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FIRST SHARE OPENS DOOR FOR 'SMALLEST' INVESTORS

 FIRST SHARE OPENS DOOR FOR 'SMALLEST' INVESTORS
 INDIANAPOLIS, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A "foot-in-the-door" method


of buying stocks in major U.S. corporations without brokers or brokerage fees has growing appeal for the small investor.
 Indianapolis-based First Share sees interest building in its low- cost method of acquiring a single share of stock in many of the nearly 900 companies with dividend reinvestment and stock purchase programs.
 "It's an economical way to gain an entry ownership share in some of America's top corporations," said Marty Mernitz, who manages First Share as a kind of investors' cooperative. "Many brokers simply don't want to bother with single-share purchases and, if they do, the commissions often exceed the price of the stock."
 After he acquires even a single share, an investor is permitted to pruchase more shares directly through most companies' cash investment plan without paying a commission.
 First Share doesn't sell stock but matches members seeking to buy a qualifying share in a company with members who own stock in that company. The members then negotiate directly for the purchase and sale, assisted by form agreements and procedure suggestions by First Share.
 Single shares of stock in more than 100 companies are available through First Share and the number is growing each week.
 "We find our members begin as small but very loyal shareholders and build positions from there," said Mernitz, a financial planner who with her lawyer-husband began First Share less than a year ago.
 The fledgling operation has grown almost entirely by referrals from its members yet receives an estimated 300 inquiries from interested investors each month. It targets an active membership of some 2,500 by year-end and 100,000 within five years.
 "The process of transferring shares directly between investors is not complicated and we find people are willing to assist others in beginning an investment program," explained Mernitz. "After all, someone else helped them when they bought their initial share of stock.
 "We're not broker bashers," said Mernitz. "We believe we're serving an investor group which has been discouraged from investing because of the proportionally high brokerage commissions associated with small stock purchases."
 Regular small investments using dividend reinvestment/direct purchase programs is one of the most effective ways to build a nest egg, said Mernitz, even when you start small. "A $1,000 stake in PepsiCo in 1965, for example, would be worth over $38,000 today if all dividends had been reinvested."
 First Share members pay a $12 annual membership fee and $2.50 for each "match" with another member.
 The organization also seeks corporate sponsorship for its program. Companies support the First Share idea because it offers a way for them to attract new shareholders from a group which has generally avoided stock investments. These investors are usually long-term investors, who also become loyal consumers of company products and services.
 More information about the single-share purchase plan is avialable by calling 800-683-0743 or by writing to First Share, 28 East 55 St., Indianapolis, IN 46220
 -0- 6/2/92
 /CONTACT: Marty Mernitz of First Share, 317-254-1550, or 800-683-0743/ CO: First Share ST: Indiana IN: FIN SU: PDT


CG -- CLFNS2 -- 5465 06/01/92 07:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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