ST LOUIS -- It was six months after the October 1987 stock market crash when Benjamin Edwards 3d, the patrician chairman of A.G. Edwards & Sons, got a lesson in investing from three farmers.

Still shell-shocked by the plunge in the market, the firm was advising its clients to seek refuge in certificates of deposits. Curious about their thoughts, Mr. Edwards polled the trio about their investment strategy during a visit to the firm's Terre Haute, Ind., office.

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