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What the veterans are doing.
What is Hirsch doing now? He's shoveling money into
stocks, and he's puzzled that others aren't.

"Why are consumers schizophrenic?" he says. "When
it comes to consumer goods, sales excite them.
When it comes to financial assets, sales throw them
into a panic."

Like Hirsch, I don't know when the market is going to
turn up. But I do know that many stocks sell at
bargain prices.

Might they fall lower still? Of course. "We have no idea
if we are buying at the very bottom," Hirsch says. "We
are confident, however, that we are buying at a
substantial discount."

Buyouts increasing.
Private buyout deals such as these have long been considered the safety net for a fallen stock market. The number and value of deals began to decline in the mid- to late 1990s as prices of public companies got out of hand for these consummate value buyers. But now they are stepping up with their baskets of cash. "If the market falls off the trapeze, we are the people who provide a soft landing and a way to bounce back," said Saul A. Fox, chief executive of private equity firm Fox Paine in San Francisco.

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