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MONEY SMALL INVESTOR INDEX: INVESTORS BUY AS JAPANESE STOCKS PLUNGE

 MONEY SMALL INVESTOR INDEX: INVESTORS BUY AS JAPANESE STOCKS PLUNGE
 /ADVANCE/NEW YORK, Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tokyo stock market hit a six-and-a-half-year low last week, prompting the Japanese government to take action to stop the slide. But bargain-hunting small investors on this side of the Pacific weren't shaken: in hopes of cashing in on an eventual rebound in Japanese stocks, they have recently poured millions of dollars into mutual funds that invest exclusively in Japan, according to data gathered for Money Magazine's Small Investor Index.
 For instance, the $353 million Scudder Japan Fund has taken in $121 million from customers in the last five months, up from $16 million during the same period in 1991, despite a 23 percent drop in the fund's share price this year. Similarly, the $84 million G.T. Japan Growth fund has enjoyed a net cash inflow of $44 million since April, even though shares in the fund have lost 25 percent of their value in 1992.
 Since the Nikkei index of Japanese stocks peaked at 38,915 in December 1989, weakness in the Japanese economy and banking system have helped drive the index down by more than 60 percent. In an effort to restore confidence in the market, the Japanese government last week relaxed banking regulations that had forced financial institutions to dump stocks on the Tokyo exchange.
 Wall Street analysts warn that Japanese stocks could decline by another 20 percent over the next few months. But in the long run, they say, small investors' confidence in Japan will pay off. David Kenerson, co-manager of the Van Eck World Trends Fund in New York, says, "Once the Japanese economy recovers, the Nikkei index could easily double to 30,000 over the next five years."
 Last week, the Small Investor Index, which tracks the average individual's portfolio, gained $16 to $45,563. Stocks rose $1 and bonds gained $4. CDs and money funds contributed $11.
 This Last Year % Change from a
 Week Week Ago Week Ago Year ago
 103.98 103.94 96.21 +0.03% +8.08%
 Latest Changes for Each Asset
 % Change from a
 Category Index Week Ago Year Ago
 Stocks:
 NYSE 105.34 +0.19% +10.18%
 ASE/OTC 101.53 -0.55 +9.56
 Equity funds 103.10 -0.04 +8.37
 Bonds:
 Taxable Bonds 106.52 +0.45 +13.18
 Municipals 106.08 -0.92 +10.89
 Bond funds 106.44 +0.34 +12.66
 Cash:
 CDs 102.86 +0.07 +4.79
 MONEY FUNDS 102.29 +0.06 +3.95
 Other:
 Real estate 94.26 -0.56 -8.33
 Gold 90.07 +0.66 -11.12
 Dec. 27, 1991 equals 100
 Where Average Small Investors Have Their Money Now
 Current Year Ago Current Year Ago
 NYSE 22.27% 21.87% Bond funds 5.94% 4.76%
 ASE/OTC 7.03 6.91 CDs 15.27 18.73
 Equity funds 5.56 4.55 Money funds 24.16 22.31
 Taxable bonds 11.55 12.27 Real estate 0.79 0.77
 Municipals 6.93 7.28 Gold 0.51 0.56


Sources: Bank Rate Monitor, IBC/Donoghue's Money Fund Report, the Federal Reserve, Investment Company Institute, Lehman Bros., Lipper Analytical Services, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Capital International, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Prudential Asset Management, Standard & Poor's, Robert Stanger & Co., World Gold Council
 -0- 8/24/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: This material is also available in printable form from AP GraphicsNet and Access services for graphics and tables (under the file name MoneyIndex) and from PR Newswire for full text./
 /CONTACT: Jordan Goodman of MONEY, 212-522-3618, or Patti Straus of MONEY Public Relations, 212-522-2695/ CO: ST: IN: SU: ECO


SB -- NY051 -- 2207 08/21/92 14:35 EDT
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Date:Aug 21, 1992
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