LAST CALL: Want to know your financial future? It's all in thestars

Old-fashioned IR executives had better start looking over their

shoulders or, more specifically, up at the stars. There's something new

on the horizon.

Reuters recently reported that financial investors and analysts were

cruelly ignoring the lavish four-color annual reports and video tapes

that IR people spend hours (not to mention megabucks) developing to tout

publicly traded companies as great investments. Instead, they're relying

on the up-and-coming field of 'astroeconomics' to decide where their

hard-earned dollars should be invested.

In this made-up-sounding field, astrological cycles are studied to

provide investors with a read on the economic fortunes of a company,

currency, or stock market. There are even financial astrologers like

Henry Weingarten, director of the New York-based Astro Fund, who

incorporates astroeconomics in managing his clients' investments.

Weingarten confidently predicted to Reuters that at least 10% of

professional fund managers are using astrology, often as a confirmation

or supplemental tool, to help make their decisions.

And it's serious enough stuff that Goldman Sachs even commissioned a

study trying to ascertain a link on how the solar eclipse impacted the

financial market in August 1999.

Qorvis Communications' Esther Smith is not one to readily relegate

astroeconomics to fodder for the staff writers of Leno or, for that

matter, Last Call, given how some people make their investment

decisions. 'When you consider how many people use the dart board system

to select their stocks, astroeconomics probably has a lot more thought

going into it,' she reasoned.

Frankly, it sounds like a load of crystal balls to us.

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