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October 16th, 2009
08:51 AM ET

Are You Buying Stocks?

The New York Stock Exchange closed above 10,000 twice this week. It’s up 53% since this past March. But behind that gain – not a lot of individual investors. Market analysts tell the Washington Post that it's mostly pension funds, hedge funds, and institutional investors…and we’re trying to understand why that is.

Have you bought stocks in the last few months? Why or why not? If not, what will it take for you to take the plunge?

Post your comments here.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. David Cantor

    Most individual investors don't have an independent sense of when will the stock market be relatively safer. As a result, I think institutions will always be the first mover in a recovery and reap the rewards while individuals will be running along the pier to jump on the boat after it's already moving.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  2. Will

    I am. I've watched this market closely over the last two years and am optimistic that things are getting better. From 6500 all the way back to 10000 – I think we're gearing up for one of the biggest bull market rallies in history and I am not going to miss out!

    October 16, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  3. Chuck

    Heidi: The economy and GM bankruptcy has taken away any chance of us ever getting back into the stock market. We can no longer buy a new GM vehicle. We now pay for our health care and to loose $170,000 in life insurance on top of that does not permit investment. Wall Street got what they wanted and we the people still have not one cent to invest in their schemes. Why invest? Wall Street has not changed. The greed is still king!

    October 16, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  4. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    There is absolutely no way that I will buy any stocks right now!

    Anything can always happen at anytime to briefly affect the stock market which is why it fluctuates so much. One good day or a few good days in the stock market means nothing to me at all.

    I lost so much of my savings that were in supposedly "safe" blue chip stocks when the market went bust that I will be keeping ALL of my life savings in bank CDs until I see for at least two full years that the stock market is in good shape on a VERY consistent basis!

    Until that time, I can go to bed at night and wake up in the morning knowing that my money is safe and will still there IF anything catastrophic happens where the stock market goes totally bust again!

    What if Afghanistan goes badly? What if we wind up having to bomb Iran as a last resort because all diplomacy failed and oil prices are affected? What if something big that we do not know about right now should happen?

    Trying to make money in the stock market right now in my opinion is like trying to make money by beating the house in a gambling casino. You may win a few hands from the dealer or get lucky with a few slot machines but the house is in business to make money, not lose it!

    That is how I view the stock market right now and absolutely NOTHING will change my mind until I see at minimum two years of a VERY consistent pattern that the stock market is in good shape!

    Mitch Dworkin
    Dallas, Texas

    October 16, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  5. Jake Brady

    I have been active in the stock market. I believe that the American people will start spending in this quarter. We will see a rise in spending this Xmas. If you sit on the sidelines then you will lose. The cost of living will eat all of your simple interest in fixed accounts.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  6. Hank

    Funny, when it coms to government spending and budget deficits CNN is the first to admit that it is an unsustainable trend. However, I have never heard the same being mentioned with respect to unemployment and the stock market indices. Hence, I do not believe all that is said on the media and I remain extremely careful and skeptical theses days. I am not ready to jump on the bandwagon until I will see evidenced that of further stabilization in all sectors of society, politics included given that this can also be categorized as an unsustainable trend.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  7. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Why would anybody want to invest there money in anything with the same people running things and doing what they do best like ripping people of the banks and insurance companys cant be trusted with any ones money.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  8. Michael Ganz

    Ofcourse not, they're all liars and cheats in New York... They've raked mainland America over the coals... How do you turn everything around in 10 months? Super debt for America, job losses and jobs going over sea's, highest foreclosure rate in years... C'mon!

    We're still experiencing unemployment, but the "spin" is "it's a lot less" - give me a break.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  9. Dan

    If you are putting your hope and trust in the stock market, or for that matter, our government, you are treading on thin ice.
    There is only one place that you can place your hope and trust for eternity, and that is Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY solid rock that we have.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  10. Nigel Hart

    The majority of these negatve commnets are exactly why the market will continue going up for some while!

    October 16, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  11. Marcus

    With what money? From what job? Dell just announced their closing up shop here in the Greensboro-Winston Salem Area of NC. We are more concerned with paying real bills then enriching companies who do not care anything about us. In NC we tried to do incentives to lure companies and Dell was an example of a company who was only here to get the benefits of moving here. They are moving the operations to Mexico, even though they claim that the desktop PCs they made at the plant were a big loser in their product line. Yeah right!

    October 16, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  12. John Showalter

    You bet! Now is the time to get back into the stock market, that is, if you want to make any money… or you could just wait and see and then feel sorry that you didn’t get in earlier… BUY LOW, SELL HIGH!

    October 16, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  13. Michael from NYC

    Regarding Lloyd Blankfein's comments....if all these incentives don't make these people smarter, then why do they continue to give bonuses to these stupid people? It's insulting to the American public! Why, it's almost like electing a President who is not qualified to run the country....

