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Wall Street professionals, who were wondering how...

Wall Street professionals, who were wondering how strong the recent market really is, now know that the double whammy of higher inflation and a rise in both the prime and discount rates is enough to make the market pause and take note of reality, according to Irving Katz, director of research for Thomas Green/San Diego Securities.

Only a handful of San Diego stocks escaped the downturn.

La Jolla Bancorp continued to move up, gaining $.75 and hitting a new high of $9.50 as investors continue to believe that the county’s smaller banks are takeover targets.

Western Health Plans was the largest percentage gainer of the week, moving up $.4375 to $1 after Mercy Services Corp., an affiliate of San Diego’s Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, announced it would invest as much as $15 million to salvage the health-care plan operator. Mercy Services could eventually own 45% of Western’s stock.

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Price Co., which on Monday explained technical details of its preferred stock dividend, moved up $.75, largely on a favorable mention in the latest Fortune magazine.

The downside for San Diego stocks was primarily populated by interest-sensitive stocks, with Home Federal Savings & Loan down $1.50, Imperial Corp. of America down $.875 and Great American First Savings Bank down $.25.

San Diego Gas & Electric, which is preparing its proxy statement for an April shareholder meeting on its merger with Southern California Edison, was down $.375.

Fisher Scientific dropped $1.75 as it reported lower fourth-quarter earnings than expected--$.27, down from $.30 the previous year, Katz said. The poor fourth quarter resulted in yearly earnings of $l.04. Henley Group, which controls more than 80% of Fisher, likewise dropped $1.75.

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Maxwell Laboratories was down $.75 after reporting disappointing second-quarter earnings of $.20, versus $.25 for the corresponding quarter the previous year.

Other stocks moving down included Cohu, down $1.625, and Cubic, down $1.125, after recent run-ups.

Shareholders of Langley who are still trying to find the quote for their stock should contact St. Catherine, Ontario-based Fleet Aerospace. Langley certificates should have been exchanged for Fleet Aerospace common and preferred, Katz said.


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