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ADVISERS' 1997 PREDICTIONS WERE ALL TOO CONSERVATIVE

Who would have thought the stock market would turn in its third straight year of 20 percent-plus gains?

Certainly none of our financial advisers did. None of the predictions they made a year ago came close to forecasting the strength of the market this year.

In a year when our analysts predicted that the market would fall by as much as 8 percent or rise by as much as 13 percent, the ever-optimistic Arthur A. Glick wins the prize for the best forecast for the fourth time in the last six years with his prediction that the Dow would end the year at 7,263. That's still far short of the Dow's current level of well over 7,700.

Thomas A. Quealy Jr., a vice president at Elias Asset Management, came in second with his prediction of 7,200, although he fell nearly 600 points short.

Ronald M. Roche's partner, James P. Julian, missed the mark by nearly 1,000 points with his forecast of 6,880, but he still finished third. Rosemary A. Ligotti was close behind at 6,850, while Thomas Ackerman trailed at 6,700.

Last year's two bears were particularly wide of the mark. Francis G. Leonard was off by more than 1,600 points with his prediction of 6,100 and Hy Scheff missed by nearly 1,900 points at 5,925.

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