Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Business

Small investors worry about plunging stock markets

NEW YORK — January's global selloff in stocks has left many small investors more puzzled than panicked, and unsure how to act.

They're holding on for now as prices tumble, but their anxiety is mounting. The number of small investors who say they feel "bearish" soared last week, according to a U.S. survey. Some stock funds have been hit with their biggest withdrawals since 2012.

If more people start selling, it would reverse a new and surprising trend in some of the world's biggest economies: individuals moving back into stocks after years of shunning them.

"I don't know what to do," says Ken Duska, a retiree in Mingo Junction, Ohio, who is sticking with his investment plan for now, though he's not sure that's wise.

Small investors around the world were on edge even before growing signs of a slowdown in China and plunging emerging-market currencies sent stocks sharply lower. They were fearful stocks had climbed too fast, and were overdue for a drop, after soaring by double-digit percentages in countries like the U.S., Japan and France in 2013. In the United States, some stock bulls had been bracing for a drop of 10 percent or more, known on Wall Street as a correction. That hasn't happened in more than two years.

Now, they have more cause to believe one may be at hand.

The Dow Jones industrial average has swooned 5 percent from a recent peak after investors became unnerved by reports of a manufacturing drop in China and economic mismanagement in countries like Argentina that sent the nation's currency plunging.

"The question is, 'Is this all of it, or is there significantly more to come?' " says Greg Sarian, a managing director at the Sarian Group at HighTower, a wealth advisory firm.

Since the 2008-09 financial crisis, small investors have mostly dumped stocks. But recently, buoyed by strengthening economies in the developed world, they have crept back into the markets.

Now, that flood of money might reverse as investors grow more worried.

At the start of the year, more than twice as many U.S. investors said they were bullish on stocks than said they were bearish in a survey by the American Association of Individual Investors. Now, the bears and bulls are neck and neck, with sentiments yo-yoing along with the indexes.

"I've lost . . . maybe $50,000 in the past week, and I'm not happy about it," says Scott Woodall, 44, of Acworth, Ga. "I hate the stock market."

A sign of the times: The price of gold, considered the ultimate "safe" asset by fearful investors, is up 3.3 percent this year after plunging 28 percent in 2013. Investors are also buying U.S. Treasury bonds despite Federal Reserve moves to scale back its purchases of them. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note, which falls when prices rise, has dropped from 3 percent at the start of the year to 2.7 percent.

Comments
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

ST. PETERSBURG — Speaking in front of a small crowd gathered on the front lawn of the city’s main library, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Monday that the facility will get a $6 million renovation and be renamed in honor of President Barack Obama.The a...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

DUNEDIN –– Pinellas sheriff’s detectives spent their weekend luring in unlicensed electrical, plumbing and other home improvement contractors to a vacant home wired with cameras.It took only hours before a stream of people arrived to work on the outd...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is formally contesting the biting citation the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration handed down in December for a maintenance incident in June that left five workers dead.At a meeting with the Tampa Bay Tim...
Published: 02/19/18
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Published: 02/19/18
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Published: 02/19/18
Report: Winn-Dixie parent company could close 200 stores

Report: Winn-Dixie parent company could close 200 stores

Bi-Lo LLC, a subsidiary of the same Jacksonville company that owns Winn-Dixie, could file for bankruptcy as soon as next month, according to a Bloomberg report.Parent company Southeastern Grocer is planning to shut down nearly 200 stores either befor...
Published: 02/19/18
New bus routes, times to start on Sunday in Hillsborough

New bus routes, times to start on Sunday in Hillsborough

TAMPA — More than a dozen bus routes in Hillsborough County will have new times, paths and stops starting Sunday.The changes come almost four months after the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority rolled out an entirely new bus network, scrapp...
Published: 02/19/18
The small gun shop that sold the weapon to the alleged high school shooter ‘closes indefinitely.’

The small gun shop that sold the weapon to the alleged high school shooter ‘closes indefinitely.’

The aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has led to the closure of one small business.According to the Miami Herald, the owners of Sunrise Tactical Supply, the Coral Springs, Florida shop that auth...
Published: 02/19/18
Next phase for the Tampa Armature Works: co-working office space

Next phase for the Tampa Armature Works: co-working office space

TAMPA — The mixed-use rebirth of the old Tampa Armature Works warehouse is proceeding in stages. First up: last month’s debut of the new ballroom, followed closely by the opening of more than a dozen vendors in the Heights Public Market food hall.YEA...
Published: 02/19/18