The stock market was a nonstarter in 1994, but not purchases by executives of stocks in their own companies. Vickers Weekly Insider Report, which keeps tabs on insider trading, notes that its eight-week Sell/Buy ratio turned highly optimistic in the middle of last year, slipped a bit in the fall, and is now giving off strong optimistic signals again.

History indicates that whenever the ratio falls below 2.25, a rising market usually follows. The ratio is now hovering at about 0.94, compared with 1.77 at the start of 1995.

In the 20 years Vickers has tracked insider trading, the ratio dipped below 1.1 only six times prior to 1994, and the average rise in the Dow Jones industrial average 12 months later was 23%. In 1994, it moved below 1.1 in June and has now fallen even further.

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