Fear Over Debt Fight Taking Hold with Investors

From The Associated Press:

A fast-approaching deadline is bound to heighten anxiety. That’s what happening on Wall Street as investors grow increasingly uneasy about the political stalemate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

The Dow Jones industrial average has closed down for four sessions in a row. And the declines have been steeper each day, reaching almost 200 points Wednesday.

Lawmakers face an Aug. 2 deadline or risk triggering an unprecedented federal default and unpredictable fallout in the economy. As the contentious debate in Washington heated up, initially the stock market didn’t show much reaction. But recent days have reflected signs of greater concern.

While no one was panicking, financial professionals who handle the investment accounts of everyday Americans–college funds, retirement accounts and other nest-eggs–said their customers were growing more worried by the day. One said he had not seen this level of anxiety since the 2008 financial crisis.

“We’re getting a ton of calls,” said Bob Glovsky, president of Mintz Levin Financial Advisors in Boston. “It’s all `What happens if the U.S. defaults? What’s going to happen to me?'”

Similarly, Glen Buco, a certified financial planner with West Financial Services in McLean, Va., said he started hearing from worried clients over the weekend, when talks in Washington failed to produce a compromise.

“The expectation was that there would be an agreement by this week. So now people are beginning to worry,” Buco said. The calls are mostly coming from clients who are nearing or already retired and living off their portfolios.

Read the whole thing here. It bears repeating, reaching the August 2nd ‘deadline’ on the debt ceiling does not trigger a default. That would only happen if the Treasury chose not to make its interest payments. Demagoguery does have consequences.

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