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The several trillion dollars of stock outstanding in U.S. markets is all potential supply weighing upon prices, observes Investor's Digest (2200 S.W. 10th St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8799). "What we find particularly discomforting is that supply has risen some sevenfold in just 14 years, while stocks are at their lowest yield rate in history. The greatest corporate earnings explosion since World War II has driven this bull market to its current heights. But the economy that produced these earnings is slowing down."

- The words "conservative" and "growth" don't usually go together. But at the conservative growth fund William Blair Growth Shares, which has appreciated an average 18.2 percent annually over the past five years, the two adjectives fit very well. To make sure its growth is conserved, William Blair avoids unproven companies and sector overweightings while looking for stable earnings and low P/E ratios. Recent favorites: Home Depot, Microsoft, Automatic Data Processing, Airtouch Communications, Wal-Mart, Wendy's, American Management Systems.- Corporations are using health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to reduce medical costs because they're 40 percent cheaper than traditional health insurance. By decade-end, traditional insurers will be paying $2,875 for a day in the hospital, vs. $1,100 for HMOs, predicts Kenneth Abramowitz of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Abramowitz expects HMOs to be among the few thriving survivors of the health-care revolution. His favorite HMO stocks: Foundation Health, Oxford Health Plans, Pacificare A, United Healthcare.

- Exports now constitute 13 percent of the U.S. economy, vs. 7 percent a decade ago. Experts see that figure jumping to 18 percent by the year 2000. To uncover stocks that would benefit most from this trend, Smart Money magazine (1790 Broadway, New York, NY 10019) went looking for companies that derive most of their revenues from exports, operate in industries with the strongest export growth, and have both little debt and reasonable stock prices. Three stood out: Burr-Brown, Dresser Industries and Hewlett Packard.

- The persistent absence of inflation will give bonds a smoother ride in the coming decade, predicts Forbes. "They won't be speculative vehicles, as they were in the '80s, or `certificates of confiscation,' as in the '70s. Bonds will be what they used to be: a haven for conservative investors and a hedge against stock-market volatility. Callable bonds, particularly mortgage pass-throughs, should perform best. Mortgages remain the best diversifiers for equity portfolios, simply because their prepayment risk is unrelated to stock-market risk."

- Here, according to Vanguard's John Bogle, the dean of American mutual fund executives, are the three most common mistakes fund investors make: overrating past performance, giving inadequate weight to risk and switching funds too often.

- Gold prices have moved less in the last two years than at any time since prices were deregulated in 1968, observes Andrew Smith of Union Bank of Switzerland. Smith believes gold could remain dormant indefinitely because the world is now so much safer. "Systematic risks have been reduced by the free movement of capital across international borders. The more shock-proof the system, the more systematic hedges like gold are left on the margins."