Since opening shop in 1982, Phoenix Balanced Fund in Greenfield, Mass., has averaged 22 percent total returns annually. Impressively, this performance has been achieved with lower levels of risk than most funds. Portfolio manager Patricia Brennan even managed to escape the crash unscathed, achieving a 9.69 percent gain for all of '87. Recent favorites: Merck, Sara Lee, Warner-Lambert, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Unisys, Imperial Chemical.
- "Savings & loan stocks have been depressed for some time and probably will remain so until the early phase of the next bull market," notes Taking Stock (1400 Temple Building, Rochester, N.Y. 14604). "There are a dozen or so exceptionally high-quality S&Ls selling at very low multiples, and at large discounts to book value. Our four selections: Coast, Dime of Connecticut, Home Federal, Rochester Community Savings. All are low-risk, high-profit-potential choices."- Historically, the P.E.s of emerging growth stocks have been much higher than that of the blue chips, often double or triple. Recently, though, both multiples have been the same, making small stocks look cheap by historical standards. Says Fortune magazine: "The best bets among them are recession-resistant companies with strong balance sheets, lots of cash flow and competitive advantages within their industries. Like: Acuson, Avemco, Medco Containment Services, Stryker."
- Stock investors looking to ensure themselves against another Bloody Monday might consider buying put options on the Standard & Poor's 500 for their portfolios, suggests Forbes' Stanley Angrist. "Such options provide the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying S&P 500 futures contract short at the option strike price any time until the option expires. If the market doesn't decline, you'll still enjoy any gains your portfolio experiences, less the cash you put down for the put."
- Erik Hansen, author of "Low-Risk Trading Strategies in Silver & Gold" (P.O. Box 97, Ester, Ark. 99725), is enthusiastic about both precious metals. "Let's face it, it's too late to get back to a balanced budget, because we're paying interest on a national debt of almost $2.3 trillion. That interest alone comprises 40 percent of the total budget. I'm very bullish on gold, but I still think silver will be a better performer, long term."
- Partnership sales nearly doubled in 1987, says The Stanger Register (1129 Broad St., Shrewsbury, N.J. 07702). "Most action was in income funds in already discovered oil and gas wells, which allow investors to avoid drilling risks. Some small sponsors, such as Red Eagle, Merrico and Parker & Parsley, raise less money and concentrate on specific geographic regions about which they are knowledgeable. Lack of diversification may mean higher risk, but it also promises greater potential rewards."
- Sidney Pulitzer, editor of The Advance Planning Letter, put a freeze on buying stocks in April 1987. So he was 65 percent out of the market before the crash. Now he's unabashedly bullish. "This downturn went beyond normal because of internal forces - computerized trading, a correction was overdue and Fed policy was too tight. Now we've been so inundated with bearish news that anyone who hasn't sold already probably won't."
Investor's Notebook reflects the opinions of professionals. It does not endorse specific investments, and no endorsement is implied or should be inferred. For more information, contact the individual firms cited. (C) UniversaL Press Syndicate 4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112