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What, No Air Conditioning?

Remember when roller skates on a plank made a perfectly respectable skateboard? Forget it. These days, the rad skateboarder can’t cross the street without a board made of space-age plastic, carbon wheels . . . and now, hubcaps.

A Yorba Linda company, Velocity Inc., is distributing packages of the plastic discs with florescent stickers. “They look hot as hell,” says Neil Caplin, president, claiming that over a two-day period three Southland skate stores sold 600 sets of four hubcaps at $4.50 a pack.

Will whitewalls be next?

A Coldspot in Sears’ Heart?

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Sears, Roebuck & Co. recently lowered prices on thousands of items in its stores amid a blizzard of publicity and advertising. But Sears, when it decided to raise prices on service calls, was a lot more shy.

Nary a peep has been heard from the nation’s largest retailer about its recent move to boost the price it charges for fixing Kenmores and other machines at customers’ homes by as much as $4 an hour. The hikes vary across the country.

In the Los Angeles area, a customer without a maintenance agreement can expect to shell out $52 an hour to have a washing machine repaired and up to $80 an hour for a home computer.

How will Sears let people now about the increase? “When you call for service you ask what the rate will be and they will tell you,” said a Sears spokesman.

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What Really Drives Winners

Ever wonder what people do with their money after they win contests?

Well, so did the Southern California Chevrolet Dealers Assn., which handed out $1,000 a day for the past two months to lucky winners who test drove Chevrolets. The group asked winners how they spent their money, but the answers weren’t always what Chevrolet expected.

While about a dozen winners said they used the money to help them buy new Chevrolets, William Truxal of Pomona said he split his prize with his wife--then bought himself his dream dog, a springer spaniel.

Elnora Oseguera of Los Angeles said she had no intention of buying a Chevy with her loot. “I just entered to see if I could win some money, and I did,” said Oseguera, who used the $1,000 to pay bills. But Paul Smith of San Bernardino really turned the tables on Chevrolet. The unemployed maintenance worker went out and bought a 1972 Oldsmobile.

Hardly Coasting to Profit

Investors who wanted to make a killing on new stock offerings in recent years were better off not buying issues brought to market by California-based investment banking firms.

That’s the finding of Forbes magazine, based on its ranking of the best investment banks from 1982 to 1987, measured by the performance of new stock issues they brought to market.

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The top California firm was Wedbush Securities (now called Wedbush Morgan Securities) of Los Angeles, placing 19th out of 56 firms ranked. Next best, at 30th, was Sutro & Co. of San Francisco, followed by Robertson Colman Stephens of San Francisco (36th) and Montgomery Securities of San Francisco (37th).

Hambrecht & Quist, a San Francisco firm known for its high-tech issues, finished a dismal 52nd, while Bateman Eichler, Hill Richards of Los Angeles stumbled in at 53th.

Why the poor performance? Hambrecht & Quist, for one, favored stocks with higher-than-average price-earnings ratios, Forbes said. Those stocks were overvalued and usually underperformed the market, the magazine said.


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