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11:29 AM
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Symons Gets Good Prices During Market Downturn

Having anticipated the recent market downturn, Symons Capital Management dips into cash reserves and gets good prices.

turned the chaos on Feb. 27 into an opportunity by dipping into its cash reserves and getting good prices as the market was going down.

"We've been anticipating this and had been sitting on some cash for a period of months -- about 20 percent," notes Michael P. Czajka, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Symons, which has $260 million in assets under management. "Our clients have been beating us up for the cash positions we've taken, but we were able to put it to work [on Feb. 27]."

Colin Symons, the firm's chief investment officer, adds that the market decline cannot be blamed simply on the 9 percent decline in Chinese stocks alone. "There were a lot of things out there that were pretty stretched," he asserts. Symons says he believes the problem occurred when the Yen went up against the dollar. "That's when we really saw excitement in terms of both bonds and futures," he observes.

Of course, there was more excitement at about 3 p.m. EST when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 200 points. "The Dow index experienced technical difficulties -- the system backed up and a whole backlog of trades did not register until 70 minutes later, causing a quick drop of 200 points," Symons explains. At that point, "We tried to pick off some bad bid and asks. ... However, it didn't really affect us. We got some good prices, but it only lasted so long," he notes.

"The acceleration of change was the most interesting I've ever seen," Symons adds. "That 70-minute slide was pretty impressive."

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