Local brokers gauge impact | SteamboatToday.com

Local brokers gauge impact

What loss of trade center means isn't clear yet

— Any financial loss associated with Tuesday’s terrorist attacks pales when compared to the horrific loss of life. But two local stockbrokers said the monetary loss resulting from the attacks and the close of all of the country’s financial markets is beyond their reckoning.

“It’s an incalculable loss at this point, not only in terms of life,” Debra Shaw of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in Steamboat Springs said. “All of the large brokerage houses, every major financial conglomerate in the country is located in the World Trade Center.”

Doug Davis of Edward Jones in Craig said his staff is available to reassure clients, but with all of the major markets closed not just the New York Stock Exchange, but the NASDAQ as well brokers have no way of executing trades.

“We’re just trying to keep their anxiety low,” Davis said. “this is going to be a difficult thing to do. But with the way the markets have been, we’ve been doing a lot of it lately. This is a time for some serious hand holding.”

In many ways, the closing of the markets is just as well in such a crisis, Davis said.

“I’m sure there’s some concern about panic,” Davis said. “I’d say, in general, my clients, like the rest of the country, are in shock. My phones haven’t been ringing.”

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Shaw said she had one client who called to ask whether she should take her money out of the bank.

Both Shaw and Davis said their advice to clients is to remain calm.

Historically, Davis said, both natural and man-made disasters have not had negative impacts on the financial markets. In fact, all of the country’s wars have strengthened markets.

Shaw said although the major brokerage house keeps its files off site, away from the World Trade Center, she’s concerned about how the firm will recover from the lost capability to confirm trades. The markets are not expected to reopen for the rest of the week.

Shaw said when a client asks her to make a stock trade, she enters the trade on her computer. But one of the very next things she does is call an associate at the World Trade Center to confirm whether they have enough bonds, for example, to make the trade. In effect, she’s seeking confirmation that the trade will clear.

Shaw has ridden the subway to the stop beneath the World Trade Center and seen the humanity pouring from the trains at 9 a.m., the approximate time of the terrorist attacks. The stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. is precisely the time when thousands of financial workers are pouring into the building.

“The building sucks people out of the subway like a vacuum at that time,” Shaw said.

Shaw also relies heavily on stock analysts working out of the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Office in the World Trade Center for research on stocks her clients are interested in.

“I don’t know who in the world I’d call right now,” Shaw said. “I was just talking to them yesterday asking about a bond. They’re always great about it.

“Many of those people are young kids in their mid-twenties. I’m sure they’re gone.”

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com