Stock market slides again

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Messenger Intern

The markets lived up to the pessimist’s expectation Monday with a drop of 234 points and the DOW down 2.9 percent.

However, local consultants are saying it could have been worse.

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"[Monday] morning, the market went down, but it wasn’t as much as we anticipated. There were sell-offs, but it wasn’t as dramatic as people thought," said Jeff Cotton, a financial consultant at A.G. Edwards.

When the stock market has a bad Friday, investors usually have time to think about it over the weekend and that means the next Monday is even worse, Cotton said.

"We’ll probably keep seeing more of the same, but in the long term it will improve," he said.

According to a CNN-Time poll released Sunday, a third of those surveyed indicated that the recent declines in the stock market has caused them to consider delaying retirement.

According to Cotton, some of the local older investors who are nearing retirement have also expressed concern for their retirement, but most of them are familiar with the ups and downs of the stock market.

"They know this will turn around in the long term. For those who are planning on retiring soon, it is different for them, because they don’t have the time necessary to recover from potential loss.

"I don’t want to make a sweeping message that says everybody has to retire later. There is still that 50 percent of the market that is ok. There are people who are OK," he said.

There are many people who use stocks and bonds as a retirement plan and those people may have two grim choices to consider: retire with less or postpone retirement.

Cotton said that he foresees a return to fundamental investment principles, such as asset allocation, diversification and bonds. These things would help protect an investor’s portfolio from downside risk.

"In the 90s, there was a huge Bull Market. People thought they could buy anything and it would go up and that is not the case. It’s not just as easy to pick a stock and watch it rise anymore," Cotton said.

According to the Associated Press, many investors are selling and shifting their money to investment perceived as less risky, such as cash savings accounts or bonds.

Equity mutual funds lost $11.4 billion during the week ending July 17, the largest outflow this year, according to AMG Data Services.