Did you feel the fear sweeping Wall Street on Friday as the Dow industrials were crashing 665.75 points? It was terrible -- why, the Dow hasn't been this low since way, way back on Jan. 10.
Yep, if you're worried about Friday's losses, just check the record books. All we did was give up 21 whole days of Dow gains.
That's why I managed to stay calm and resolute in the face of the Dow's "crash." As the market was falling, I did what I had to do. I made a chai latte.
I didn't buy or sell anything, because while Friday's selloff represented the Dow's sixth-worst one-day point drop ever, the blue chips only fell 2.54% in percentage terms. To put that in perspective, that's about as painful for investors as gas prices rising about 7 cents from Friday's $2.62-a-gallon U.S. average would be for drivers.
Would you sell your car -- or conversely, run out and buy a new fuel-efficient one -- if that happened? I wouldn't, nor did I make any changes to my portfolio on Friday. Call me if we fall 25.4% instead of 2.54% and we'll talk.
I checked with some market veterans and they're not especially worried about Friday's pullback, either.
"If you're freaking out about a 2.5% decline after about a 30%-plus return [over the past year or so], then you probably shouldn't have been in equities," said Lew Piantedosi, director of growth equity at financial giant Eaton Vance. "It's a little hiccup, really."
"Good news on the economy used to be bad news for the markets throughout my whole career, because good news for the economy could mean the Federal Reserve could be raising rates," he said. "We got away from that because we've been in this low-interest-rate environment for a decade. But now that's changing again."
Piantedosi's advice on what to do from here is pretty simple. "It's always about the long term," he said. "Find good companies that are growing their cash flows, that are in good businesses and that are well run. Then buy 'em, hold 'em and own 'em. Don't trade 'em."
Even my colleague Skip Raschke, who actively trades options (and writes about his picks for our Real Money Pro premium site), didn't have any knee-jerk reaction to Friday's selloff. After all, he's been in the business for 43 years and has seen it all.
"I'm not panicking," Raschke told me after Friday's close. "I want to see the last guy to sell. Then I'm coming back in on the buy side."
Now what with these markets? TheStreet's Executive Editor Brian Sozzi and reporter Kinsey Grant discuss.
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