The world at large wondered how the stock market would perform on its first day of trading after being closed nearly a week. Fearing the worst, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates another half point today to stimulate investor confidence. Yet as the Dow Jones Industrials Average fell to 8921.20 and Nasdaq to 1579.70 by day's end, most financial planners found their clients relying one of investing's cardinal rules -- stay calm and dont make any impulsive decisions.
Advisers said that phone calls from clients wanting to sell stock were few and far between today. "We dont want to have any clients feed into a panic, so [weve gone] back and reminded them of what weve done previously with their investment policy statements," said Don Shymanski, a registered investment adviser with Fifth Third Bank in Evansville, Ind. "We have not had any calls to liquidate [assets] nor would we suggest that."
In order to maintain clients risk-return profiles, his firm uses passive rebalancing, in which a clients asset allocation is only changed if an asset class strays or deviates from its original intent.
In fact, whether it's because they see an opportunity to demonstrate their patriotism or to buy cheap stock, clients are starting to invest in equities. "If it continues to go low, I am going to be buying," said Nigel Taylor of Taylor & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., who blames institutional investors for creating any panic. "There are stocks that are going to begin to look attractive particularly in the defense sector. We dont intend to sell at all."
Jeffrey Schaefer, an adviser in Englewood, Colo., said he bought Treasury inflation protected securities, blue chips as well as bonds, to ward off hints of inflation.
"You dont sell unless you have a reason fundamentally," said Deborah Voso, of Voso Associates in Frederick, Md., such as paying off taxes or sending a child to college.
However, if a client really wants to get out of the market, planners said they will have to acquiesce. "I dont want to be the one who leans on them and forces them to take those risks," Schaefer said. "Its my job to help them get the best prices and move out at the appropriate time."
Voso said if she does get any calls for sells, figuring out why the client wants out is a top priority. If she senses fear, she said she'll try to talk the client out of making a rash decision.