COMMENTARY

The stock market hit another four-bagger this week. The Dow industrials, the

S&P 500 stock index, the NASDAQ composite, and the Russell 2000 index all

scored new highs. Indeed, early in the trading day on Mar. 25, the Dow was

booming ahead just 50 points shy of the 9000 barrier, only to sell off a bit.

The tech stocks were especially strong, propelled by Microsoft's

pre-announcement that earnings would exceed forecasts. A note of caution: The

Vickers Sell/buy ratio, a technical indicator shown on this page, is flashing

negative signals.

      
                                                    % change
      U.S. MARKETS                 Latest       Week       Year
      
      Dow Jones Industrials        8872.8       1.1        29.0
      NASDAQ Combined Composite    1824.5       2.0        43.8
      S&P MidCap 400                368.5       1.0        41.0
      S&P SmallCap 600              199.1       1.0        41.0
      S&P SuperComposite 1500       236.1       1.4        39.6
      
                                                 % change
      SECTORS                       Latest     Week      Year
      
      Bloomberg Information Age     338.5       3.7      42.8
      S&P Financials                133.9      -0.2      47.4
      S&P Utilities                 247.9       2.3      28.1
      PSE Technology                345.3       1.7      37.3
      
                                                  % change
      FOREIGN MARKETS            Latest       Week         Year
      
      London (FT-SE 100)         5967.8        1.1         38.7
      Frankfurt (DAX)            5096.6        3.6         49.1
      Tokyo (NIKKEI 225)       16,658.3        0.2         -9.8
      Hong Kong (Hang Seng)    11,810.6        6.2         -7.6
      Toronto (TSE 300)          7579.2        2.1         23.8
      Mexico City (IPC)          4997.1        3.2         30.0
      
                                                       Week       Year
      FUNDAMENTALS                         Latest       ago        ago
      
      S&P 500 Dividend Yield                1.36 %     1.43 %      1.86 %
      S&P 500 P/E Ratio (Last 12 mos.)      27.7       27.1        20.7
      S&P 500 P/E Ratio (Next 12 mos.)*     21.9       21.3        16.6
      First Call Earnings Revision*        -3.48 %    -3.51 %     -0.99 %
      
                                                         Week
      TECHNICAL INDICATORS                  Latest       ago        Reading
      
      S&P 500 200-day average                957.4       951.2      Positive
      Stocks above 200-day average            67.0 %      66.0 %    Neutral
      Options: Put/call ratio                 0.58        0.54      Negative
      Insiders: Vickers Sell/buy ratio        2.52        2.01      Negative
      
      BEST-PERFORMING           Last                                  Last 12
      GROUPS                   month%                                 months%
      
      Steel                     15.7       Homebuilding                94.1
      Pollution Control         14.7       Broadcasting                93.8
      Savings & Loans           14.0       Manufactured Housing        88.1
      Hospital Management       13.8       Communications Equip.       84.0
      Hotels & Motels           13.3       Specialty Appar. Retailers  80.9
      
      WORST-PERFORMING         Last                                   Last 12
      GROUPS                   month%                                 months%
      
      Semiconductors           -14.3       Shoes                      -32.7
      Drug Chains               -3.8       Metals                     -31.8
      Toys                      -3.2       Gold Mining                -28.9
      Computer Systems          -2.8       Photography/Imaging        -13.7
      Transportation Services   -2.7       Engineering & Constr.      -10.4
      
      BLOOMBERG MONEY FLOW ANALYSIS
      Rebound ahead?  Stocks with most                           1-month
      significant buying on price weakness    Price              change
      
      IBM                                    103 1/2             -1 3/4
      Micron Technology                       28 11/16           -6 1/16
      Compaq Computer                         25 9/16            -8 7/16
      Sun Microsystems                        44 7/8             -1 9/16
      Ascend Communications                   34 13/16           -1 7/16
      Texas Instruments                       53 5/16            -7 15/16
      
      Decline ahead?  Stocks with most                            1-month
      significant selling on price strength   Price               change
      
      Dell Computer                           65 3/4                25/32
      WorldCom                                44 7/16             6
      Cisco Systems                           67 13/16            1 1/16
      Pfizer                                  95 3/8              7
      PeopleSoft                              50 3/8              6 7/8
      Qwest Communications Intl.              39 3/4              3 1/2
      
      Data: Bloomberg Financial Markets; *First Call Corp.
      
