To talk about stocks so soon after this disaster will be considered wrong by many, and I don't blame anyone for feeling that way, but so many of you have asked for advice that I would be remiss not to offer my views on the subject.
So here goes: If the European markets are any indication, we are going to see severe disruptions in companies that are travel- and leisure-oriented come Monday. The airline stocks in Europe traded at 10-year lows on Friday.
I can imagine the same thing happening in our country on Monday. Insurance and defense stocks rallied, which, while suggesting a knee-jerk reaction, makes sense for the trading-inclined.Larry Kramer, a friend who edits CBS Marketwatch.com, has urged everyone to buy stocks on Monday to show the terrorists that they are not going to win. I agree with that sentiment. At the same time, I know that I have to be true to what I would do as a money manager, and I know that performance, not patriotism, is what I am paid to deliver. Patriotism is personal and financial decisions are personal. I cannot urge you do something that I would not think is good for you, and I recognize that any attempt to try to move the market in some direction, any direction, without the fundamentals, will not stand and could hurt you. That said, it would be fantastic if all the possible bullish factors would converge -- if the fundamentals would find their footing, if values were created by limited panic-selling, if buybacks and a Fed ease occur -- and a terrific, patriotic rally, ensued. Right now, from the looks of Europe, that's not how it's going to happen. But I would not be surprised if things worked out better in the U.S. than they did in Europe Friday.