"Although the major stock averages have rallied, many individual stocks have actually declined," observes Crosscurrents newsletter (80 Cuttermill Road, Great Neck, N.Y. 11021). "Money managers may be rotating out of thinly capitalized stocks into only the most liquid large-cap issues, preparing for a period of massive withdrawal from stocks. The market is running on empty. Stocks are tracing out an absolutely massive top."
- Mairs & Power Growth Fund is one of the least frenetic stock funds around. It owns just 28 companies, has only a 4 percent average annual turnover rate, and has owned its average stock for 25 years. Despite this lack of activity, MPG - which specializes in stocks with sustainable earnings growth, low business cyclicality and dominant products - has beaten Standard & Poor's 500 by 4.3 percentage points over the past five years. Favorite stocks: ADC Telecommunications, BMC Industries, Graco, MTS Systems, National Computer Systems, TSI.- "The United States now imports more than 50 percent of its oil," reports FXC Investors (62-19 Cooper Ave., Queens, N.Y. 11385). "That's a historic record. Our country runs on oil and gas. Given that we have no clear energy policy, the next eruption of OPEC will result in much higher prices. Our favorite stocks for this eventuality: Exxon, Canada Southern Petroleum, Coastal Caribbean Oils and Minerals, and Montana Power, which derives half its sales from domestic oil, gas and coal reserves."
- Every year, Forbes lists its nominees for the "200 Best Small Companies in America." Ten public companies have made this list for at least five consecutive years. These 10 have had a five-year average return on equity of at least 16 percent, latest 12-month return on equity of 18 percent or more, and five-year sales and earnings growth above 16 percent. The 10: American Power Conversion, BMC Software, Fastenal, Healthcare Compare, Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated Products, Medstat, Nature's Sunshine, Paychex, Vicor.
- The safest way to stretch for yield in the bond market is with a "laddered" approach, says the Dick Davis Digest (P.O. Box 9547, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33310). "For example, spread $25,000 among one-, two-, three-, four- and five-year Treasuries. As each year's $5,000-worth comes due, reinvest in five-year Treasuries. By constantly re-investing in five-year Treasuries, you will get a moderately high yield, and yet you will always have a large portion of your portfolio near maturity, ready to cash in."
- Despite its recent correction, silver's fundamentals remain strongly bullish, suggests Value Forecaster newsletter (P.O. Box 50, Pilot Hill, Calif. 95664). "Total worldwide liquid above-ground stockpiles have declined from 1,100 million ounces in 1990 to fewer than 620 million ounces now. This has boosted investor interest in the metal significantly, especially among hedge funds and Middle Eastern syndicates."
- Even if the stock market goes nowhere from here, stock investors can still benefit dramatically, says Mutual Fund News Service (P.O. Box 937, Bodega Bay, Calif. 94923). "From November 1972 to October 1982, the market was flat, with the Dow Industrials moving from 1003 to just 1004. Yet investors in a Dow index fund would have posted a 70 percent gain in those 10 years, because of dividends. Thus, choosing stocks that pay steady, increasing dividends can boost returns in any type of market."