A question of market psychology

Marketplace Staff Sep 29, 2008
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A question of market psychology

Marketplace Staff Sep 29, 2008
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Scott Jagow: We’re joined by Allan Sloan from Fortune Magazine. Allan, on this market psychology issue, what evidence do we have that this plan will improve investor confidence?

Allan Sloan: None whatsoever. Starting in the summer of 2007, the Fed and the Treasury have done any number of things that were designed to reassure the financial markets. And at last count, the special Fed lending programs had put into the world something over $400 billion, and the system was still messed up. So I wonder if another several hundred billion dollars going in will really make that much difference. I don’t know — it’s totally a question of confidence and psychology.

Jagow: All right, but let’s talk about the public’s psychology here. Do you think that this has forever changed people’s relationship with Wall Street, with their retirement security and all of that?

Sloan: Well, forever is not a word that really does well in America. I would say for the immediate future, however long that may be, this has to have eroded people’s confidence in Wall Street, confidence in the markets, confidence in the banks, confidence in their ability to somehow save for their own retirement when the best and brightest on Wall Street are on their hands and knees begging the government for help.

Jagow: Does this change your thinking about investing for your future?

Sloan: No. I’ve known for a long time that I’m pretty much on my own, and I’ve been extremely careful. My money market funds had no problems, my stocks have gotten whacked. But, you know, I didn’t own any of this bizarre financial things. I didn’t speculate on housing. I didn’t take out more of a mortgage than I could afford to invest in the stock market. And I’m going to continue to be prudent to the point of being boringly conservative.

Jagow: Well, that sounds like a good strategy right now. All right, Allan Sloan from Fortune Magazine. Thank you.

Sloan: You’re welcome, Scott.

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