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A BIT OF BAD ECONOMIC NEWS MAKES FUND FORECASTER BULLISH

SHARE A BIT OF BAD ECONOMIC NEWS MAKES FUND FORECASTER BULLISH

A digest of investment opinion from the world's leading financial advisers. Primary bull markets normally give investors one solid buying opportunity every year, observes Mutual Fund Forecaster. It believes this type of chance is now at hand.

"Such buying opportunities seldom emerge from environments of glowing optimism and widespread bullishness. It takes a bit of bad news to make stocks bargains. Since the beginning of the year there's been a lot of bad news around. Inflation, interest-rate and recession worries abound, and they have helped create the market's recent stall. Yet our econometric model projects a total return of 35 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index over the next 12 months."Also contributing to Mutual Fund Forecaster's all-out bullishness is the fact that equity mutual funds are holding 4.6 percent of the assets as an excess cash reserve. Never before have these funds had so much buying power in their portfolios.

"And since the lesson of history is that the market-timing judgments of fund managers are, in aggregate, invariably wrong," notes Mutual Fund Forecaster, "such large cash reserves are usually followed by rising markets. In fact, every major buying opportunity of the last 35 years has been identified by a high reading on our Fund Timing Index."

From among the hundreds of mutual funds it tracks, Mutual Fund Forecaster, which has a superb fund advisory record, has nominated six as "best buy recommendations" - funds with the highest projected profits in each risk category.

In the very-low-risk group, Mutual Fund Forecaster recommends Vanguard Index Extended Market, with a 26 percent one-year profit projection. The low-risk category produced two funds Mutual Fund Forecaster believes could rise 30 percent over the next 12 months: Financial Programs Industrial Income and IAI Regional.

In the medium-risk range, Mutual Fund Forecaster feels Fidelity Capital Appreciation will excel, producing a one-year total return of 37 percent. Rising into the high-risk area, Mutual Fund Forecaster's favorite is Hartwell Growth, with a projected one-year profit of 40 percent.

And finally, for investors who can tolerate a very high level of risk, Mutual Fund Forecaster suggests Nicholas-Applegate Growth, a closed-end fund with a top-rated one-year profit projection of 49 percent.

The recent market hesitation also has produced a significant buying opportunity for short-term traders of mutual funds, Mutual Fund Forecaster believes. Besides Nicholas-Applegate Growth, the funds it feels stand to benefit most from this opportunity are: Quest for Value Capital (45 percent one-year profit projection), Twentieth Century Vista (44 percent), Twentieth Century Growth (40 percent), Twentieth Century Ultra (39 percent) and Twentieth Century Select (38 percent).

Finally, Mutual Fund Forecaster notes that the Securities and Exchange Commission recently conducted an in-depth study of all the initial offerings of closed-end funds from 1985-1987. It concluded that such offerings were "systematically overpriced" and that only 4 percent of the shares sold were bought by institutions, while the remaining 96 percent were peddled to average investors.

"Remember that the next time a broker tells you he or she isn't going to charge you a commission for a new closed-end fund," cautions Mutual Fund Forecaster.

(Mutual Fund Forecaster, 3471 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306; monthly, $100 annually.)

Investor's Notebook reflects the opinions of professionals. It does not endorse specific investments, and no endorsement is implied or should be inferred. For more information, contact the individual firms cited. 1990 Universal Press Syndicate 4900 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64112