Nancy Schreimann of Tarpon Springs succinctly describes her reaction to the latest bombshells from Wall Street: "It's kind of creepy."
Helen M. McKay, a 78-year-old widow from Pinellas Park, agrees: "It's pretty scary out there."
Tampa Bay investors said that in the wake of this weekend's news about the two faltering Wall Street giants, they are troubled about the state of the markets and the economy. Merrill Lynch is being sold, and Lehman Brothers is entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"I first thought about my mother-in-law, whose entire income is based on investments that my father-in-law, who is deceased, made. I just wondered about how that would affect her," said Debra King of St. Petersburg, who is self-employed.
King, 54, noted that Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the nation may be stuck in a "once-in-a-century event," and she said, "that's scary."
Ken Kastor, 72, of Seminole spoke to his Morgan Stanley broker on Monday, partly spurred on by this weekend's news. He moved some of his investments into more conservative options that are "not affected by this roller-coaster ride, up 200, down 100, and I think down 300 today."
The Dow ended the day down 504 points.
Roger Girson, 69, of Hernando in Citrus County, said he was concerned but not surprised by the woes of Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers.
"It just confirms my feelings about the economy in general. I feel it's in poor shape, and I feel it's going to get worse instead of better."
He has shifted some of his money into FDIC-insured investments such as CDs recently but is still leaving a good portion in mutual funds.
"I'm just going to count on the long run straightening it out, but I don't know how many years it'll take," Girson said.