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April 2005 Issue

It’s an open secret. After five years of wrestling witha a stingy stock market, a lot of investors feel torn. But I would hate to see you miss out on the superb opportunities for long-term growth that are waiting to be plucked in today’s market. I’m talking about a small, select group of blue chip stocks so cheap that you’ll want to hold them for years and years.

January 2005 Issue & Supplement

In this month’s visit, I’ll show you how to make the most of the opportunities, while avoiding the pitfalls. On the stock side of our portfolio, we’re concentrating ever more intently on low-risk names with high dividend yields—the ultimate badge of honor. I’ve got a new pick for you that has tripled its dividend in less than two years. That’s the kind of growth that will let you sing and dance through Wall Street’s periodic anxiety attacks.

CHANGING THE GUARD, PART II

Funny stuff. Today, the Federal Reserve gave Wall Streeters everything they could have asked for: interest rates left unchanged at a 45-year low, plus a promise to keep them low for a “considerable period.”

Instead of celebrating, traders threw a hissy fit and sold stocks (another great example of “buy the rumor, sell the news”). But not all stocks.

SHELL STILL SHARP?

From Nevada comes a subscriber with a pair of questions about Shell (NYSE: SC). Why isn’t it moving? Should we move on? Shell — like the oil group as a whole — has lagged the S&P 500 ever since the market took off last March. That’s routine in a sharply rising market. Traders eager for quick profits shift out of defensive, high-yielding issues like the oils and into spicier stuff (technology, for example).

STRAINS APPEAR

One by one, Wall Street’s loudest bears are giving up. This new bull market for stocks is overpowering the naysayers (grinding them to dust might be a more apt way to put it). But wait a minute. Isn’t the �capitulation of the bears� what usually happens just before the stock market fools everybody again — by dropping with a painful jerk?

WHAT A DAY!

Yesterday’s stock market rally was a barnburner. Most commentators today are focusing on the big point gains in the popular indexes, but I’m more impressed with the breadth of the advance.

A SUBTLE MOOD SHIFT

Maybe it’s just because a lot of traders are out on vacation. But the stock market has acted surprisingly listless of late.

Last spring, it seemed nothing could hold the market back. Stocks went up on any scrap of good news, and even bad news triggered only the briefest selling squalls.

SHELL: FILL 'ER UP!

I’m very cautious in my stock buying these days. I don’t like the sharp run-up in bond yields, coming as it has so early in this on-again, off-again economic recovery. I’m not thrilled with the stock market’s internals right now, either. The NYSE advance/decline line and the new highs/new lows figures have sagged in recent weeks, even as the market indexes have continued to look fairly chipper.

SHELL: FILL ‘ER UP!

I’m very cautious in my stock buying these days. I don’t like the sharp run-up in bond yields, coming as it has so early in this on-again, off-again economic recovery. I’m not thrilled with the stock market’s internals right now, either. The NYSE advance/decline line and the new highs/new lows figures have sagged in recent weeks, even as the market indexes have continued to look fairly chipper.

THE BOND ROUT

An event of historic significance is unfolding before our eyes — and I’m not talking about the chase for Saddam Hussein. Prices for Treasury bonds have crashed in the last six weeks. Since mid-June, the yield on the benchmark 10-year T-note has soared almost 40%, the biggest rise in such a short period since the great bull market for bonds began in 1981.