Stock market drop triggers local investors’ anxieties

DOVER — Citing company compliance requirements, many local financial planners wouldn’t comment publicly on Monday about the stock market plunge, the biggest in nearly four years.

Surely, though, the planners confidentially were advising skittish clients concerned about their suddenly shrinking portfolios.

Monday brought more of the same as trading opened, but the Dow Jones industrial average’s initial drop of more than 1,000 points had been whittled to 130 down points by mid-day. But it wasn’t over.

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Trey Paradee

The Dow finished down 585 points Monday after a day of massive swings.

Among other factors, China’s economic slowdown and devalued currency caused jarring vibrations experienced across the world, analysts said.

Trey Paradee of Dover-based Paradee Financial, spoke generally on the turbulent market conditions, and said he’s received up to five times the amount of calls from clients seeking advice on what to do next.

The key to absorbing current market losses was ongoing diversification with more than just stocks, Mr. Paradee said. A balanced mix of bonds, cash, commodities such as gold and real estate could soften the blow of what’s clearly a financial downturn.

Instead of sticking with a “buy and hold” approach to riding out the market storm, Mr. Paradee advises to “buy and not forget.”

“Right now, there is an opportunity to reassess your investment allocation and make sure it is appropriate for your goals,” Mr. Paradee said.

The market will be back, however, despite uncertainty of where the bottom can drop to.

“This is not the end of the U.S. economy and certainly investing in the stock market is a long term proposition,” Mr. Paradee said.

“In general, a lot of Americans still feel good about the economy here and are willing to wait and let the overseas markets and economies work out whatever struggles they are experiencing.”

In addition to being a financial adviser, Mr. Paradee, D-Cheswold, serves in the Delaware House of Representatives.

The uncertainty dropped stock prices dramatically, affecting each individual investor in a different way, depending on age, retirement plans, portfolio choices and multiple variables.

“When it comes to investing, it’s personal for everyone,” Mr. Paradee said. “The majority of calls I receive are from people wanting to know how much they have been affected.”

Even with a heightened amount of client calls, Mr. Paradee said, “this has generated fewer calls than I expected. I don’t know if they have been desensitized to it or prepared for it. Clients have been through this before.”

The recent market struggles don’t come close to the panic and anguish in 2002 (post-9-11 recession) and 2008-09 (housing market collapse.).

“During the housing market crisis in 2008-09 people were saying ‘Oh my God, this is the end,’“ Mr. Paradee said.

“This event has not generated the same (serious) reaction.”

Again, the best way to make money in the stock market is to stay invested through its ups and downs, Mr. Paradee said.

“Investors who look at the stock market as a get-rich-quick proposition are the ones who get hurt the most,” he said.

While a Merill Lynch branch in Dover would not comment on the turmoil, a spokeswoman referred reporters to online advice at ml.com. Among Merill Lynch’s points was:

“Volatility has picked up as investors face a number of growing uncertainties — whether the downturn in commodity prices and weak economic activity in China are indicating a global growth slump, as well as when the Federal Reserve (Fed) will raise rates.

“While these uncertainties will likely keep volatility elevated, we don’t see this as a reason to panic and abandon equities.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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