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Area brokers advise investors to stay calm as market rebounds

Economy brightens slightly

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Following a week of record lows, the stock market enjoyed a mild upswing Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 8,603.86, up 368 points from Friday, and the NASDAQ closed at 1,499.40 points, an increase of more than 5 percent.

The Sept. 11 destruction of the World Trade Center closed Wall Street for four days, and when it reopened, stock prices plummeted. Whether investors have panicked and staged a full-scale pullout of trading, and whether they should is the question.

"Absolutely not," said Edward Jones Investments representative Matt Streiff in Kenai. "There has been very little panic. There is no reason to abandon a well-laid-out strategy or a well-diversified portfolio."

Streiff said the advice he has given clients fits into his firm's conservative philosophy of investing: buy high quality companies and hold on to them.

Bob Whittenberg, a representative from Wells Fargo in Soldotna, said many of his clients actually are buying rather than selling.

"While we saw significant market events last week, most clients are investing or the long term," Whittenberg said. "We recommend buying quality companies with strong balance sheets."

Two examples of companies Whittenberg has suggested to his clients are Microsoft (ticker symbol MSFT) and Merck Pharmaceutical (MRK), selling at last recording at $52 and $63.99 per share, respectively.

"There's a tremendous buying side," Streiff said, suggesting that investors take advantage of current lower prices.

"Investors should buy high-quality companies to round out their portfolio."

Though it is not too late to find bargains as prices attempt to turn upward, Streiff cautions against trying to make a fast dollar. He said the chances of "get-rich-quick" opportunities are considerably lower.

"Especially after a crisis," he said. "The market is more volatile. I advise my clients to concentrate on making sound financial decisions to meet their long-term goals. Make sure not to put your grocery money in the market."

Whittenberg said, locally, the concern is oil prices. But oil prices will have to wait on more pressing issues.

"That depends on the outcome of military actions."



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