Consequences of the Bailout Bust

Stocks are so cheap it's 'frightening,' strategist says.


Here's a take on the market from Tom Sowanick, chief investment strategist of Clearbrook Financial in Princeton, N.J. Excerpts:

What do you see as the consequences of the rejected bailout?

The consequences are exactly as they were described in advance. We're having a financial panic, and just had the worst day of equity performance since 1987. I don't think it can last very long, in part because the devastation that will occur to financial assets will force some sort of a different type of intervention—I'm not even sure what that would be. It could be the Federal Reserve buying stocks outright or lending outright to industrial companies, not just financial companies—opening the discount window to all companies if there's no resolution soon. How will that shake out for stocks?

Stocks are getting to the point where value isn't important. We've taken some of these companies down to levels that are so inexpensive, they're actually frightening. That's when people start to panic. Nobody cares about value in this marketplace, just about safety. Right now, owning a T-bill and earning 0.29 percent sounds pretty good. What advice do you have for investors?

Do some serious homework on where you're doing your banking, where you're doing your brokering. If you're an investor, you have to take a long-term view. Oftentimes, you're much better served to enter the markets when they're as chaotic as they are now and start to establish positions.