COMMENTARY

A sprightly week for U.S. financial markets, with equities continuing their

record-setting advance. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed for four days

straight, aided by the bank mergers and strong earnings news. Remarks on Apr.

15 by Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin eased the concerns of bond traders, who

were worried that the Group of Seven would take actions hurting the dollar.

Generally favorable economic news, such as stability in consumer prices, kept

bond prices in check.

STOCKS

      
                                                    % change
      U.S. MARKETS                  Latest     Week       Year
      Dow Jones Industrials         9162.3      3.0       37.2
      NASDAQ Combined Composite     1863.3      3.1       54.0
      S&P MidCap 400                 377.1      2.8       50.0
      S&P SmallCap 600               204.0      3.0       48.6
      S&P SuperComposite 1500        240.1      1.8       47.0
      
                                                  % change
      SECTORS                       Latest     Week       Year
      Bloomberg Information Age      339.6      2.4       49.5
      S&P Financials                 140.2      2.6       64.8
      S&P Utilities                  245.8      0.5       33.4
      PSE Technology                 351.6      3.6       46.7
      
                                                   % change
      FOREIGN MARKETS             Latest       Week      Year
      London (FT-SE 100)          6074.1       0.3       41.4
      Frankfurt (DAX)             5388.5       2.3       60.7
      Tokyo (NIKKEI 225)        16,299.3      -0.5       -9.6
      Hong Kong (Hang Seng)     11,371.1       0.5       -9.6
      Toronto (TSE 300)           7817.7       3.3       34.8
      Mexico City (IPC)           4991.0       1.4       30.2
      
                                                      Week     Year
      FUNDAMENTALS                      Latest        ago       ago
      S&P 500 Dividend Yield             1.45 %      1.40 %    1.95 %
      S&P 500 P/E Ratio (Last 12 mos.)   27.7        27.9      19.6
      S&P 500 P/E Ratio (Next 12 mos.)*  21.9        21.8      15.7
      First Call Earnings Surprise*      2.88 %      1.53 %    3.28 %
      
                                                       Week
      TECHNICAL INDICATORS              Latest         ago       Reading
      S&P 500 200-day average            973.0        968.6      Positive
      Stocks above 200-day average        65.0 %       66.0 %    Neutral
      Options: Put/call ratio             0.64         0.53      Neutral
      Insiders: Vickers Sell/buy ratio    2.79         2.64      Negative
      
      BEST-PERFORMING          Last                                 Last 12
      GROUPS                   month%                               months%
      Invest. Banking/Brkrge.   17.4     Broadcasting                115.5
      Chemicals                 15.1     Homebuilding                110.3
      Photography/Imaging       14.6     Personal Loans              102.6
      Money Center Banks        14.1     Specialty Appar. Retailers  101.8
      Automobiles               13.6     Invest. Banking/Brkrge.      99.7
      
      WORST-PERFORMING         Last                                  Last 12
      GROUPS                   month%                                months%
      Toys                     -10.9     Shoes                       -25.9
      Food Chains               -8.3     Metals                      -22.3
      Tobacco                   -7.8     Engineering & Constr.       -12.1
      Drug Chains               -4.7     Gold Mining                 -11.6
      Leisure Time              -4.6     Photography/Imaging           1.4
      
      BLOOMBERG MONEY FLOW ANALYSIS
      
      Rebound ahead?  Stocks with most                          1-month
      significant buying on price weakness    Price             change
      Oracle                                  28 1/2            -1 1/8
      AT&T                                    64 7/8            - 5/16
      Telebras-ADR                           130 5/8            - 7/8
      Lockheed Martin                        111 13/16          -2 13/16
      Merck                                  125                -4 1/2
      US West Communications Group            51 9/16           -3 13/16
      
      Decline ahead?  Stocks with most                          1-month
      significant selling on price strength   Price              change
      Microsoft                               88 7/16            6 7/16
      WorldCom                                44 53/64           2 61/64
      Pfizer                                  99 1/16           11 1/16
      Dell Computer                           68 5/8             5 1/16
      PeopleSoft                              53 7/8             3 1/16
      Centocor                                41 1/2             2 15/16
      
      Data: Bloomberg Financial Markets; *First Call Corp.
      
      INTEREST RATES
      
                                   Latest     Week      Year
      KEY RATES                    week%      ago%      ago%
      MONEY MARKET FUNDS            5.10      5.11      5.04
      90-DAY TREASURY BILLS         5.06      5.07      5.29
      6-MONTH BANK CDS              5.08      5.06      5.18
      1-YEAR TREASURY BILLS         5.35      5.28      5.99
      10-YEAR TREASURY NOTES        5.59      5.53      6.90
      30-YEAR TREASURY BONDS        5.88      5.84      7.11
      LONG-TERM AA INDUSTRIALS      6.47      6.41      7.59
      LONG-TERM BBB INDUSTRIALS     6.92      6.87      7.96
      LONG-TERM AA TELEPHONES       6.73      6.69      7.82
      
      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   79.60     80.32      85.90     86.24
      TAXABLE EQUIVALENT       6.45      6.42       7.32      7.29
      INSURED REVENUE BONDS    4.61      4.57       5.25      5.22
      PERCENT OF TREASURIES   82.46     82.86      89.30     89.50
      TAXABLE EQUIVALENT       6.68      6.62       7.61      7.57
      
      MUTUAL FUNDS
      
      EQUITY FUNDS
      Leaders                              Laggards
      Four-week total return       %       Four-week total return         %
      Lexington Strat. Invmnts.   23.2     Capstone New Zealand         -11.2
      Gabelli Gold                17.8     Lexington Troika Russia       -9.2
      Am.Cent. Global Gold        17.2     DFA Japanese Small Co.        -7.8
      Pioneer Gold C              17.1     Dreyfus Aggressive Growth     -6.9
      Evergreen Prec. Metals B    16.9     ProFunds UltraBear Serv.      -5.7
      
      Leaders                              Laggards
      52-week total return         %       52-week total return           %
      Delaware Aggressive Gr. A  105.0     U.S. Global Investors Gold   -52.0
      Fidelity Select Brokerage   93.0     Matthews Korea I             -47.9
      FMI Focus                   90.9     Midas                        -46.5
      Munder Micro-Cap Equity Y   89.6     Morgan Stan. Asian Grth. C   -45.8
      Weitz Hickory               88.9     Morg. Stan. Inst. Asia Eq. A -45.4
      
      EQUITY FUND CATEGORIES
      Leaders                              Laggards
      Four-week total return       %       Four-week total return          %
      Precious Metals             14.0     Pacific/Asia ex-Japan          0.1
      Natural Resources            6.1     Health                         0.2
      Europe                       5.6     Diversified Pacific/Asia       0.3
      Financial                    5.4     Japan                          1.8
      Foreign                      5.3     Domestic Hybrid                1.9
      
      Leaders                              Laggards
      52-week total return          %      52-week total return            %
      Financial                   65.0     Pacific/Asia ex-Japan        -29.5
      Communications              61.9     Precious Metals              -25.9
      Large-cap Growth            49.9     Diversified Pacific/Asia     -20.3
      Unaligned                   48.3     Diversified Emerging Mkts.    -5.3
      Small-cap Blend             48.0     Japan                         -4.1
      
      All data are as of market close Wednesday, Apr. 15, 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 Apr. 14. 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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