Market Crash, Cheaper Equities

Terry Flanagan

August 4 nears the end of a hellish trading week for U.S. equities, which have been persistently plummeting session after session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened at 12,232 points on Monday, August 1, and closed yesterday at 11,383.

“People come to us and said, ‘you’ve had a horrible day,’ but I’ve said it’s actually been an opportunity to put some cash to work,” said Scott Armiger, vice president of Christiana Trust, a division of WSFS Bank, a regional bank based in Delaware. The investment services provided by Christiana Trust serve corporations, institutions, family offices and high net worth individuals.

Although the firm’s portfolio asset allocation is grounded in long term buy and hold U.S. and global equities, the market declines of the past week are analogous to buying items on sale at the store, according to Armiger.

“If you’ve been eyeing something and all the sudden, it’s 10 percent off; wouldn’t you want to buy it?” said Armiger.

Such optimism stems from Armiger’s belief that the market is simply going through a historical cycle, and will rebound.

“The markets will turn around, but not in the near term,” he told Markets Media. “It’s only natural that we’re getting a correction now from the March 2009 lows. A correction is healthy and necessary.”

For Armiger, macroeconomic events which may have propelled this weeks’ sell-off, notably the debt ceiling legislation is merely a cloud over the real story behind the economy. That, for him, is a story of good corporate earnings.

“There’s been an overhang in the market, but investors know corporate earnings are good,” Armiger said. “Companies are beating their estimates, but I do think it will be harder to do so in the second half of the year.” Armiger attributes a “bit of a lag effect” from the downward revision of 0.4 percent in GDP in the first quarter of this year.

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