Perhaps a bit more wisdom buoys investors' resolves
Some News Year's resolutions for investors: * From Larry Wachtel, analyst at Bache Halsey Stuart Shields Inc.: "Sit down in a dark corner and decide if you are a short-term investor or a conservative investor and apply some investment common sense accordingly. If you are conservative, don't go into Genentech, or other hot new issues, just because everyone else is. Know where you stand and invest in a way that's suitable for your personality."
* From Frank Parrish, vice-president in charge of equity-income funds for the Fidelity Group of mutual funds: "I will be invested in bonds when interest rates drop, but not when they rise, and I won't get trapped in companies whose unit volume is not increasing from business cycle to business cycle. I also won't believe everything the Federal Reserve Board tells me they are trying to do."
* From an anonymous investor: "Get me out and get me even and I won't do it again."
* From Monte Gordon, director of research at the Dreyfus Corporation: "Watch your timing in 1981. What has been out of favor in 1980 could come into favor at right moment in 1981. In other words, if you assume that the initial phase of the economy will be sluggish and slow, it might not be good for cyclically responsive stocks, but as the year goes on, the could change."
* From Robert Stovall, first vice-president, Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.: "Don't project the immediate past into the immediate future. Just because we've had two excellent years in 1979-80, and you are feeling upbeat about 1981 with the new look in Washington, it's dangerous to project the present into the future. It's unlikely that we'll have as big a percentage gain this year as the 1979-80 period."
Watch January for a clue on how the stock market is going to behave for the whole year. According to yale Hirsch, publisher of The Stock Trader's Almanac, "It's just incredible how the January Barometer has consistently predicted the annual course of the stock market since 1950." Over the past 30 years, says Mr. Hirsch, the "January Barometer" has accurately traced the annual course of the market for 26 years. The 10 bear market years since 1950 were all preceded by inferior Januarys while the top 16 Januarys had gains of over 1 percent and launched the best market years of the period.
For those market watchers who want an "advance look" at the month, Mr. Hirsch notes that the first five trading days of the month sometimes serve as an "early warning" system.
And, finally, Mr. Hirsch finds that in postelection years, three Republican takeovers have spawned bear markets (1921, 1953, 1969) while Democratic takeovers have had better results.
The new issues market has continued to prosper in spite of the recent downturn in the general market. The most recent issue, Intelligent Systems Corporation, came out on New Year's Eve at $16 per share and promptly bounced up to $21 per share by the end of the day. According to the prospectus, the company designs, develops, manufactures, and markets color graphic display terminals and desktop computer systems. The company had sales of $14.5 million in their fiscal year ending March 31 and earned $1.9 million or 24 cents per share.
The lead underwriter was L. F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin which will also be busy in January with such new issues as Tandon corporation, a computer company, Silicon Systems Inc., another computer company, and Nutri/System Inc., a company that operates weight-loss centers.
Even though Intelligent Systems was well received, one stock broker says he feels the new issue market is beginning to age. "The quality of the participants," he notes "is not that good." Specifically, he notes, a lot of banks have formed special funds that are acting like "hedge funds," that is buying and selling the new issues on a speculative basis.
Tax selling and profit taking combined to flatten out the market's rally last week. In holiday shortened trading, the Dow Jones industrial average ended the week with a gain of 6.40 points, closing at 963.99. For the year, the Dow average gained 125.25 points.
Defense and aerospace stocks were strong last week in spite of the retrenchment. Analysts also reported that portfolio window dressing of strong stocks helped boost those companies that were winners while selling depressed those that had been losers all year.