With markets closed and air travel grounded, portfolio managers have been catching their breath and reflecting on the tragedy, as well as the impact it will have on markets during this unprecedented period of inactivity.
Jim Weiss, chief investment officer-equities at State Street Research & Management Co., Boston, said the tone has been somber the past three days following the "human tragedy" that took place in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania: "We all know people that are either missing or affected."
But from a business point of view, money managers at State Street Research have tried to anticipate what the markets will do next. "We have a tremendous responsibility to our clients," said Mr. Weiss, whose firm manages $50 billion for clients.
He expects the markets to be moving fast once open. "We're very focused on how we should be positioning portfolios for the days and weeks ahead."
In one of Boston's tallest buildings, State Street Research closed its offices 11 a.m. Sept. 11, but reopened first thing Wednesday. Mr. Weiss called a conference of all equity managers and analysts (the fixed-income chief did the same) to determine a plan for the week.
They talked about the effect of the terrorist attacks on macro-economic factors as well as different industries.
At Northern Trust Co., Chicago, money management staff members have been meeting daily, conducting situational analysis, assessing global markets and preparing for the reopening of U.S. stock markets, said Stephen Potter, managing director and head of the institutional group.
Orie Dudley, chief investment officer, is meeting every morning at 11: 30 with client service staff to go through market issues with an eye toward answering client questions. Client service representatives have been talking to most of Northern's institutional clients daily and are sending e-mails and faxes to other investment clients, Mr. Potter said.
Jeff Adams, Denver Investment Advisors' chief operating officer, had three analysts in New York at the time of the attacks. All three are safe. Now, portfolio managers and analysts at Denver Investment have been focusing on researching the stocks of the companies in their portfolios to see how they might have been affected by the tragedy.
One other thing that might be affected is analyst traveling. Mr. Adams said firm officials are trying to determine a policy on air travel, noting it might be left to each staff member to decide. He said analysts were scheduled to fly to New York and Taiwan on Sept. 17.
Mark Baribeau, portfolio manager of the Loomis Sayles Large Cap Growth Fund, said the three days of market downtime has been a good time to separate the emotion from the business at hand. Coupled with the somber nature of last week, Mr. Baribeau said, "It's amazing how lost you feel when there is no trading and markets" on which to focus.
But these last few days have afforded him the luxury of time. "The rare thing we've had is time to think," said Mr. Baribeau. He has been able to sit down with analysts and go over each sector and each portfolio holding in detail to determine the repercussions of the past few days.