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The new efficiency: 41% of the damage in 16% of the time

Posted by: Howard Silverblatt on March 6, 2008

With today’s 2.20% S&P 500 decline, the index has lost $2.39 trillion in 149 days (103 trading), compared to $5.77 trillion in the 929 days (637) during the 2000-2002 bear market: 41% of the damage in 16% of the time. The sector breakdown however is completely different. While Technology, that had gone up the most in the late 1990s, was the standout decliner during the bear market of 2000-2, this market has spread the damage around (very democratic, especially in an election year). Financials have taken the greatest loss, declining 32.9% since the October 9, 2007 highs, with Telecommunications down 24.1%, Consumer Discretionary off 19.9% and Information Technology off 19.7%. All ten sectors are down YTD and from the October highs, with six of them (plus the index itself) posting an official correction, as defined by at least a 10% decline in price. The best of the ten, Energy, is down 3.11%.

YTD, that’s 9 (20%) up days of at least 1% and 14 (31.1%) down days of at least 1%; which would rank third highest on an annual basis. As far as YTD starts go, we now rank third worst in that.

Reader Comments

Vito Z

May 31, 2010 9:24 AM

Actually, I tend to believe this lower number. What I really think, however, is that most employees roll over their 401(k) plans into IRA's much more frequently than is ever indicated. That is because so many people change jobs so frequently, whether voluntarily or not. If an employee has been with the company few years, that company can distribute the contents of a 401(k) to its owner if the balance is less than $5000, It's in the (former) employee's best interest to park any money he or she can consolidate into an IRA.
What I really want to see are statistics for median IRA balances, both (non)deductible and Roth. This could help flesh out the picture on retirement savings much better. I suspect that these numbers are quite a bit larger than those for 401(k) plans and their ilk.


July 19, 2010 8:01 PM

I believe $12K sounds more like it. My 401K is well into 6 figures as I am a saver. But, among my peers in my upper middle class neighborhood, I am a "freak". That is correct. Most of my counterparts live well beyond their means.
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October 27, 2010 9:31 PM

My 401K balance is 255,000. Age 49. I still believe that I cannot retire on that 401K and I am looking for additional work and do all my repairs myself.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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