Marcial: How Four Pros Played the Stock Meltdown
One waded into fallen bank stocks and shorted credit-card shares, another eyed health-care issues, a third bought countercyclicals—and a fourth sat tight
by Gene Marcial
What did investors do when the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 777.68 points, or 7%, on Sept. 29, to 10,365.45? Head for the nearest bar for a double? Or rush to double up, or down, on their stocks?
Either way, the Dow’s sharp response to the unexpected rejection by the House of Representatives of the Treasury’s buyout plan reminded investors yet again of how unpredictable and volatile the market can be.
“You’ve got to have a steel stomach to confront these types of markets—to survive or win,” says William Harnisch, president of hedge fund Peconic Partners, which manages some $1.5 billion in assets. And a winner he’s been at a time when most other hedge funds are struggling to avoid sinking. In 2007, Peconic posted a 64% gain, and this year is up 8% though Sept. 29, vs. a decline of more than 20% for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. So Harnisch wasn’t one of those who scurried to the nearest tavern: He dared to buy stocks as the market plummeted. […]