Make us your home page

Bear or not, this market is grisly

Bears clawed their way into the stock market this week amid rising anxiety over oil prices and problems in the financial sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 500 points over the past two days and traded in bear market territory Friday before closing at 11,346.51, down 106.91 points.

The blue chip indicator has lost 2,818 points since October's peak, a drop of 19.9 percent. Many investors view a 20 percent decline as confirmation of a bear market, as opposed to a mere "correction." However, others say there is no magic number that defines a bear, which is a prolonged period of falling prices and investor gloom.

Many investors certainly were feeling gloomy Friday as crude oil hit another record at $142.99 a barrel, and stocks continued their slide.

"Energy prices are driving the market now," said Kenneth City retiree Bob Girard, 73. "My stocks are all going down. When you're on a fixed income, it hurts even more."

Others were taking the decline in stride.

"This has happened before, and it's going to happen again," said Evelyn Bothwell, 51, of St. Petersburg, a neonatal nurse. "I started buying funds back in 1977, and I know when you're investing for the long term, you have to just hang in there."

Given a severe drop in consumer confidence and the sluggish economy, analysts are sharply divided over whether the markets are in short-term fall or at the beginning of a deeper, recessionary trading environment. The last bear market, in 2000 to 2002, was triggered by the dot-com bust.

"The problem is that there's not one, single worry," said Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief investment officer of Johnson Illington Advisors. He pointed to high gas prices, still-tight credit market conditions and the contracting housing market. "If you're looking for problems that face investors, that face the U.S. economy, they're everywhere."

"People are trading with a lot of emotion," said Alexander Paris, an economist and market analyst for Chicago-based Barrington Research. "I think the market is trying to make a bottom, but the question is will it hold there or just crash through."

Jeffrey Saut, chief market strategist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, predicts the rout could be over as soon as next week.

"It's 28 (trading) sessions since the selling stampede started," he said. "These things rarely go more than 30 sessions unless we're into a crash, and I put the odds of that at one in 10. My oversold indicators are more oversold than they've been in the past couple of years. For the well-prepared investor, I think next week might present a pretty good buying opportunity."

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Helen Huntley can be reached at (727) 893-8230 or

Bear or not, this market is grisly 06/27/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2008 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]