We are determined to ourselves through our choices

More... This is important information for any investor-even someone who never ventures into the stock market. After three years of underestimating the economy's strength, in 1998 investors stopped gambling on a slow-growth scenario. Instead of purchasing shares of companies with steady and dependable profits, many investors turned to fast-growth companies in the technology and retail sectors, groups that generally do well in a fast-growing economy.




This is important information for any investor-even someone who never ventures into the stock market. If you and your spouse have $98,000 a year in combined income, you may think that you're in the 31 percent federal tax bracket. The reality is more complex: you pay a 31 percent federal income tax only on the last $1,100 you earn. In fact, your marginal tax rate is 31 percent, but most of your income is taxed at 15 percent or 28 percent.

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Seeking to understand requires consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage

The U.S. economy may not have to nosedive for stable-growth stocks to come back in vogue. A slight change in investors' perception could do the trick. The economy grew 3.8 percent in 1997 and 4.1 percent last year. Most Wall Street economists expect about 2.5 percent growth this year. Though this is a reasonable level by historical standards, it could be enough of a change to alarm investors. Chicago Fed president Michael Moskow refers to this possibility as the Sammy Sosa syndrome. "For years, Sammy Sosa hit 30 to 40 home runs, a good performance," Moskow said in a speech this January. "Last year, he hit 66-an extraordinary performance. If he hits 40 this year, some will say he had a bad year. It's a case of unrealistically high expectations." Food Comfort For Your Portfolio

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What's so special about a company that peddles cookies and aspirin? Regardless of whether the economy is booming, busting, or doing something in between, people get hungry and have headaches. At Walgreen stores, the product keeps moving off the shelves. Businesses that sell things people desire or need no matter how the economy is faring are known as stable-growth companies because they're able to deliver steady profit increases year after year. Although examples exist within many areas of commerce, Wall Street has traditionally defined stable-growth companies as those producing beverages, food, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco-staples that consumers keep buying in good times and bad. And here's another Wall Street tradition: Once a maker of one of these products starts showing dependable earnings growth, its stock often richly rewards investors who hold on for the long term. And there's the rub. In today's market, investors who seek stable-growth companies for their dependability and strong relative performance have to pay a premium for their shares. And when companies with high valuations fail to meet investors' expectations, their share prices can fall fast and hard. Consider what happened to Campbell Soup earlier this year: On January 11 the world's largest soupmaker announced that an unusually warm winter had slowed sales, sending Campbell shares down 13 percent in that day's session. To see just how much the market covets these stocks, look at two institutional indices of stable-growth companies. In early February, a Merrill Lynch portfolio of more than three dozen stable-growth stocks traded at 36 times earnings and about 11 times book value, or net worth. Morgan Stanley's index of 30 consumer-oriented stocks was valued at 30 times earnings and 6 times book. Or if you want to stay invested for income, you might consider a tax-exempt municipal bond fund instead of a taxable corporate bond fund. For superior long-term performance, shop the market for food, drug, and beverage stocks

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If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product is because the product probably threw too late

Throughout the history of capitalism employment generation has been powered by rapid growth in Industry. The reason is that ever since 1820, from when adequate data became available, productivity in industry has grown at three times the pace of productivity in the services sector. As a result one has needed three additional workers in the services sector to clear away and sell the product of one additional worker in industry. After three years of underestimating the economy's strength, in 1998 investors stopped gambling on a slow-growth scenario. Instead of purchasing shares of companies with steady and dependable profits, many investors turned to fast-growth companies in the technology and retail sectors, groups that generally do well in a fast-growing economy.

Real Time Economic Calendar provided by Investing.com.