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Stock market and the weather heat up in May

FRESH ideas as May opens:

ALONG WALL ST.: In the last decade, May's stock market performance topped that of every other month.

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"Dow Jones industrial average climbed 5,000 points since 1980 despite five bear markets. This expansion is longest on record." (Consumer Reports, May)

"Warren Buffett bought 160,000 shares of Property Capital Trust (ASE) around $8.75, April 2-12, his stake now 6.7 percent." (Income Digest, April 22)

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Ticker Warning: Before you rush out and buy the above, ask yourself: "How will I know when he sells?"

ALONG MAIN STREET: "Of the 298 billion grocery coupons distributed in 1995, only 2 percent were used." (U.S. News & World Report, April 29)

Kiplinger Washington Letter says we'll have ticketless air travel by year-end. We'll receive a confirmation number that, with an ID, gets us a boarding pass.

"When traveling, watch out for 'elderly, elegantly dressed men' who offer to carry your luggage. In Rome's Ciampino airport several arriving, weary tourists lost their suitcases to such thieves." ("Morning Edition," NPR)

WHAT'S OLD: From "A Successful Investor's Letters To His Son" (1933), sent me by Elizabeth Weller: "Anticipate long investment trends and shift to those stocks If you ever question a stock you own, sell it, regardless of loss. Seek safety in bad times, profit in good times. Brokers don't pretend to give investment advice; they're not properly paid for it."

WHAT'S NEW: This week's (April 29) Barron's runs a worthwhile story, "Growth at a Discount -- Stocks Pummelled by Own Bear Markets," in which veteran mutual fund contrarian Carl Lawrence suggests Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Intimate Brands, Office Depot, Donkenny, EMC, Novell and Xircom. Check your broker.

PAY-UP TIME: "Average person pays 12 bills a month, 29 percent at the last minute 28 percent of women let bills pile up vs. 32 percent of men 62 percent use a 'filing system,' but to many that's throwing bills in a drawer Women spend 5.4 hours a month on finances, men 7.6." (Microsoft survey.)

BALTIMORE BEAT: "Bell Atlantic is our favorite big telecommunications play for growth and income." (Personal Finance)

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The secretary of a well-known, deceased Baltimore CEO told me she spent 20 minutes a day "polishing his paper clips, then arranging them in a straight line." She added, "If they weren't shiny and parallel, he'd fly into a rage."

"In Baltimore, best rates and points for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in early spring were at Inland Mortgage (301-948-2662) and for one-year adjustables at Heritage Savings (410-583-8700). Check for latest rates." (Consumer Reports, May)

MARYLAND MEMOS: Santos Garza, CEO, Counter Technology Inc., Bethesda, is written up in Entrepreneur, April. ("Being a woman in male-dominated high-tech security industry is no big deal for Ms. Garza, obstacles no greater than as a child of migrant parents, etc.")

Nationally known Maryland wine connoisseur Robert Parker is written up in Forbes, May 6. He's trying to persuade Lloyd's of London to insure his taste buds for $1 million.

MAY FLOWERS: "Traits placing executives far above the rest and at top of the corporate ladder: Responsibility, creativity, stress tolerance, personal insight, communication skills." (McGraw Hill survey in Black Enterprise, May)

"You don't have to attend your IRS tax audit if you're represented by a tax professional, such as an attorney or CPA. IRS can't compel you to appear in person." (Tax Hotline, May)

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"Valuables stored in bank safe-deposit boxes are not automatically protected against loss through burglary, flood or fire. Check bank for your coverage." ("Book of Inside Information")

Pub Date: 5/01/96


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