For investors who want to cash out of this bull market now but delay the capital gains tax, there are ways to freeze today's profit but not realize it until 1997.
The main technique is called "selling short against the box," which has now survived efforts by the Treasury to disallow it.
The investment firm of A.G. Edwards & Sons provides this example of how it works: You own 100 shares of a stock bought five years ago for $20 a share and that now trades at $50.
The $5,000 you would realize from selling it is enough to meet the personal need for which you invested the money in the first place, or you are simply convinced the stock can't go much higher. But you'd rather have the $3,000 taxable profit for 1997.