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Opinion

Commentary: The Cure For Market Volatility? Vertigo Support

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WFAE commentator Martha Catt. hspace=4

http://66.225.205.104/CM20100701.mp3

If you've been following the stock market, you know it's been volatile. The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped 10 percent in the second quarter that ended yesterday. It was the first quarterly drop since the first quarterly drop in more than a yeart. If this concerns you, listen up. WFAE commentator Martha Catt thinks she's come across something that will help. Since the May 6, 2010 "flash crash" the U.S. stock market indices have been pitching and yawning like a ship with a broken rudder. No one is quite certain what caused the "flash crash", a 15 minute period in which the market plunged 1,000 points and then recovered about 700, but the Wall Street Journal concluded several days later that high speed trading may have played a role. (Ya think?) As a financial advisor, I get asked everyday: "So what's the market doing today?" Lately, I've felt like answering: "It's in for a psyche consult. We think it may have a touch of bi-polar disorder." It's up. It's down. It's down. It's down. It's up! It's down. Were the New York Stock Exchange a single individual with the same symptoms, a qualified psychiatrist would prescribe a mood stabilizer. Alas, the market is not a single individual. It is a place both in the real and virtual worlds where people come together to buy and sell. It is noteworthy that the terms "Bull" for a market with rising prices and "Bear" for market with declining prices refer to the death blows of two ill-tempered, ferocious beasts. A bull pushes up with his horns, a bear swishes his mighty claws downward. Is it any wonder that with such imagery people just want to get out of the way? Yet, timing the market, the futile practice of darting in and out, is about as successful as baiting a real bear or bull. Injury is inevitable. So what's a body to do? Play to your strengths. You are not a bear, able to catch a jumping salmon in your mouth or hibernate. Nor are you a brainless bovine that reacts at the slightest provocation by stampeding, sending a sizeable portion of your herd off the nearest cliff. You are a human being capable of thought. Your intellect is your best tool. So how do we get the traders on the exchange floor to remember that they, too, can think? I may have found the answer in The Vermont Country Store Catalog. They sell a product called, appropriately, Vertigo Support. It is a mixture of aromatic oils concocted to - and I quote - "quell anxiety and restore focus and calm." Sound like our cure? You betcha. The directions say: "Feel dizzy or unsteady, rub (on) . . . and inhale deeply." Basically, the aromatic oils give the user something nice to smell while one takes a deep breath and gets a moment to think. At $10 per ounce, it would take a mere $1,280 to dump a gallon of Vertigo Support on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, but the deep breath that follows? Priceless. Commentator Martha Catt is a financial advisor, and a community columnist for the Charlotte Observer.