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The Stat


The number of trading days in 2002 in which the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index moved 3% or more. There were seven such days in 2001, 11 days in 2000, and just one in 1999.

Leuthold Group Chocoholic alert. Indulge yourself at the all-you-can-eat chocolate bar on the 14th floor of the Ritz-Carlton in New York's Battery Park. For $25 per person, you can taste 24 desserts and candies, sip champagne, and enjoy harbor views. Don't miss the pi?ce de r?sistance: almond dacquoise peanut crunch white chocolate mousse. Open Friday and Saturday nights, Jan. 30-Mar. 1. Those who expect to profit by buying stock in a company that has just won an infusion from private investors may be disappointed. So says a recent study, which found that such companies underperform various stock market benchmarks by 30% to 40% in the three years following the investment. The study looked at 619 publicly traded firms from 1980 to 1996.

Stock prices do briefly rise in reaction to the announcement of a private placement, says James Linck, assistant professor of finance at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business and the study's co-author. Over the long run, though, a private equity placement may be a bad omen.

One possible explanation could be that private investors usually buy stock at a discount to the open market--and may be paying what the stock is really worth, according to the study. But it's likely that regular investors see the flurry of corporate activity that often follows a private placement and become overly optimistic about the company's prospects, then bid the stock too high. So, think twice about following the "smart money." If you're like most of the 20 million taxpayers who itemize charitable deductions, you're clueless as to the fair market value of the clothing, books, and other items you donate. Its Deductible software ( can help. $29.95, or $19.95 as an add-on to Turbo Tax.

Sears designed the Kenmore Toast 'N Wave for apartments and dorm rooms, or anyone with kitchen-counter clutter. Controls for the 0.9-cu.-ft. microwave are across the top, making way for a two-slice toaster on the side. The $130 spacesaver has wide toast slots, big enough for bagels.

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