The Wall Street insider trading investigation may lead everyday investors â€” already rattled by a stock market meltdown, a one-day “flash crash” and the Madoff scandal â€” to finally conclude that the game is rigged.
“A large part of trading has to do with trust, and I don’t have it,” says Mark Swenson, a 43-year-old plumber from New Hampshire who refuses to buy individual stocks.
“When a stock moves up 10 percent, you don’t know why,” he added. “We can pretend that everyone has access to the same information, but they don’t.”
Even before news broke that federal investigators were looking into whether hedge funds traded on inside information, small-time investors were pulling their money out of stocks â€” despite a remarkable run for the market since the spring of 2009.
Americans have pulled $60 billion out of U.S. stock funds this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group. Meanwhile, investors have piled money into Treasuries and bond funds that are considered safer investments, even if they don’t return as much money. And at the same time, banks like Wells Fargo have reported that money is moving into checking and savings accounts.
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