SIDNEY — While recent dire broadcast reports of plunging stock market numbers may have investors in a tizzy, local financial advisers seem to think the current fluctuations are not particularly unusual and nothing to be overly concerned about.
On Friday, the market dropped dramatically and then it fell even further on Monday. Although a slight bump up early Tuesday had people hoping the drops were an anomally, by the end of the day, numbers were low again.
What should people think of this roller-coaster ride?
“I think it’s very normal,” said Vance Stewart, financial adviser with Edward Jones in Sidney. “Most years, we see a pull-back of some kind. Usually, they don’t happen over a short span of time. This year it was a short span, so it’s news and people notice it.”
Steve Eiting, manager of Minster Bank Private Wealth Management in Minster agreed.
“Market volatility is nothing new: since 1900 the Dow Jones industrial average has averaged a decline of 10 percent or more about once a year,” he said.
Stewart listed three reasons for this week’s up-and-down bounces:
“The first is slower economic growth in China,” he said. “The second is the fed’s interest rate increases. The fed has talked about raising rates, but now, with what’s happened, they’re cautious. We know they’ll raise rates. We just don’t know when. And third is low oil prices. Prices are lower than they’ve been for six years.”
At some point, oil production will slow down, he added, and prices will rise.
Stewart predicts U.S. economic growth to slightly improve over the next year, by perhaps 2 1/2 to 3 percent. So does Eiting.
“The US economy appears to be growing, but not at the pace many would like to see. Unemployment is dropping, inflation is minimal, and valuations do not appear to be too extended. Europe seems to have recovered better than most expected, and has —at least for now — gotten past the Greece debt crisis. Japan’s markets are also improving and China, while slowing, is still growing at 5 to 7 percent,” he said.
Despite such reassurances, many people, especially retirees and those who are about to retire, fear they’ll see an erosion in their savings and pension funds. Both advisers suggested that investors should balance their portfolios to protect against major losses at times like these.
“We think that investors should have a long-term plan in place,” said Eiting. “After creating a plan, investors should know what they need to have invested in cash, bonds, and stocks. They should also have their short-term, mid-term, and long-term investments so that when market volatility does occur they do not have to sell their mid- and long-term investments while the market is down. Having a plan in place can give investors confidence. It also tends to help investors from making poor decisions based on emotion.”
“When people plan for retirement, what happens in the short term shouldn’t affect their long-term plan,” Stewart said.
Investors should also take the time to understand what they’re invested in, what stocks and bonds they own and why. They should not be afraid to ask questions of their advisers, even if the questions seem to be simple or silly ones.
And now might be a good time to make stock purchases.
“Whenever markets pull back, this is a good opportunity to get things working for you,” Stewart said. “It’s a good time to add to your plan.”
“If long-term investors were sitting on excess cash in their portfolios, this correction may give them an opportunity to put some of that cash to work,” Eiting said.
“Things are on sale right now,” Stewart said. “When there’s a sale at Walmart, everyone lines up outside. When there’s a sale in the market, everyone runs away.”
Apparently some people are taking advantage favorable prices. At press time, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P registers were all climbing upward again.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.