Rietz: Sept. 11 Spooked Investors

Investors will never forget the tragic events of Sept. 11 and many are still struggling to come to terms with a pervasive sense of grief and loss. Nevertheless, more than a month later, some psychologists familiar with markets and investor patterns sense an incipient march back toward more "normal" behavior. THOMAS RIETZ, an associate professor of finance at the University of Iowa, rejects the idea that "risk is quantifiable, in fact risk is frightening to investors," right now, he says, because "something like Sept. 11 is not part of their (previous) experience." Americans today "really don't have any type of historical perspective," from U.S. history at least, to get a handle on these feelings of vulnerability they may have in Sept. 11's aftermath, Rietz adds.