                                  Latest       Week      Year
      KEY RATES                    week%       ago%      ago%
      
      MONEY MARKET FUNDS           5.11        5.12      4.96
      90-DAY TREASURY BILLS        5.17        5.17      5.44
      6-MONTH BANK CDS             5.07        5.07      5.07
      1-YEAR TREASURY BILLS        5.37        5.36      5.91
      10-YEAR TREASURY NOTES       5.64        5.58      6.75
      30-YEAR TREASURY BONDS       5.94        5.91      6.95
      LONG-TERM AA INDUSTRIALS     6.51        6.48      7.45
      LONG-TERM BBB INDUSTRIALS    6.98        6.95      7.79
      LONG-TERM AA TELEPHONES      6.79        6.78      7.65
      
      BLOOMBERG MUNI YIELD EQUIVALENTS
      Taxable equivalent yields on AAA-rated, tax-exempt municipal bonds,
      assuming a 31% federal tax rate.
      
                                 10-yr. bond          30-yr. bond
                              Latest    Last       Latest     Last
                               week     week        week      week
      
      GENERAL OBLIGATIONS      4.43%     4.42%      5.03%      5.02%
      PERCENT OF TREASURIES   78.54     79.36      84.64      85.02
      TAXABLE EQUIVALENT       6.42      6.41       7.29       7.28
      INSURED REVENUE BONDS    4.57      4.54       5.21       5.18
      PERCENT OF TREASURIES   81.02     81.51      87.67      87.73
      TAXABLE EQUIVALENT       6.62      6.58       7.55       7.51
      
      EQUITY FUNDS
      Leaders                                 Laggards
      Four-week total return           %      Four-week total return       %
      
      Amerindo Technology D           18.2    ProFunds UltraBear Svc     -12.6
      Fidelity Sel. Energy Serv.      16.8    Frontier Equity             -8.3
      Smith Barney Telecom. Income    16.6    Merrill Technology D        -6.9
      Matthews Korea I                14.4    Rydex Ursa                  -6.5
      Weitz Hickory                   14.4    Warburg Japan OTC Comm.     -5.8
      
      Leaders                                 Laggards
      52-week total return              %     52-week total return          %
      
      Delaware Aggressive Gr. A       98.8    Midas                      -58.5
      Munder Micro-Cap Equity Y       84.8    U.S. Global Investors Gold -57.5
      FMI Focus                       79.5    Invesco Strategic Gold     -54.5
      Fidelity Select Brokerage       73.7    Bull & Bear Gold Investors -53.8
      Safeco Growth No Load           72.9    Gabelli Gold               -48.8
      
      EQUITY FUND CATEGORIES
      Leaders                                 Laggards
      Four-week total return           %      Four-week total return        %
      
      Communications                  11.3    Japan                       -2.1
      Latin America                    9.8    Real Estate                  0.0
      Europe                           9.2    Diversified Pacific/Asia     1.6
      Utilities                        8.7    Technology                   2.4
      Foreign                          7.6    International Hybrid         4.0
      
      Leaders                                 Laggards
      52-week total return             %      52-week total return          %
      
      Communications                  57.4    Precious Metals            -38.5
      Financial                       48.8    Pacific/Asia ex-Japan      -30.1
      Large-cap Growth                41.6    Diversified Pacific/Asia   -22.1
      Small-cap Blend                 40.1    Japan                       -9.4
      Unaligned                       39.2    Diversified Emerging Mkts.  -7.3
      
      All data are as of market close Wednesday, Mar. 25, 1998, unless otherwise 
      indicated. Industry groups include S&P 500 companies only.  Fundamentals, 
      technical indicators, Bloomberg money flow analysis, and mutual fund returns 
      are as of Mar. 24. For a more detailed explanation, write to us or E-mail 
      figures@businessweek.com.  NA=Not available  **Vanguard Index 500 Fund
      
      
      
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