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Ignore short-term market swings
Christopher Browne
Chairman, Tweedy Browne

I was leaving the office at the end of Black Monday, the day of the '87 crash, and Joe Reilly, one of the founders of my firm, then probably 85 years old, was punching out some quotes. I said, "Quite a day, wasn't it, Joe?" "Yep." "Does it remind you of 1929?" "No," he said, perfectly cheerful. "Very different. There was no money in '29. Today there's still lots of it, a lot of bottom fishers. They have a way of putting nets under these stocks."

And of course, he was right. I realized that if this 85-year-old was not perturbed by the worst day in stock market history, there was no need for me to be. If you're comfortable with the stocks you own, if they're solid businesses and you haven't borrowed a lot to buy them, let the market do its worst. You don't have to do something dramatic just because the market had a bad day.

NEXT: Sell for the right reason

Last updated July 22 2008: 11:27 AM ET
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