COMMENTARY

One for the record books. The first quarter wound up on Mar. 31 with the Dow

industrials slightly under 8800, up 13.1%, and the S&P 500 at nearly 1102, up

13.5%. Driven by the big tech stocks, the NASDAQ Composite logged 16.9% to

reach a new high. All told, 1998's first quarter was the best since 1987's.

The rally rolled into the new quarter as well. The S&P and the NASDAQ indexes

went on to make new highs on Apr. 1. The Dow gained 69 points that day, too,

but it's still 40 shy of a new high.

STOCKS

      
                                                     % change
      U.S. MARKETS                 Latest         Week       Year
      Dow Jones Industrials        8868.3         -0.1       36.1
      NASDAQ Combined Composite    1847.7          1.3       53.8
      S&P MidCap 400               372.5           1.1       49.5
      S&P SmallCap 600             202.9           1.9       50.1
      S&P SuperComposite 1500      237.7           0.7       48.0
      
                                                     % change
      SECTORS                      Latest         Week       Year
      Bloomberg Information Age    340.7           0.6       52.2
      S&P Financials               132.9          -0.7       57.6
      S&P Utilities                246.2          -0.7       30.5
      PSE Technology               351.9           1.9       47.8
      
                                                     % change
      FOREIGN MARKETS              Latest         Week       Year
      London (FT-SE 100)           6017.6          0.8        42.0
      Frankfurt (DAX)              5154.2          1.1        56.1
      Tokyo (NIKKEI 225)           16,241.7       -2.5       -10.0
      Hong Kong (Hang Seng)        11,331.4       -4.1       -6.6
      Toronto (TSE 300)            7527.9         -0.7        28.7
      Mexico City (IPC)            4999.1          0.0        34.5
      
                                                       Week         Year
      FUNDAMENTALS                       Latest        ago          ago
      S&P 500 Dividend Yield              1.41%        1.36%        1.94%
      S&P 500 P/E Ratio (Last 12 mos.)    27.8         27.7         19.9
      S&P 500 P/E Ratio (Next 12 mos.)*   21.5         21.9         15.9
      First Call Earnings Revision*      -3.43%       -3.48%        NA
      
                                                     Week
      TECHNICAL INDICATORS               Latest      ago         Reading
      S&P 500 200-day average            963.0       957.4       Positive
      Stocks above 200-day average       66.0%       67.0%       Neutral
      Options: Put/call ratio            0.53        0.58        Negative
      Insiders: Vickers Sell/buy ratio   2.62        2.52        Negative
      
      BEST-PERFORMING           Last                                   Last 12
      GROUPS                   month%                                  months%
      Soft Drinks               18.5       Homebuilding                 109.4
      Pollution Control         18.0       Broadcasting                 105.3
      Office Equip. & Supplies  17.8       Communications Equip         97.0
      Restaurants               13.7       Specialty Appar. Retailers   94.3         
        Invest. Banking/Brkrge.   13.1       Personal Loans               93.0
      
      WORST-PERFORMING         Last                                   Last 12
      GROUPS                   month%                                 months%
      Tobacco                  -8.1        Metals                      -29.6
      Semiconductors           -5.2        Shoes                       -27.9
      Toys                     -4.1        Gold Mining                 -21.5
      Computer Systems         -3.3        Photography/Imaging         -6.6          
       Manufactured Housing     -3.1        Engineering & Constr.       -5.7
      
      BLOOMBERG MONEY FLOW ANALYSIS
      
      Rebound ahead?  Stocks with most                      1-month
      significant buying on price weakness    Price          change
      Lockheed Martin                         112 1/2        -3
      Micron Technology                       29 1/16        -5 5/16
      General Motors                          67 3/4         -3 1/8
      Chevron                                 80 5/16        -2 1/4
      Compaq Computer                         25 7/8         -5 1/4
      W.R. Grace                              83 11/16       -1/16
      
      Decline ahead?  Stocks with most                       1-month
      significant selling on price strength   Price           change
      Microsoft                               89 1/2          6 3/16
      WorldCom                                43 1/16         4 5/16
      Pfizer                                  99 11/16        11 7/8
      Cisco Systems                           68 3/8          3 1/8
      PeopleSoft                              52 5/8          8 7/16
      Costco                                  53 3/8          3 5/8
      
      Data: Bloomberg Financial Markets; *First Call Corp.
      
      INTEREST RATES
      
                                  Latest       Week      Year
      KEY RATES                    week%       ago%      ago%
      MONEY MARKET FUNDS           5.11        5.11      5.01
      90-DAY TREASURY BILLS        5.10        5.18      5.30
      6-MONTH BANK CDS             5.05        5.07      5.13
      1-YEAR TREASURY BILLS        5.35        5.40      5.98
      10-YEAR TREASURY NOTES       5.58        5.64      6.88
      30-YEAR TREASURY BONDS       5.88        5.94      7.08
      LONG-TERM AA INDUSTRIALS     6.45        6.51      7.56
      LONG-TERM BBB INDUSTRIALS    6.93        6.98      7.94
      LONG-TERM AA TELEPHONES      6.74        6.79      7.77
      
      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      4.45%      4.43%          5.05%      5.03%
      PERCENT OF TREASURIES    78.63      78.54          85.02      84.64
      TAXABLE EQUIVALENT       6.45       6.42           7.32       7.29
      INSURED REVENUE BONDS    4.59       4.57           5.24       5.21
      PERCENT OF TREASURIES    81.10      81.02          88.22      87.67
      TAXABLE EQUIVALENT       6.65       6.62           7.59       7.55
      
      MUTUAL FUNDS
      
      EQUITY FUNDS
      Leaders                                 Laggards
      Four-week total return           %      Four-week total return         %
      Amerindo Technology D          16.3     DFA Japanese Small Co.       -12.3
      Weitz Hickory                  13.5     Capstone New Zealand         -9.6
      First Eagle International Y    12.2     Fidelity Japan Small Co.     -9.4
      Calvert New Africa A           11.8     Japan                        -8.9
      Smith Barney Telecom. Inc.     11.4     Barr Rosenberg Japan Instl.  -7.8
      
      Leaders                                 Laggards
      52-week total return             %      52-week total return          %
      Delaware Aggressive Gr. A      103.1    U.S. Global Investors Gold   -55.2
      Munder Micro-Cap Equity Y      88.1     Midas                        -51.9
      FMI Focus                      85.1     Merrill Emerging Tigers B    -47.2
      Fidelity Select Brokerage      85.1     Bull & Bear Gold Investors   -47.0
      MAS Mid Cap Growth Instl.      77.3     Morgan Stan. Asian Grth. C   -46.0
      
      EQUITY FUND CATEGORIES
      Leaders                             Laggards
      Four-week total return    %         Four-week total return       %
      Communications           8.1        Japan                      -5.9
      Utilities                6.3        Diversified Pacific/Asia   -3.1
      Precious Metals          6.2        Pacific/Asia ex-Japan      -0.2
      Europe                   5.9        Natural Resources           1.7
      Small-cap Growth         5.1        Real Estate                 2.4
      
      Leaders                             Laggards
      52-week total return      %         52-week total return          %
      Communications          61.5        Precious Metals            -32.3
      Financial               56.2        Pacific/Asia ex-Japan      -30.4
      Large-cap Growth        47.3        Diversified Pacific/Asia   -22.7
      Small-cap Blend         44.1        Japan                      -10.2
      Unaligned               42.9        Diversified Emerging Mkts. -7.4
      
      Data: Morningstar, Inc.
      
      All data are as of market close Wednesday, Apr. 1, 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. 31. 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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