Friday, October 13, 2000

Fear fuels Dow's dive


379-point plunge fifth-largest ever

By Amy Higgins
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A scary stock market grew scarier Thursday when a string of negative events drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its fifth-largest point loss ever.

        “Markets are driven by fear and greed; fear was the emotion du jour,” said Ellie Moffat, vice president and portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor downtown.

TOP 10 DROPS
        The worst days for the Dow, in terms of points lost, including the percentage change in value:

    • April 14, 2000 — 617.78, to 10,305.77, 5.66%
    • Oct. 27, 1997 — 554.26 to 7,161.15, 7.18%
    • Aug. 31, 1998 — 512.61 to 7,539.07, 6.37%
    • Oct. 19, 1987 — 508.00 to 1,738.74, 22.60%
    • Oct. 12, 2000 — 379.21 to 10,034.58, 3.64%
    • March 7, 2000 — 374.47 to 9,796.03, 3.68%
    • Jan. 4, 2000 — 359.58 to 10,997.93, 3.17%
    • Aug. 27, 1998 — 357.36 to 8,165.99, 4.19%
    • Aug. 4, 1998 — 299.43 to 8,487.31, 3.41%
    • Feb. 18, 2000 — 295.05 to 10,219.52, 2.81%

        Stocks already in a steady fall nose-dived. The Dow closed down 379.21 at 10,034.58, a 3.6 percent decline, according to prelimi nary results. The Enquirer 80 Index fell 1.84 percent, or 3.52 points, to 187.87.

        Broader markets were also lower. The Nasdaq composite was down 93.81 to 3074.68 — its lowest close of 2000, extending a post-Labor Day slide dominated by fears that technology companies aren't growing fast enough to justify lofty stock prices.

        The Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 34.81 to 1329.78.

        “In an already nervous market, this is all we didn't need,” said Al Goldman, an analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. in St. Louis. “A terrorist attack, increased hostilities in the Middle East and a spike in oil prices — shake it all up and you get blind dumping of stocks.”

        The apparent terrorist attack on a U.S. military ship in Yemen sent oil prices up as much as 10 percent, helping to reignite inflation fears. And Israeli combat helicopters rocketed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's residential compound in the Gaza Strip as well as a West Bank town in retaliation for the slayings of Israeli sol diers.

        Oil prices reached $37 a barrel at one point on the New York Mercantile Exchange, nearing their recent 10-year high of $37.80 a barrel. Crude futures closed Thursday at $36.06, up $2.81.

        Meanwhile, shares of Home Depot, the nation's largest home improvement retailer, tumbled $14.06, or 29 percent, to $34.88 after it warned Thursday of lower-than-expected earnings, primarily because of material costs.

        “Home Depot is the case of Cadillac — the leading retailer in the most alluring segment of retailing — finally losing steam,” said Chuck Stutenroth, vice president and portfolio manager at Fort Washington Investments.

        The news sent other retailers down as well, including Wal-Mart, which fell $1.19 to $44.13. Financial stocks, which tend to be sensitive to inflation concerns, also suffered: J.P. Morgan, which is also a Dow component, fell $10.81 to $136.

        Fears that higher oil costs would hurt airlines sent Continental Airlines down $2.75 at $41.19.

        This story contains information from The Associated Press

       



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