Investors say 10,000 Dow is just another day at the market
by Torie Knight
STAFF WRITER

    Buddy Brady of Upshur County used to sit at the breakfast table with a newspaper in his hand reading the stocks. He watched his investments closely. As time went on and he became more involved in stocks, Brady stopped reading the lists every day. He knows that some days the numbers are up and some days the numbers are down.
    So when the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 184.54 points Monday, settling past the 10,000 milestone mark at 10,006.78, Brady didn’t get too excited. “Everyone counts it as historical,” Brady said.
    It may not have caused much excitement for him, but Brady knows it is good news for the New York Stock Exchange. He doesn’t, however, expect the Dow to stay above 10,000. Within the first half-hour of trading Tuesday, the Dow fell to 9,883.85. It closed at 9,913.26 Tuesday.
    Below 10,000 doesn’t matter. What does matter, say local investors, is a strong economy, low interest rates, low inflation and a growing fascination with technology. They credit all of those as reasons why Wall Street finally rallied past 10,000.
Todd Fulks, an investment representative with Edward Jones in Clarksburg, said the race to 10,000 is just part of a decade of a rising Dow average. In July 1990, the market was at 3,000. “The stock market has been a good place to invest your money,” Fulks said. More dollars, more investors and more milestones sum up the decade.
    About 70 million Americans participate directly in equities and another 130 million participate indirectly.
Brady, Fulks and Darrell Moorhead join those millions.
    Moorhead serves as branch manager of Ferris, Baker and Watts in Clarksburg. He believes a focus on technology, corporate growth and stability helped the market reach so many milestones so quickly.
    Companies like McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Disney and AT&T are examples of firms that continue to grow and prove to be good investments, Moorhead said.
That’s good news for stock holders. A few years ago, AT&T stock sold for $35 a share. Now it is around $80 a share.
“Much of this growth is rapid and probably technology driven,” Moorhead said.
    Moorhead agrees with Brady and Fulks that a high number one day doesn’t guarantee anything the next day. In the overall scheme of things, a 10,000 average doesn’t mean much for day-to-day trading, Moorhead said. “The stock market is a buy-low, sell-high business,” he said. “It’s two steps forward and one step back.”
    The Dow measures the value of 30 of America’s corporate icons, companies with a combined market value of more than $2.5 trillion, or about one-fifth of the approximately $12 trillion value of all U.S. stocks.



Masked robber holds up McDonald’s
by James Fisher
STAFF WRITER

    Bridgeport Police say a man who robbed the McDonald’s restaurant on U.S. Route 50 Monday night was discovered waiting in the men’s restroom by an employee and may have committed the robbery before he was ready.
    An employee preparing to close for the night was cleaning the restrooms and surprised the robber, who was hiding in the men’s restroom about 10:20 p.m., said Detective Carl Springer. The man was wearing a black ski mask and forced the employee to the front of the store after a brief scuffle, Springer said.
    The robber, who employees described as very polite and courteous, herded the five or six employees into the back office and emptied the contents of the safe into a bag he had brought with him. “He had either done this before or he was familiar with the layout of how it was done,” Springer said.
    Springer said there was no evidence the robber had a gun, but employees told police he kept his hand in his pocket, implying there was a weapon. The robber made no threats and did not brandish a weapon at any time, Springer said.
Police did not disclose the amount of money taken, but Springer said that because it was the end of the day’s  business, it was probably substantial. The robber fled through the rear door of the restaurant, he said, and left the area in an unknown direction.
    A dark-colored car seen in the rear of the parking lot may be connected with the case, he said. Police are searching for the car and the two men inside to question them as either accomplices or witnesses to the robbery.
    The robber is described as being about 6 feet tall with a thin to medium build and was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, navy blue sweatpants and brown boots.
    Both Springer and Clarksburg police say there is no indication the robbery was connected with several break-ins that occurred Monday night in Clarksburg. “Armed robberies and B&Es don’t normally run hand-in-hand,” Springer said. “Robberies tend to be crimes of opportunity. They’re either broke or they need drugs.”
    Springer said about 90 percent of robberies are drug-related, although police do not know if Monday’s robbery is drug-related.
    Springer said he has been in contact with Clarksburg officers and will share what information he has with other area officers at the next investigator’s meeting.



State gives $5.4M for
schools
by Gail Marsh
STAFF WRITER

    Schools in both Harrison and Randolph counties will benefit from the latest round of funds handed out by the State School Building Authority.
    The authority on Monday allocated $5.4 million for school renovations in 14 counties, with eight counties expected to come up with $1.17 million in matching funds.
    Harrison County received $500,000 to pay for a new heating and ventilation system for Lumberport Elementary School. The county school system will probably add $75,000 to the project, according to William Ashcraft, assistant superintendent of schools.
    “This is something we’ve been planning on for a while, so the design work is already done. We hope to have it out for bid by June, with the work to start later in the summer,” Ashcraft said. The school may also get air conditioning if the bids come in as expected, Ashcraft said.
    The red brick school, which is more than 50 years old, presently relies on the original steam heating system. Norman Vanmeter, principal of Lumberport Elementary’s 340 students, said the heating system has been reliable but sometimes hard to regulate.
    “We’ve done fairly well with it, and our system would be up and working when newer schools were having problems. But we have just one thermostat on the top floor, so sometimes we’ve had too much heat,” Vanmeter said.
    The School Building Authority also gave $150,000 to Randolph County to replace the windows at Elkins Middle School. The school building, which houses 750 students in grades six through eight, was built in 1956 and still has its original windows. “We’re really excited about this,” said Glen Karlen, Randolph County superintendent of schools. “The middle school is a good, solid building, but this will make a tremendous improvement,” he said.
    Karlen said the school board will put bids out in the next couple of weeks, with the project to take place during the summer.
    The School Building Authority awards about $5 million every year on renovation projects. This year the authority had some interest earnings and about $109,000 left over from similar projects funded in previous years, according Clacy Williams, director.
    The money will also pay for projects in Putnam, Cabell, Marion, Hardy, Raleigh, Greenbrier, Pleasants, Braxton, Webster, Mercer, Berkeley and Mingo counties.



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