What a day. I didn't enjoy it when I glanced at my brokerage account to see a sea of red -- with the exception of Fairfax Financial (FFH/NYSE). But I WOULD have voted "no" on the bailout if I was in the House of Representatives.
It's late and I'm dog-tired. So I'll just make a few random thoughts:
- Anyone who sold a stock or stock mutual fund today was a fool. This was either a panic or semi-panic and you don't need to be in that crowd if you're patient.
- The media really needs to start reporting Dow and broad market drops in terms of percentages, and not points. That won't sound as dramatic, but is closer to the objective truth the journalists claim to pursue.
- The individuals most at-risk here are retail investors on the verge of retirement. Hopefully as they've approached retirement they've limited their equity exposure -- but some have probably not done the prudent thing. (And that is their responsibility, not the taxpayers.)
- Flipping the channels tonight I caught Ben Stein on Larry King on CNN. He pointed out that long-term investors in stocks who won't be touching the money for 10 years will be fine. I agree, and think it won't take that long. But remember, what Ben Stein and Controlled Greed say plus two bucks will buy you a grande coffee in Starbucks.
- Always remember that TV anchors don't hold their positions because they're wise or particularly intelligent. Some may be, but most aren't. They have their jobs because they have a certain look, have voices suitable for broadcast audio, and can read prompters without looking like they're reading prompters. That's true when they cover their normal beats of politics or (increasingly) pop culture. And it's especially true when they move over to stock markets. In the UK, the BBC calls these people what they are: news presenters.
Like clockwork, right after posting about 3i Group PLC it fell more than 12% in London Monday. In times like these there are good bargains out there. But only buy if you have a long-term horizon -- what is cheap now could be much, much cheaper tomorrow.