The value of the University of Maryland's endowment fund dropped nearly 18 percent after last week's record stock market drop, but the university's financial future should not be adversely affected, investment experts said.

The experts told the university board of regents committee Thursday that the school's $44.6 million endowment fund lost 17.7 percent of its value during the stock market's 29.3 percent decline between Oct. 1 and Oct. 26.

Investment analyst Troy Murray made the statements during a joint meeting of the finance and physical plants committees at the university's Eastern Shore campus at Princess Anne.

"Your managers had begun to act defensively before Oct. 19," Murray said. Alex Brown & Co. handles the university's equity investments and T. Roe Price manages its bond holdings. Both firms are based in Baltimore.

No decision was made about possible investment strategies. Murray urged the university to continue to keep its investments diversified.

Murray said the fund value is still "about even" with its value at the beginning of the year.

"It would appear our endowment has not suffered to the extent the rest of the stock market has," Finance Committee Chairman George V. McGowan said after the meeting.