A Modest Proposal

The latest stock market downturn that investors encountered isn’t stopping “Wall Street Week” television host Louis Rukeyser in his efforts to sign up people for his investment newsletter and his Wall Street Club.

In a four-page letter being mailed to potential subscribers, Rukeyser declares that he’s bullish on the market and on the economy, advising people not to listen to “the Fearful Freddies who suggest you avoid an occasional strikeout by sitting out the game.”

Rukeyser boasts that his publisher is “the most successful financial newsletter publisher in history” thanks to him, and goes on to offer three issues of his newsletter free, asking the question: “What has possessed me to give away free issues of my valuable newsletter?”

One answer is that after three months, he invites you to join his club and get his newsletter at $4 a month.

Rukeyser warns in the letter that “the offer of three free issues with no obligation is strictly a marketing experiment and may not be repeated.”


He Should Have Listened

How does one of the “financial gurus” of Los Angeles suggest that people steer clear of the financial pitfalls in the 1990s?

Try this:

* ‘For the next few years, bond investors need to be very careful.”

* Scrutinize money-market funds for derivatives, those risky financial investments that can play havoc with your nest egg.

* And, most important: “There are a lot of land mines out there. We have reached the point where it’s no longer possible to make money automatically.”

The tips were from Beverly Hills money manger Jay Goldinger, who now finds himself under scrutiny after having lost as much as $80 million of his investors’ money--some of that in risky derivatives. He has closed his firm amid investigations by regulators.

The advice was contained in an October 1994 Los Angeles Magazine opening an investment derby that ran for six months through early 1995.

It pitted “three of L.A.'s top finance gurus"--including Goldinger--against one another. The three were asked to design “fantasy portfolios” showing how they would invest $25,000 over six months.

At the end for the six months, Goldinger finished last, with a 3.5% increase over the period.

Indeed, his fantasy portfolio was in the red heading into the sixth month of the contest but was nudged into the black thanks to a last-minute rally in the bond market and a surge in the price of the stock of a slot machine and video game equipment maker he had picked.

Checks and Balances

Is the price right for a canceled check signed by game show host Bob Barker?

An Albuquerque company is selling checks signed by celebrities, including ones from Barker. His price is $15 for one check, three for $39.

That doesn’t rate with former “Batman” star Adam West, whose checks draw $25 for one, or three for $54.

On the higher end is the late Dean Martin, whose checks sell for $35 each, or three for $99.