March 12, 2001

What A Difference A Year Makes

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Nasdaq's all-time high close. Today, the Nasdaq plunged below 2000 for the first time since December 16, 1998. What a difference a year makes!

Ninety-four of the stocks in the Nasdaq-100 were in the red at midday. As for the Dow, only 3 of the 30 stocks in the index posted gains. And the S&P; 500 sat firmly entrenched in bear market territory.

But it's not just the numbers that tell us we're in a bear market. One of the classic signs of a bear market is that, even when a company announces good news, its stock gets battered. Wal-Mart, for example, has weathered the recession better than most retailers because shoppers are choosing discount stores for their purchases. But Wal-Mart lost 2% of its value today in the market carnage.

And there are several good companies that investors have beaten to a pulp. But there are also plenty of companies that are such losers they'll be lucky to last the year. As the massacre spreads, no stock will escape unscathed.

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