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Area stockbrokers urge calm

October 28, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Local stock brokers were preaching patience, not panic, after Monday's 7 percent sell-off in the nation's stock markets.

"It's just a normal correction," said Patrick Tyler, president of Tyler Financial Services in Hagerstown. "You can't expect the market to go up 30 or 35 percent and not go down 7 percent occasionally."

Although the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst single-day point drop Monday, tumbling 550 points, few local investors were selling their shares, the brokers said.

Tyler said he hadn't received any sell orders from investors all day.

"They're sitting tight," he said.

"It has been a very, very quiet day," said Pete Walters, investment representative at Edward Jones in Waynesboro, Pa. "Now is the time that you need to be coming out of the woodwork, get out your checkbook and take advantage of quality while it's on sale. Don't panic, buy.

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"Corrections, when they occur, give long-term investors an excellent opportunity to invest in quality."

"This is one of those things," said Jim Holzapfel, managing director of Wheat First Butcher Singer in Hagerstown.

"I think if you are a patient, long-term investor you pick your spots. Our economy is still very much on track. There are some bargains out there."

Holzapfel said that Monday's 7 percent drop didn't compare to the 22 percent crash in 1987.

"I think it's a completely different set of circumstances," he said.

Holzapfel said that because of low inflation, falling long-term interest rates and baby boomers investing billions for retirement, the market remains attractive.

John Hershey Sr., senior vice president and director emeritus of Ferris, Baker, Watts in Hagerstown, said most local investors are in the market for the long term.

"Anyone who has ever sold their shares has lived to regret it," Hershey said.

Hershey said he was taking advantage of drops in recent days to purchase shares for his personal account. He said he purchased 1,000 shares of First Data at about $28 a share. It has fallen from a high of $46 a share, he said.

Hershey said he expected a partial recovery in the next few days with a sideways market over the next few months. He said he was less concerned about weakness in the Asian markets than he was with the potential for a slowing earnings growth next year.

"The biggest single factor in setting stock market prices is human emotion. The pendulum has swung in the wrong direction today," he said.

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