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Fund Managers Soothe Investors

Mutual-fund companies would like investors to be a bit more calm and collected about the bloodletting in the stock market.

For a second consecutive day Tuesday, major fund companies were inundated with phone calls from investors nervous about the recent gyrations in stocks, which plunged for a second day before rocketing back Tuesday afternoon.

Mutual funds have become the most popular way for ordinary Americans to invest in the stock market.

Fidelity Investments, Dreyfus Corp., and other major firms all said they tried to soothe fund investors into staying put, reminding them that there is little need to fret about short-term swings because stocks are best held for the long haul.

Most fund investors were taking the advice and sitting tight. But others headed for the exits.

At T. Rowe Price Associates, investors have cashed out about 1 percent of assets from stock funds in the past two days, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore-based firm said.

Other firms, including Fidelity, Scudder, Stevens & Clark Inc., Dreyfus and Stein Roe funds also said redemptions were up, though they stressed most phone calls were just inquiries.

“It’s certainly a busy day on the phones,” said Andy Trincia, a spokesman at Fidelity Investments, the nation’s largest mutual fund company with about $416 billion in assets.

The outflows are far from a stampede, and mutual fund companies say they are well-equipped to deal with any rush by investors to redeem their fund shares.

But the selling, if it grows, could test the emergency plans of fund companies for paying cash to exiting investors, including lines of credit set up with banks in the last 12 months.

Tags: business

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