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Bulls and Bears

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PAUL ERDMAN, the Healdsburg author and economist, looks at the stock market these days the same way he might view a protagonist in an opening chapter of one of his high-finance thrillers. There are obstacles to overcome, setbacks to endure, and it'll get worse before it gets better. But in the end ...

Actually, no one knows how this one's going to end. But Erdman, though optimistic over the long term, does envision more trouble in the next year.

"The problems are going to get more serious instead of less serious over the next 12 months," he says of the recent wild ride on Wall Street.

Erdman, a CBS MarketWatch columnist and author of nine novels, says it's not time to panic. "If you're not going to retire for 20 years, don't even read the stock page. Read the funnies instead," he advises.

And more advice to those who were lucky enough to get out when the market peaked on July 17: Don't forget how lucky you were.

"I've never met anyone who can consistently time the market," Erdman says. He is amazed at the attitude of many younger investors who don't understand the concept of a bear market. That's because they've never seen one. A recent survey of young investors he saw indicated they expect an average annual return of 37 percent.

"Those who are a little older know better," he said. "They'll appreciate a 12 percent return."
R.M

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From the September 10-16, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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