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"I think the recession will last into 1992," predicts Lynn El-gert, the No. 1-rated stock market timer from 1985 to the present, according to Hulbert Financial Digest. "It will be a hard recession, deeper and worse than people think. In every other recession we didn't have the kind of debt, the bank trouble, the S&L trouble, we have now. I think the Dow will fall below 2000."

- Only one of the thousands of U.S. mutual funds earned an "A" rating in both up and down markets in Forbes' latest Mutual Fund Honor Roll. That's United Income Fund, with a 10-year annual average appreciation of 17.7 percent. U.I. achieved this consistent superiority by mixing high-yielding blue chips with lower-yielding growth stocks. Recent favorites: AMR, Caterpillar, Deere, Delta Air Lines, Federal National Mortgage, Fluor, IBM, Intel, Pepsico, Wells Fargo.- Kidder Peabody analyst Barbara Allen studied the behavior of housing stocks during the past two recessions and discovered that the time to buy them was when interest rates had peaked, the stocks had stopped underperforming the market and housing starts had begun picking up year to year. "The first two things have occurred, while the third appears imminent," says Allen. Her favorite housing plays: Centex, Hovanian, Kaufman & Broad, Lennar, PHM, Ryland Group, Standard Pacific LP, Toll Bros., UDC-Universal Development LP.

- Charles Allmon, the cagey editor of Growth Stock Outlook (P.O. Box 15381, Chevy Chase, MD 20825) has an interesting technique for playing recession-resistant stocks. He waits for price pullbacks in large growth companies that dominate their markets. All-mon's favorites: Carter-Wallace, Clorox, Hershey Foods, Kellogg, Longs Drug Stores.

- So-called vulture funds, which feast on distressed companies, have had a rough few years: Things just haven't been tough enough. So the demand for troubled equities has exceeded the supply. But Robert Martorelli of Mer-rill Lynch's Phoenix Funds believes this situation is about to change. "As we get more and more defaults, the supply of these securities will exceed demand. Lots of money will be made in them." The top-performing vultures, 1988-90: Equity Strategies, up 73.9 percent; Mutual Beacon, 43.3 percent; Mutual Shares, 38.6 percent; and First Eagle, 36.8 percent.