    October 16, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  14. David

    I never left the market. So, I don't have to get in again.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  15. Gary

    I will never go back in the stock market again. I am tired of all the wall street people making money am I seem to suffer in the long haul. I prefer to control my own way of life, my grandparents did by simply buying cd's. Their lifestyle was a much better way of life and it appears that consumers in the USA beg to be screwed out of money. Take it to the bank, I will tak 1 to 5 % anyday and I know that I am making all the money not some keyboard pusher that will be eating $100 meals that I use to pay for.

    Have a great day Wall Street, I am with my money in my local bank

    October 16, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  16. Glenn from Florida

    Yes!! The old saying buy low and sell high still holds true. I took a look at some solid companies, which took huge hits, and purchased them at their low. For instance Ford went below $1 per share, now it's floating around $7.50. Looking at Ford historically that should go to at least $15 to $20 per share over time. If Chevrolet and Chrysler take a dump Ford could do very well. Ford didn't take bailout money which is why I felt they would do better. They had already changed their business model

    Secondly when the market dropped to it's low I took a lot of my lowest valued stocks and moved them from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, so the tax implications would be minimized. That move has proved to be a good move. Those stocks have now gone up dramatically, yet I will pay minimal taxes on the transfer. I good investor must always look at a downturn in the market as a way to make adjustments to his/her portfolio.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  17. Hank

    This commentary is flawed in my case anyhow, first I had practically no stakes in equity prior to the sudden decline, and therefore my loss overall is not significant. I can therefore buy equities back in the high and I will be even, so all that I have missed if any is an opportunity cost and not a real one. Secondly, I was under the impression that this is all owed to the fact that the private sector, i.e.: individuals and businesses were highly levered which had a favourable impact on profit, therefore how can the all time high be sustained with less financial leverage unless economic growth is phenomenally high or i.e. inflation. Therefore, the more arguments are aired the stronger my skepticism becomes. In conclusion, stay out unless those experts provide strong downside guarantees to back their statements.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  18. Orlando

    I got back into the market when the Dow hit 6,000 because I reasoned that it just wouldn't go any lower. I'm glad i did and I plan to stay in for the time being.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  19. Hank

    I agree with the above comment, and you like to add we know money can't make you smarter, however what remains to be determined is can it make you dumber and dumberer. The Goldman CEO kind of answered that question in admitting that you can incentivize people to do anything with the green back, in his words cross the room.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  20. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    My wife had stocks in the Potomic elec. and when Enron riped off the money she lost her butt we learned our lesson then .

    October 16, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  21. alicerbob

    I just sold my last planned stock to accumulate a healthy percentage of cash (Sell High Buy Low) and am waiting for the precipice drop that I expect any day soon since this has been an up up up rally for too many consecutive months and it's time for the experts to do profit taking.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  22. pc

    not in this country.the dollar is going down the tubes.this country is investing too much money in wars and not into this country.after all is said and done China will make out like a bandit.too many americans buy too many foreign products.this country is on a downward spiral.and has been for awhile.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  23. nenad

    The markets hate uncertainty. It is difficult to navigate a market where fundamentals are secondary to political and regulatory intervention and reform. It is tough to say that the market will get back to OCT 2007 levels any time soon. However, there is no doubt that even if the market goes down from here, it will return to these levels with relative ease. So, I would say active portfolio management at these levels is the right thing to do, not 100% cash or CD’s. There are a lot of well run companies out there, with great financials, a great business model, and no debt. Make sure your broker/financial advisor either knows how to find them, or is using an outside manager who does.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  24. Adam

    Yes, I'm buying stock. Buy low sell high.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  25. scotty

    hey Tony , you had a young woman on this morning saying that we should not get upset with wall street .. i understand these people have lost a large amount of yearly income. but as a small business owner i have seen my income drop 25 to 30 % this year. that is a very large change no matter what you make. its a huge change from $40,000 down to $25-28,000. now when a person whos extremely large salary lets say 6million drops to 4.5million, it is definately a big change but... youre still able to pay for college and insurance for you family.... only no new lavish toys. we(normal hard working under paid Americans) have to choose not what college, but what bills we can pay just to survive. its no wonder we are out of touch with the wealthy ones... there is a divide you are still making millions and we are losing everything we have worked for.. its hard to feel pity for them.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  26. nenad

    Someone needs to do a survey of what most people make on Wall Street. I would bet more than 98% make less than 200k per year. 100k in Manhattan is like making 50k in Portland. Everything is more expensive there. The cost of living adjustment has to be made. Please CNN, do a survey on what % of individuals make over 1 million. And what is the scale down from there. Not everyone who works on WS makes millions. In fact, I bet less than 1% makes 7 figures.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  27. Dodie ~ California

    I will NOT invest in the stock market in the USA. I will NOT support "Bad" behavior. Personally, I suspect the stock market is being facilitated by a group of billionaires and are moving the market the way they want.

    Therefore, I have invested in other areas besides the stock market and banks. Derivatives, just another term for "gambling"

    Before I invest one dime in this country, I want to see three changes!
    Make the following illegal:

    1. Derivatives
    2. Hedge funds
    3. Lobbyists

    Last: The Government allow Big Business and Banks to collapse and pick up the retirement for the employees. I am tired of giving billions of tax-dollars to these organizations in the (( hopes )) that it would trickle down to us. That will NEVER happen!

