It's been a wild and wooly couple of weeks on the international stock markets. But is the recent slide grinding to a halt...or just taking a breather before tumbling some more? And more importantly, what does it mean to astute penny stock investors?
Wall Street recently stumbled to its worst week of the year, and global stock markets fell dramatically on concerns about rising interest rates and slowing growth. After rising almost 9% in the first four months of the year, the Dow Jones industrial average has fallen about 6.5% from a six-year high, reached May 10, 2006.
Stocks have been ailing because penny stock investors fear the Fed could be so focused on inflation that it ignores signs of an economic slowdown, raises interest rates too high and sends the economy into a recession.
Global stock markets were sent reeling last week after golden-tongued U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke shocked penny stock investors in saying the Fed will continue raising interest rates to keep inflation in check.
And that decision will have a direct impact on the penny stock market. Higher interest rates hurt penny stock prices because investors believe it will curb economic growth and corporate profits.
But why is inflation heating up? Higher energy costs. Traders and penny stock investors are also worried that with the hurricane season officially under way, Gulf Coast refineries and oil production sites could be damaged again this summer and fall.
And higher interest rates have the ability to affect the entire economy. Finance charges on credit cards will rise. So too will rates on mortgages and home equity loans, putting additional pressure on homebuyers and a softening housing market. Ultimately, it will cost more to borrow for expansion.
But does this signal doom-and-gloom for the penny stock market? Au contraire. While the temptation to sell everything can be overwhelming, some see this as a great opportunity. "I would not be selling. I would tend to be buying," said one New York analyst.
So how exactly is this an opportunity? It just so happens that many companies caught in the market's downward spiral are cheaper than they were a few weeks ago. And as any seasoned penny stock investor will tell you, buying a great penny stock when it's been beaten down isn't a bad way to make money over the long haul.
If you can stomach some of the volatility that is. While many blue chip investors have difficulty handling the market's unpredictability...it's par for the course.
So, "snap out of it," said another watcher. A month of dizzying selling has brought the markets into an attractive range. Is it possible the markets will fall more? Absolutely. After all, no penny stock is a sure thing. But one thing is certain: "Stocks are much cheaper now than they were two months ago."