LABJ Forum: Checking Your Stocks?

WorldCom Inc.'s disclosures last week that it substantially inflated profits for more than a year due to improper accounting procedures sent an already shaky stock market reeling. For months now, it seems there have been almost daily reports of new corporate wrongdoing that has led to plummeting investor confidence in Wall Street. So the Business Journal asks: Are you afraid to see how your stocks are doing?

Susie Hall
Senior Account Consultant
Aquent

I do have some stock and I am not checking them because they are depressing. Because they fluctuate so much, it's really hard to follow on a day-to-day basis. It seems like every day there's another company having financial problems or we hear about bad accounting practices a company has been hiding. Right now is a really scary time to be in the market. Fortunately, I didn't choose any technology stocks. I think if I had, I would probably be broke now. Instead, I picked larger companies that will probably weather the storm, although they are still losing money.



Henry Eshelman
Entertainment Practice Head
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

I have a 401(k) and that's pretty much it in terms of stocks. Although I haven't checked them lately, I switched about a year and a half ago from mixed mutual funds to a bond fund base. I see stocks as investing for the long term, although I am surprised the market is doing as bad as it is. Pretty much all the gain I saw in the 10 years I've had stocks is neutral now.



James Lynch
President and Chief Executive
Century City Chamber of Commerce

It was four weeks ago that I checked my stocks. I'm more long-term oriented. But it's frightening for all investors. It's shaken the integrity of our entire securities system. My concern, and this is an issue in the Enron scandal, is that we rely on the certified public accounting organizations to verify the statements made by management. Clearly there's a weakness there. As a side note, my brother works for WorldCom. He is a computer systems analyst and trainer. So I have a more personal interest in seeing them prosper.



Karen Jorgensen
Chief Financial Officer
JorgensenHR

I am not checking my stocks right now. It makes me too nervous because of how up and down the market is. However, my sense is that the economy is going to get better. I am fortunate to be in a position to wait and see, so I don't want to freak myself out by checking them every day.



Doug Tenpas
Chief Executive
The Packaging Department

About a year ago, I switched out of the equity market into the bond market, so checking my stocks is not so painful. However, I still don't check them every day. I know what I've got, so I don't need to be fanatical about it. The equity stocks I have left are mainly utilities, and those are not as volatile as others. Plus, the bond market is more stable, so I'm not too worried.

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