A story in the Monday edition of Washington Business on the Penny Stock Newsletter incorrectly listed the zip code. The correct zip code for the publication, in Columbia, Md., is 21045.
A Columbia, Md., entrepreneur, appealing to financial thrill-seekers -- speculators, invstors, gamblers and underdog-lovers -- premiered a biweekly tabloid, Penny Stock Newsletter, Aug. 1.
"People want to participate in the American economy. They want to gamble, speculate and invest, and they're always for the underdog," say Publisher Jerome M. Wenger.
On that premise, Wenger began his publishing venture with the intention of moving the stock market closer to the closet speculator with a few dollars to invest. Along with a little fame and a hint of success -- Wenger has about 800 subscribers, mainly through word-of-mouth -- the venture has confirmed Wenger's view that many more people would like to play the stock market than currently do.
Wenger's brainchild grew from his frustration over difficulties he encountered while seeking information on over-the-counter stocks selling for $5 or less, known in the trade as penny stocks. Spurred on by a minor investment in a $1 stock, Wenger set about researching his buy and realized that no publication directly addressed the booming market in "penny stocks." According to an analyst at the Philadelphia-based brokerage of E.W. Smith & Co., the market in penny stocks is growing like never before wth many new issues being underwritten by Denver stock dealers.
"There are a lot of great buys out there under $5, and I want to make them legitimate," Wenger says. "I want people to be able to gather information on these issues intelligently.
"I find that when I've bought penny stocks I make a whole lot more percentage-wise than I do on the New York stock exchange," he added. Wenger does most of his own reporting and research at the Securities and Exchange Commission library and readily admits that the information published in Penny Stock is available to anyone with the time to collect it. "But I'm doing it," he said. The publication has "$500 to $1,000 worth" of investment counseling service in each issue, Wenger estimates.
Penny Stock's debut contained Wenger's goals: "This newsletter will cover the progress of a company, the years in business, the recent earnings per share and stock splits or dividends. It is my intention to chart the success or failure of the aftermarket on new issues by various brokerage houses." The aftermarket refers tothe performance of a stock in a public offering after investor interest has been demonstrated during limited offerings underwritten by brokers.
The Penny Stock Newsletter itself does not recommend stocks, but analysts and guest writer-brokers are encouraged to contribute both advice and are encouraged to contribute both advice and recommendations. Wenger pays his guest writers one shiny copper penny and a dinner for two "worth $25."
Regular features include "A penny for Your Thoughts" for guest columnists, "Penny Stocks of Yesterday," a calendar of new penny stock underwritings and "Insiders Activity," a listing of who's selling what on the corporateboards of companies issuing penny stocks.
Wenger is supported by an all part-time staff consisting of a secretary, advertising manager, a managing editor and an attorney.He is his own carrier, delivering the newsletter to outlets in Baltimore, the Sheraton Carlton Hotel in Washington, and mailing it to various dealers and brokers in hopes that the tabloid will filter down to "interested investors."
The new publisher calculates his total investment in getting the newsletter from the drawing board to the streets at about $3,000. Wenger is "proud" that his newsletter has already received a C.F.A., or certified financial advisor, status from the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is produced by Comprint Inc., a Gaithersburg-based press.
Even though the magazine is brand new, Wenger says production costs have been absorbed by advertising. Branches of the magazine, housing one advertising representative each, have opened in San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale and Arlington, Tex. Issues are flown from Columbia to the bay city. Wenger hopes to "bridge the mountain states with the west coast, the Denver area with eastern financial states."
Plans for expanding the tabloid from its current 12 pages to whatever the market will bear are under way. Wenger hopes eventually to have a minimum of 5,000 annual subscribers. At $45 a year for 24 issues, revenues excluding advertising profits should approximate $225,000. However, there are no public shares available in any denomination for Penny Stock Newsletter. Inquiries can be sent to P. O. Box 86, Columbia, Md., 20014.