Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Investors hang tight,
brokers say

Local firms say they saw no panic
selling during a down day

By Rick Daysog

The fear and trembling on Wall Street didn't lead to panic selling among local investors, according to local brokerage firms.

Despite an unprecedented 684.81-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday, Hawaii's three largest brokerages -- Morgan Stanley Inc., Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney Inc. -- said they were busier than usual but didn't receive a flood of sell orders.

"We didn't see mass selling," said Paul Loo, senior vice president and Hawaii branch manager for Morgan Stanley, the state's largest brokerage firm.

The Dow yesterday fell as much as 721.56 points in heavy intraday trading before closing at 8,920.70. The 684.81 point drop -- which represents about a 7.1 percent decline -- was the largest single-day point drop.

The decline came after the nation's stock markets had been closed for four days due to Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Ted Jung, senior vice president at Smith Barney, noted that sell volume was higher than normal yesterday but never hit panic levels.

"Anybody who was nervous on Tuesday was more nervous on Wednesday and were pulling their hair out by Friday," Jung said.

"On Monday, they're standing outside the door with their sell orders."

Loo said that Morgan Stanley received a couple of dozen calls yesterday from local customers worried about the economic impacts of Tuesday's terrorist attack.

While the initial calls were split between buy and sell orders, by the end of the day many were buying, Loo said.

Loo -- whose New York office was the largest tenant in the World Trade Center -- noted that one local institutional investor placed a 35,000-share buy order in a chemical- and waste-disposal company.

Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch said they spent much of last week calling local customers to inform them how they thought the markets would react to the disasters.

Brokers also went over personal financial plans with investors to stress the importance of financial diversification and warn them against making emotional decisions in an extremely volatile stock market.

"A lot of people have held fast and are staying put," said George Kaluhiokalani, sales manager at Merrill Lynch.

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