    October 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  28. Dodie ~ California

    @ CNN

    Thank you for allowing me the privilege and space to vent my frustration.

    I see this country moving into a two class system. The middle class is being extinguished! There is an excellent dissertation written on the downfall of capitalism which encompasses large corporations having a strangle hold on a country's money eventually plunging the country due to the loss of the 'middle class'

    October 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  29. David

    I would invest, but I need someone who knows the market and the economy to help guide me through the complexities of managing a 401K.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  30. Sharon,Daniel Island, South Carolina

    yes! i have two very small accounts,but i have been adding stocks and commodities to my portfolio

    October 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  31. Robert Lake,MI

    Yes I`m buying stocks but I`m doing my researce and staying away from any company owed or affiliated with Red China! If Americans dont wake up and see whats going on it might be too late to turn this thing around. I know we are in a age where everything is global but if we dont stop giving this countries wealth to the Chinese we might not have a country as we know it!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  32. Robert Lake,MI

    Hey Dodie you`re right, does it sound familiar, like 1930`s Germany except the Chinese didnt own Germany!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  33. Dodie ~ California

    @ Robert Lake,MI ...... lol ....

    You are certainly on top of it all. Yes, China is a major stock holder of the USA.....President HuJintao did not intentionally try to become a major stock holder. Because we owe them over 3 trillion dollars, it seems that is the outcome. That is why I have shifted my investment. Decided I might as well ride the wave of an Up and Coming Country instead of going down in flames.

    China has the right philosophy. The focus is on exporting all over the world. Not war. Money is coming into the country, not going out! They are building a strong middle class. Their focus is on education and health care for all Chinese Citizens.

    If we are going to continue to be a super power, we need to quickly adopt their philosophy before its too late.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  34. Karl

    No, I won't buy. Like most Americans, I am reaping the errors of my greedy pie-in-the-sky ways, and I won't dump my hard earned cash into a grub infested nest of gamblers and cheaters. I'm investing in property, a place to call home. We are finally facing our gluttonous habits. We aren't entitled. Now is the time to pay the commercial piper for our over-consumption and greed. We complain about what it's costing us to get out of this mess (health reform and the economy). Wake up folks. It isn't over. It's only going to get more painful. Time to pay up. Way up.

    October 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  35. Dodie ~ California

    @ Robert Lake,MI

    Be careful about purchasing stock! I understand the world specifically European countries, China, Russia and Japan are very angry at the USA causing a global meltdown. They want to remove the American Dollar from the world bank as the stable currency.

    If that happens, we will crash again. I am sorry for being so negative, but this is what I see. I also made major changes in my investments in 2006 as I knew our stock market would crash around 2008.

    The stock market, All major Banks have a strong hold on this country.
    People like J P morgan, goldman sachs, Bank of American and Citigroup CEOs run this country!

    October 17, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  36. Jack

    No, because the stock market is over valued once again and virtually every stock is based on cost cutting gains. There will be another major sell-off from investors within 4-6 weeks. Once the market tumbles again and I see true, authentic profits from companies without cost sutting gains I will begin to invest in the market in mid 2010.

    October 19, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  37. Gary (North West)

    I am on the sidelines because like many people, we can see that if the numbers improved it wasn't because of gross sales. Rather it was because of cuts in manpower and other items.

    October 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  38. Brehanna Rodrigues

    I have not bought stocks and I don't plan on it. This economy is so messed up right now I don't know anyone who is currently investing. It won't do you any good. They dollar isn't even worth the same. Why put your hard earned cash into something that won't get you anywhere. I think it's time for more individuality and people to do there own thing. Invest in what you want but I personally don't think investing is the right thing to do now. Most middle class people are struggling from day to day. Why would you go out and get your feet wet in something that most likely will fail you? We don't control this county anymore. I say no for buying stocks. What good will it do you?

    Have you bought stocks in the last few months? Why or why not? If not, what will it take for you to take the plunge?

    October 21, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  39. Ralph Thompson

    Because of health problems, I had to close my 401K and all pension plans before the crash, I lost a little. I'll never put a penny into the stock market. My money goes into a tin can or numerous savings accounts!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  40. Pat Cashion

    It is long PAST time for the troop request decision to be made. I sure hope the president doesnot take this long to decide to shoot a missle if we are being attacked. Makes you wonder , does'nt?

    November 3, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  41. G.Nesbitt B

    President Obama and his family has set a new tone for American freedom and openess, He has done the same on the international scene. Having to overcome the worst depression that swept the nations of the world. Hopefully he can encourage our Congressional leadership to legislate regulations that will reign in ,what I call the Robber Barons of The market and Too large to fail
    companies. I think with all that he has on his plate he is still offering an open door to all his opposition I like that because he still is the President of all the American people, I am happy he taking his time to upgrade the war in Afghanistan and brining the troopos home from Iraq. I pray that the Congress will follow his lead on health Care with a Public Option. God bless him and all the troops and people of the world to end the waes and killing and suffering. Thanks

    November 4, 2009 at 10:49 am |