The terror that shook New York, Washington, D.C., and the nation is something none of us will soon forget. It is life-changing -- in both immediate and lasting ways that we don't yet completely understand. In the next several days, as the immediate shock and trauma give way to the reality of a global clock that continues to tick, citizen-investors will again turn a portion of their focus to the financial markets. While it seems so inconsequential, the return to a daily routine may prove therapeutic -- an assurance that some sort of normalcy will eventually return to our communities and our world. This act of terror has implications for the financial markets. Given the probability of U.S. retaliation focused on the Middle East, the ramifications on energy and energy investors are significant.
lingering effects on consumer confidence, the impact of Tuesday's actions are more likely -- at least in the next several months -- to exacerbate the current slowdown in energy demand. "There could be a tremendous decrease in energy demand," Zonis says. "The American people will get nervous. They will postpone consumption and investment, postpone purchases and postpone travel." stock prices will likely go up," says Tom Petrie, co-founder of Petrie Parkman & Co., a Denver energy investment firm. However, any price surge would be an opportunity to lighten up on energy positions. "I also tell you I would sell into the rally," Petrie says. "History says whatever spikes you get are very short-lived. Typically, in the aftermath, demand craters, and you usually get lower lows." Energy traders agree. Scott Walters of Research Capital in Toronto says the fundamentals of the markets don't justify higher prices. "If you see a global response and the potential for temporary disruption, you will see a knee-jerk rally and you sell it," he says. "Right now, the fundamentals of oil and gas suggest you should sell the stocks, especially if the economic impacts of this disaster are as we expect." Disaster is an understatement, and this commentary in no way should diminish its magnitude. Every analyst I spoke to agrees. Says Petrie, "This is evilness in the extreme."