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"We're down to splitting infinitives. "

---House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Tex.), observing that a deal on IMF funding is imminentEDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top

A FAMOUS BEAR SEES HONEY AHEAD

REMEMBER ELAINE GARZARELLI? Two years ago, the investment strategist--who made her name by turning bearish a month before the 1987 crash--yelled "sell!" at Dow 5400. Six months later and 1200 points higher, she turned bullish. But too late: Her bad call took Garzarelli out of the guru game. Market mavens and the media chose Abby Joseph Cohen of Goldman Sachs and Ralph Acampora of Prudential Securities as their favored seers.

Now, the onetime Lehman Brothers superstar is telling clients to load up. The indicators she watches are 75% positive: "That's what you see at market bottoms," Garzarelli says. In fact, those indicators are at their most bullish since 1994, when the Dow was below 4000.

Garzarelli predicts deflationary forces will push interest rates lower and continue to depress corporate earnings. Still, she says, pressure on profits will lift during 1999's third quarter. Anticipating that, the market will rally. Garzarelli's goal: 1400 on the S&P 500, or 11,300 on the Dow Jones, within 12 to 18 months. Cohen, meanwhile, has forecast 1200 to 1250 for the S&P in 1999; the bearish Acampora points to Dow 6700. If Garzarelli proves more on target, her word may once again move markets.EDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top

THE FREE LUNCH FROM BLOOMBERG PETERS OUT

JOURNALISTS ARE RENOWNED for swarming freebie buffets. Imagine learning, then, that one of their longest-running free lunches--served by Bloomberg--is coming to an end. Since 1990, the company has been feeding newspapers and magazines its data and news gratis, provided the outlets credit Bloomberg.

The move helped CEO Michael Bloomberg build a brand name, which proved invaluable for pushing his main product, the $1,225-a-month data terminal that 100,000 financial-industry types now use. That's up from 10,000 users eight years ago. So even though the move would earn only $3 million a year if all the media organizations, including BUSINESS WEEK, paid up, the 56-year-old media mogul wants a message to get out. "We're the news wire of record in the U.S.," Bloomberg says. "Let's then charge and show it."

Media outlets are pondering whether to cough up the $750 to $2,000 monthly fee. This may be a chance for Bridge Information Systems, which is offering its data free. But some users can't let go. "We're hooked," says George Gombossy, Hartford Courant business editor . Now, it's Mike Bloomberg's job to start reeling them in.EDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top

DOUBLE VIAGRA WITH NUTS, PLEASE

AH, AMORE! The country famed for Latin lovers and gondolas, Chianti and Sophia Loren has added something new to its passion playlist: Viagra gelato.

First things first: There's no Viagra in it. The ice-cream flavors of neon-blue "Viagra Man" and hot-pink "Viagra Lady" merely pay homage to the drug. The gelato is made with natural coloring and leaves a cinnamon aftertaste. Entrepreneurs Mirko and Marco Mariotti say their dad got the idea just before opening Zio Ciro ice cream shop off Rome's Piazza Navona. Now, the brothers plan a shop near the Pantheon, and they hope to market the ice cream elsewhere in the city.

Meanwhile, the gelato is attracting customers--and curious stares. "I'm intrigued to try it, but I don't want to take a gamble," said Darren Kennelly, on vacation from London. His wife's only comment was that she found the ice cream's color a turn-off. No matter. Gelato lovers, says Mirko Mariotti, have been scooping the stuff up, though "Viagra Man" has outsold "Viagra Lady." Perhaps psychology is at work here, suggested the handsome Mariottis. Marco: "One woman tried Viagra Lady and jumped on my brother." Mirko: "That was before she tried it."EDITED BY JOAN OLECKReturn to top


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