Stocks & Bombs

The uncertainty in the Middle East is causing ripples at home financially. A revolution in Basra helped the stock market climb Tuesday, just a day after posting the biggest loss of the year.

The market surges and lags as investors follow the war, and that's causing some anxious moments for some East Texans concerned about their portfolios and retirement plans. Premier Fitness owner Cune Pena spent the afternoon working out, but his concern wasn't his pecs. It was his portfolio.

"I kind of let my wife look at the statements now," Pena says. "Especially right now, I don't even look at them. I'll wait."

The war in Iraq is causing investors concern. Last week, the market had the greatest gain in over twenty years. Then a big loss, followed by a three hundred point gain. People watching the war are also watching their investments.

"With most people, it's an emotional thing," Certified Financial Planner Jose Feliciano explains, "Since of course money does impact our lives and things that are important to us."

Feliciano advises calm, and warns against knee-jerk reactions to the stock market.

"If you're a short term investor," he says, "I think of course it's a concern, but if you're a long term investor and you did proper planning, it's just a dip in the market and I'm sure it will straighten out in time."

When word came down Tuesday of the uprising in Basra, stocks jumped a hundred points. Since the war in Iraq is not on a timetable, expect more fluctuations in the markets as more information comes out. Fluctuations are expected with the uncertainty of war, but for investors like Cune, they feel the best plan is just to stay the course.

"The bottom line is that it's up to us, but we have a long term plan," Pena says. "As long as I'm looking at it long term, there's no need to worry about it now."

So while the numbers may be alarming at times, the end results may still be the same.

"We've been through this before," Feliciano says. "We have the best economic system in the world, and I really believe people should just sit and hold. The good days are coming."

Reid Kerr ( reporting.