Market Dips Present 'Buy' Opportunities

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Investors dedicated enough to track the zigs and zags of a volatile stock market on a daily basis can be rewarded with chances to buy quality stocks at bargain prices.

Take Abacus Direct. The high-flying stock of this cooperative database manager experienced a three-week downturn and dipped below $40 per share July 28 before beginning a climb back the next day. Abacus' recent fate has been a function of the market more than the company itself.

"The dip was pretty broad-based across the marketing services sector,'' said Salomon Smith Barney analyst Janet Del Giudice. "The first half for Abacus is its toughest half, and it has beat estimates every quarter but once during the second quarter. Overall, we're positive on the company.''

American Business Information, which has changed its ticker symbol to IUSAB to reflect a name change to InfoUSA, also was down more than 20 percent in the last month.

Instead of regretting that they didn't buy soaring Internet stocks like America Online or last year when they were still affordable, investors might want to investigate what is going on at MicroWarehouse. The recent spinoff of the online auction business, uBid, by competitor Creative Computers has the market taking a closer look at the potential of MicroWarehouse's own online service for closeout and refurbished computer products,

"We believe that the company's rapidly growing e-commerce business is not at all reflected in the current stock price,'' wrote Nationsbanc Montgomery Securities in a July 7 report reiterating its buy rating. "The Internet is a logical extension of the company's direct catalog business.''

Portfolio Value: If $1,000 had been invested in each of these companies at the beginning of the year - for newly public companies when the stock first closed -- the value would be $103,701 an increase of 3.7 percent.

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