As stock market tanks, local financial experts caution against worrying over your 401K

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fears of the coronavirus spreading have caused the stock market to dive these past few days, including Thursday.

FILE- In this Nov. 15, 2017, file photo, new $1 bills with the signatures of U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are cut and stacked at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. Fidelity Investments says the average 401(k) balance rose to a record $112,300 last year. Part of the gain was due to surging markets, as stocks and bonds of all types rallied. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The volatile activity has some people pulling out their hair, but financial advisor Douglas Schmitz said the overall US economy is strong and you shouldn't be so worried.

“[I’ve} seen a few fluctuations, this one is a little easier to judge due to the strength of the economy that we have,” Schmitz, who works for the Fargo firm Financial Strategies Group, said.

The highs and lows are attributed to the scare sparked by the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Schmitz said he personally hasn't fielded too many calls from clients concerned for their 401Ks. Nonetheless, if you have one and approaching retirement, he suggests riding this out.

The worst thing you can do is sell your investments, especially if you're not close to retiring.

“Maybe they should allocate further into the markets, maybe they should increase their 401K contributions. Maybe they should do some things to take advantage of the situation that's here,” Schmitz said.

At North Dakota State University, economics professor Dr. Robert Hearne has been monitoring how the disease is impacting the economy.

“There is less air travel in Asia. There's less international movement, people are canceling their trips,” Hearne, who's also a Faculty Fellow at NDSU's Challey Institute for Global Innovation & Growth, said.

While Hearne agrees that the underlying US economy is strong, the global economy, Hearne said, may be a little bit different.

“We hope that are health concerns will abate...and in a couple months we go back to normal economic activity globally," Hearne said.

Both said they can't predict when the stock market will turnaround given the continued uncertainty with the coronavirus.

Thursday’s losses were the sixth straight session that Wall Street's main indexes have taken a nosedive.