EVEN IN CRISIS, HISTORY TEACHES US MARKETS CAN ENDURE
By DOLORES KONG
The Boston Globe
After terrorists crashed two jetliners into New York's
World Trade Center, killing countless thousands and
crippling the Financial District, human emotions have
run the gamut - fear, panic, despair, anger, hope -
and even greed.
"I'm going to lose money in the stock market" and "I'm
glad I'm in gold and oil" and "I'm selling when the
markets open" are among some of the comments I've
heard in the wake of the tragedy. But I'm sure those
who blurt out such statements value things other than
As the US stock market readies to open tomorrow for
the first time since the attacks, however, investors
need to remember that greed and fear are two emotions
that could hurt their portfolio.
In fact, federal regulators and financial institutions
are trying to reassure investors in a variety of ways,
and even suggesting that it's patriotic to stay put.
"We have every reason to maintain our confidence in
the US economy. No evil, no matter how unspeakable,
can destroy America's productive spirit. If anything,
this evil act strengthens our resolve to be the most
free, most vibrant economy in the world," said US
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill last week.
In turn, Hardwick Simmons, Nasdaq's chief executive,
said in an online statement that the reopening of the
Nasdaq market "is important and significant. A sign
that our great nation will not be intimidated. We will
conduct our affairs in the same way that we always do.
. . . The American capital markets are sound. Nasdaq
will be open."
But perhaps some of the most compelling evidence comes
from Charles Schwab, who says in an online "personal
letter" to clients of the brokerage firm he founded,
"History teaches us that panicky reactions in times of
crisis should be tempered with a solid knowledge of
market behavior. So, using the S&P 500, we can draw
some conclusions from the following examples:
"After the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the market sold
off for about 2 1/2 months but delivered a return of
30.1 percent in the following year.
"During the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, the
famous `13 Days' when a nuclear exchange seemed at
hand, the market sold off briefly but recovered fully
in only a few weeks.
"After Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the market sold
off for about four months but had recovered fully by
the following October, 10 months later."
IRS tax relief
The IRS has a heart.
All taxpayers directly affected by the terrorist
attacks, and all those who live in the declared
disaster areas of New York City or Arlington County,
Va., are getting some tax relief.
The Internal Revenue Service is giving an extra 300
days to file for affected taxpayers with original
filing deadlines between Sept. 11 and Nov. 30, and an
extra 120 days for those with extension deadlines
between those dates.
Individual taxpayers facing a Sept. 17 estimated tax
payment deadline may put that off and include the
amount with the final estimated payment for the 2001
tax year, due Jan. 15, 2002.
Corporate taxpayers facing an estimated tax payment
after Sept. 10 and before Jan. 15, 2002, may postpone
that until Jan. 15, 2002.
Taxpayers entitled to this relief include victims,
relief workers, and people whose workplace or tax
records are in one of the disaster areas.
Tax returns or estimated payments being filed under
this relief should include in red ink at the top:
"September 11, 2001 - Terrorist Attack." Other details
are spelled out in IRS Notice 2001-61, available at
The IRS concluded with these words: "The entire
Treasury family extends its prayers and sympathies to
the families, friends, government workers and others
affected by this attack."