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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Cheryl Casone, FOX Business correspondent and host of "Fox Business Now" on Yahoo! Finance.
Trading Pit: Would 2007 Stock Gains Be Wiped Out if Terrorists Hit U.S.?
The trading year is half over and by any measure it's been quite a six months for stocks. All indices are solidly higher, with the Dow and S&P hitting multiple all-time highs.
But at the same time, a reminder that terror is never far away. Car bombs, with the potential to kill and injure hundreds, found in London. Would a "successful" terror attack on U.S. soil wipe out the stock gains of 2007?
GARY B: The green arrows that we've seen so far this year would all be red the moment the market opened after an attack. We've come from the mindset after 9/11, that we can't have another terrorist attack. It won't be on our shores. It will be diverted. It will be minor. If there were a successful attack, and certainly if it's a major one that cripples some vital industry, the Dow would certainly lose those 1,000 points it's gained so far this year. All the gains would be wiped out in a second!
TOBIN: There's no doubt that we would be down, but by the end of the week we'd be right back up again. The bigger issue is that we understand this threat. Terrorists cannot stop a 13 trillion dollar economy!
CHERYL: If we have an attack on our soil, the markets would be down, would sell off, and would not come right back. How many times do we hear people in Washington D.C. say, "It's not if, it's when we're going to have another attack."
PAT: 9/11 was different than anything we had ever seen because it was unexpected. And that's the one thing that Wall Street hates the most, the unexpected. The market fell about 12 percent in the five trading days after 9/11. But two months later it was back were it started. Terror wasn't on the radar screen. At this moment terror is on the radar screen. Sure, it's going to hurt for a few days, but we are going to come back. An attack won't hurt as much as it did the first time. The markets will differentiate a psychological impact from a potential economic impact.
SCOTT: The market would go down if there were a terrorist attack on our soil. But the fact is we would come back rather quickly. The market cannot stay cheap. Every investor knows in the back of his or her mind that terror is out there, and that it's probably coming.
Home Depot Forced To Pay To Care For Illegals?
Home Depot and other private companies are being forced by some local governments to spend their own money to shelter and help day laborers, many of whom are illegal aliens. The argument: even if that's not its intent, the store creates the demand for the workers who show up in the parking lots—so the businesses bear the responsibility.
CHERYL: This is ridiculous! I cannot believe these local governments are getting away with this. They are saying, we'll give you a permit, but you have to build centers for these day laborers that have NOTHING to do with Home Depot. Home Depot has a non-solicitation policy and has nothing to do with these people. Yet Home Depot is supposed to take care of them?
GARY B: The public cannot band together and vote collectively unless they do it through the government entity. In this case, the government has to be responsible for the general upkeep of the community. That's why you have no littering laws and things like that. Otherwise, no one would be responsible. In this case, the government is doing what it is supposed to do.
TOBIN: This in insane! These people are going to Home Depot because they know the day laborers are there. This is just a continuation of the rules that don't work. We don't have an immigration policy that works, so now we're going to create another law that doesn't work!
PAT: This became an issue because it was attached to the immigration bill. It's involving the federal government in a local issue: zoning laws! It's saying that Congress has nothing better to that than to decide were a park goes in a community. This is purely a local issue, and one that certainly needs to be dealt with at the local level, and not at the federal level.
SCOTT: It's not Home Depot's responsibility! If you have people loitering on private property it becomes the problem of the municipalities or police departments. Home Depot must either hire its own security or call the police. Why should the company have to set up an employment bazaar on its property? It's private property! The bottom line is that this is a problem for the municipalities, and that's who should pay for it!