Former NYSE CEO says stock selloffs are opportunities to 'back up the truck' for deals

'Use the pullbacks as great opportunities to buy great companies'

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,031.61 points or 3.5 percent Monday as the coronavirus outbreak showed signs of quickening outside of China.

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As the Dow racked up its third-biggest point drop in history, Dick Grasso, former chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, said investors should stay focused on their long-term objectives and not get shaken out of their holdings by any short-term dislocations.

“Traditionally, a retail investor reacting to a day like today inevitably does the wrong thing – they sell,” he told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto.

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Grasso pointed to the 1987 crash, the bursting of the dotcom bubble, the 2008-2009 financial crisis and President Trump’s election win as periods of stock-market volatility that turned out to be tremendous buying opportunities.

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He said that friends called him on the night of the 2016 election, when futures were down 700 points, asking him what to do and he said he told them, “Back up the truck and start buying.”

Since, U.S. stocks have soared to fresh record highs, absent the volatility of Monday.

Grasso’s comments echo those of the legendary investor Warren Buffett, who on Monday told CNBC that while the coronavirus outbreak is “scary stuff,” he doesn’t think it should “affect what you do in stocks.”

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“In any secular bull market there will be corrections,” Grasso said. “We are in a secular long-term bull market. Use the pullbacks as great opportunities to buy great companies.”