Halo Effect

The bull market at Sears

When Sears Roebuck & Co. acquired the brokerage house of Dean Witter Reynolds 13 months ago, the jeers from Wall Street could be heard as far away as Sears' Chicago headquarters. Old-line stockbrokers sniffed that well-heeled clients would not want to invest their savings with the same company that sold Craftsman power tools and Kenmore automatic washers. The giant retailer figured differently, and last July it opened Sears Financial Network outlets in eight of its 829 U.S. department stores to test the concept of selling "stocks and socks."

Though nobody is willing to pronounce the experiment a runaway...

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