At the heart of Glassman and Hassett's argument is the idea that stocks have been undervalued for decades and that, for the next few years, investors can expect a dramatic one-time upward adjustment in stock prices. Why? While Wall Street has focused on valuation measures such as P/E ratios, it has virtually ignored how stocks can work as cash engines (the good ones, at least). The authors cite example after example of the growth in dividend income for stocks and how it has consistently beaten the annual payouts of long-term Treasury bonds. One example they cite is Exxon, which you could have bought in 1977 for about $6 when it was paying a dividend of 37 cents, or about 6 percent a share. Twenty years later, the dividend had grown to $1.63 or 27 percent of your initial $6 investment. Compare two $1,000 investments over 20 years in Exxon and 7.5 percent Treasury bonds: payments from the T-bonds would amount to $1,500; the Exxon dividends would add up to $3,585--not to mention that shares in Exxon went from $6 to $61 during that same period. To get to their target of 36,000, the authors project dividend growth of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow and apply a valuation measure that they call PRP ("perfectly reasonable price"). Many will dismiss this kind of thinking as wishful, but they're probably the same Chicken Littles who have been calling the market overpriced for years (think back to January 1993, when the Dow was hovering around 3,300).
In addition to making their case for undervalued stocks, the authors toss off some good investment advice about stock picking, portfolio allocation, and buying mutual funds, and they go to great pains not to bulldoze readers with investing and economic jargon. As you might expect, Glassman, an investing columnist for the Washington Post, and Hassett, a former senior economist with the Federal Reserve, are firmly in the buy-and-hold camp, and make the case for working with a full-service broker as a check against churning, something that's all too easy to do when trading over the Internet. This book is sure to rile some, but no matter where you think stock prices are headed, Dow 36,000 is a provocative read that belongs on the bookshelf of any thoughtful investor. Who knows? We may come to think of these guys as value investors on steroids. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.