Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dow -370, Worst Loss of 2008; Top Ten Declines of the Year

This is how it goes n bear markets: sharp rallies followed by devastating declines. As New Yorkers toasted the Super Bowl champion Giants with a ticker-tape parade, Tuesday's action on Wall Street was nothing short of a bloodbath.

By the time the closing bell rang, the Dow had registered its worst performance in what's turning out, so far, to be a very difficult year for bullish investors.

On the Dow, stocks opened 100 points below the previous close and slipped 200 points within the first 20 minutes. From there, all the indices drifted lower for the remainder of the session without even a hint of a rally.

What set the markets on their collective ears was the January reading by the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) Services index, which drooped to 41.9, from a revised 53.2 the previous month. A reading below 50 indicates contraction; the unexpected decline reignited recessionary fears.

The ISM noted that its new non-manufacturing index measured 44.6% using a new methodology. Nevertheless, the number was devastating no matter how it was computed.

Dow 12,265.13 -370.03; NASDAQ 2,309.57 -73.28; S&P 500 1,336.64 -44.18; NYSE Composite 8,874.50 -327.61

As the day wound to a close, volume accelerated and the indices closed at, or very close to, their lows of the day. Though the weight of trade was somewhat moderate, there was absolutely no doubt as to the direction.

All 30 of the blue chips closed in the red, an indication of the carnage. Leading the way was beleaguered Cititgroup (C) -2.12 (-7.43), with 8 other Dow stocks down more than 4%. The only standout was McDonald's (MCD), which closed only 0.04 lower.

Here's a list of the ten largest losses on the Dow so far in 2008:

Feb. 5: -370 points
Jan. 17: -307
Jan. 15: -277
Jan. 4: -256
Jan. 10: -247
Jan. 9: -238
Jan. 2: -221
Jan. 25: -171
Jan. 22: -128
Feb. 4: -108

Bear in mind, there have only been 24 trading sessions thus far into the new year.

Losing issues beat back gainers, 5022-1275. New lows expanded the gap over new highs, 180-61.

Commodity traders were equally discouraged. Oil futures slipped $1.61, to $88.41. Gold was hammered down $19.10, to $890.30, while sister silver fell 44 cents to $16.35.

After a 1300+ intra-day point run on the Dow, the index has given back nearly 500 points in the past two sessions. All indicators are lining up in favor of a recession. The only people not yet convinced are the hopelessly clueless and the dead.

In a related issue, Downtown Magazine's (parent publication of Money Daily) new Misery News Index showed gains of between 10 and 20% week over week for most of the referenced terms. The Misery News Index tracks news stories containing one of twelve search words, such as inflation, layoffs, recession and homeless.

NYSE Volume 4,142,740,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,435,409,000

No comments: