the Dow shoots above 6,000 next year, its P/E ratio will still be only a sedate 15 times earnings." (No-Load Mutual Fund Adviser)
"Downside risk is 60 percent, upside potential virtually nil." (Geraldine Weiss).
"Corrections will come along, but the market will work higher." (The Master Indicator)
"Stay on the sidelines and be happy you're out of stocks." (Richard Russell's Dow Theory Letter)
"When stocks are high, they want to buy. When prices are low, they let 'em go." (Ian Notley, veteran market observer)
HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: To get the lowest credit card rates, call Bankcard Holders of America at (703) 389-5445. This non-profit organization charges $4 to cover expenses.
For the lowest mortgage rates in the country, dial (800) UPDATES for HSH Associates. The firm charges a $20 fee.
For information about upcoming Treasury bills, notes and bonds, call the Baltimore Branch of the Federal Reserve at (410) 576-3553.
COMPUTER CORNER: "Don't buy last year's personal computer," warns U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 25. Highlights: "This seems like the perfect time to buy a PC with prices down to $1,700 for a complete system, including a monitor But resist the temptation, hold off a few weeks. Then you'll bring home a modern machine that can run current software and future software longer than last year's models."