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The editors of the top-performing investment newsletters of 1996 offer this hard-nosed market assessment of the national election's outcome:

It just doesn't matter.Everything's been fine and dandy for investors with Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House and Republicans in control of Congress. These editors fully expect their own investment strategies will continue to prosper under the Washington status quo.

Corporate earnings, machinizations of the Federal Reserve and the collective mindset of the nation's business executives all carry greater weight than the government anyway, they insist.

"The election was a non-issue that made no difference to Wall Street, since all Wall Street cares about is whether government shrinks as a percentage of gross national product," declared Louis Navellier, editor of the MPT Review investment letter, whose model portfolio has gained 44.31 percent this year.

Clinton will likely take government to about 17.6 percent of GNP, vs. the 17.2 percent the Republicans would have, he figures, so the bottom line "really isn't a big deal." Navellier expects the market to slow as we enter the holiday season in a modest correction, but sees no bear market in the cards.

Employing modern portfolio theory, Navel-lier looks at Wall Street's 7,500 most liquid stocks, calculates reward-risk ratios and trims the list to 450. He "cherry-picks" the best 70.

"I'm more interested in the Fed controlling the stock market because over the years whoever wins the presidential elections doesn't amount to a hill of beans," asserted Alvin Toral, editor of the Pure Fundamentalist, up 27.28 percent. "This Clinton reign has been good for the market, and if he wants to take credit for it, that's fine with me."

Using 13 fundamental factors, including an annual earnings increase of 20 percent or more for three to five years, Toral pinpoints stocks in industries with outstanding growth and profits.

"We've been getting positive signals from corporate insiders this fall that indicate extreme optimism," observed David Coleman, editor of Vickers Weekly Insider, up 48.05 percent to lead the pack. "Whether that means they factored in a Clinton victory and a Republican Congress as the likely election outcome or not, they have been actively buying stocks at prices they consider attractive."

Vickers Weekly tracks trades by corporate executives in their own companies' stocks, culled from Securities and Exchange Commission filings. It ranks stocks with significant activity over six months. Although Coleman issued a market warning signal several weeks ago because of deteriorating market conditions, he expects no imminent correction.

"Corporate earnings will decide what happens in the market more than anything political," pointed out David Driscoll, editor of the Investment Reporter, up 31.16 percent. "There won't be a lot of change with Clinton and a Republican Congress since the only difficulty they encountered so far has been in passing a budget."

Canada-based Driscoll buys quality stocks of companies with strong cash flow and little debt, then holds long term. Twenty percent of the portfolio is in U.S. stocks, the rest Canadian, since he expects Canada to outperform the United States over the next five years because of its inflation outlook and strong economy.

The top-performing newsletters in 1996, based on the tracking of $10,000 model port-folios by the The Hulbert Financial Digest, are:

Vickers Weekly Insider, 226 New York Ave., Huntington, N.Y. 11743; 800-645-5043; a weekly with a $176 annual subscription; up 48.05 percent.

Current recommendations include Worldcom, Viacom, Mainstreet Bank Group, WMX Technologies and Browning-Ferris.

MPT Review, 1 E. Liberty, Reno, NV 89501; 800-454-1395; a monthly with a $225 subscription; up 44.31 percent.

Recommendations include Medicis Pharmaceutical, Transocean Offshore, Diamond Offshore Drilling, TJX Co., Ross Stores and Wet Seal.

The Investment Reporter, 133 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H3M8; 800-430-1897; a monthly with a $97.50 (Canadian) subscription; up 31.16 percent.

Recommended U.S. stocks include SunAmerica and Paychex Inc. Picks on the Toronto Stock Exchange include Canadian Pacific Ltd., Canwest Global, SNC Lavalin Group and Precision Drilling.

The Pure Fundamentalist, P.O. Box 7084, Deerfield, IL 60015; 847-945-4700; a monthly with a $99 subscription; up 27.28 percent.

Recommendations include Ascend Communications, Cascade Communications, Fore Systems, Telex and Wireless Telecom Group.