Wall Street whirligig

It had all the melodrama of a slightly sensational paperback novel. The late-night phone call. The almost mystical fervor of the command: Sell everyting, now. The immediate acquiescence of the followers, as they scrambled to their telephones to reach brokers. The pell-mell drop in the stock market -- down 23.80 points in what turned out to be an all-time record trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange.

Drama? Without question. But fiction it was not. The sudden "sell-order" issued in hasty telephone messages to more than 3,000 of his followers earlier this week indicated the trust that many investors have in the prognostications of market analyst Joseph Granville.* The advice came only three days after publication of a weekly letter by Mr. Granville urging his readers to "do some aggressive new buying."

Buying and selling are certainly the day- to-day elements of the stock market. Quick gain, at least from an investment standpoint, is not to be totally discounted. Recent market gyrations are testimony to that. But what about the long-term consideration -- investing not just for in-and-out gain but profit realized over time? What about investing not just to gamble but to help build industry and create new products, as well as make money?

Probably too much should not be made of this latest "blip" on the market. Gurus come and go. The market, as one savvy associate reminds us, will probably be stronger when many of the "panic" investors are out. In any case, there's much to be said for consulting as wide a range of advisers and journals of analysis as possible when going the investment route.

As for hot 2 a.m. stock tips. . . .

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