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Pa. investors shouldn't panic, financial advisers say

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Trader Peter Mazza works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Local financial advisers encouraged investors to keep calm as markets on Monday cratered because of the coronavirus and falling oil prices.

Markets closed Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2,013.76 points, or 7.79% — one of the largest dips since the 2008 recession. The Nasdaq Composite closed down 624.94 points, or 7.29%. 

But financial planners urged against panic-induced sell-offs.

"Cooler heads will prevail," said David Garber, of Longview Wealth Solutions in York. "This is not the end of the world. Things change, but you just have to adapt.”

The losses — largely caused by fears about the coronavirus and an oil feud between OPEC and Russia — were so sharp that the New York Stock Exchange briefly halted trading Monday morning in an attempt to slow the plunging stock prices. 

Monday's trading followed several weeks of market instability, which took hold in early February after the new coronavirus was found outside China. 

More:Health officials: Pa. coronavirus patient in critical condition

More:Dow loses 1,200 points, bond yields tumble as oil crashes

Concerns about the virus's effects on consumer spending, production and travel were matched with worries about decreasing oil prices.

This weekend, an oil price war culminated in Russia refusing to scale back oil production and Saudi Arabia indicating it would increase its output, causing per-barrel prices to sink nearly 20%. 

That news caused Exxon Mobil stock to lose 12.24% Monday, closing at 41.86. Chevron closed at 80.65, down 15.35%. 

Investors were "very concerned," said John J. Klobusicky, a co-chief investment officer at FMA Advisory in Harrisburg. But there could actually be good news on the horizon, as investors expect stocks to cheapen.

"You don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction," Klobusicky said. "These things turn very quickly. If anything, if you have cash on the sidelines, you want to look at this as a buying opportunity."

President Donald Trump's administration has opened talks about combating the economic fallout, floating measures that include temporarily expanding paid sick leave, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The coronavirus's effect on the market likely won't go away anytime soon. Airlines and tourism have been hit hard. So, too, have large U.S. firms that rely on Chinese manufacturing. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.