Wall Street turns into a bear market

July 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's official. Wall Street is now in the throes of a bear market. With Wednesday's close at 11,216, the market has lost 20-percent of its value, since reaching an all-time high last October. And that 20- percent, means the bears are out of hibernation.

With oil prices jumping to a record high, and with worries over unemployment data, the Dow officially entered bear territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average, along with the Nasdaq, are more than 20 percent off their most recent high reached last October. That's the widely accepted standard for a bear market.

"Investors are getting very worried about the U.S. consumer. They're the main drive of the U.S. economy and when you have high oil prices, more mortgage defaults and higher unemployment, that basically means there's a lot more pressure on the U.S. consumer," said Alistair Barr, from Marketwatch.

The U.S. ADP report showed a 79,000 drop in private sector jobs last month. That's the largest decline in six years. However, what really sent stocks tumbling was the record price of oil. Crude futures began trading above $144 dollars a barrel. The closing price settled at $143.57, up more than two and a half dollars.

Financial advisor Eric Aanes says while all of this may sound overwhelming, he's telling his clients whose investments are heavily invested in stocks, to avoid making any hasty decisions.

"It's somewhat akin to taking your backpack and throwing it over the wall. You've thrown your backpack over the wall and now you have to go get it. So you've got to stay the course rather than panic and pull out and go to cash in our opinion," said Eric Aanes, from Titus Wealth Management.

Joe Ocegueda is vice president of the Silicon Valley Investment Club, an organization of 2,000 members. He sees this as a period of opportunity for those who may be looking to invest more in stocks.

"This is the time to do the investing at the time that the prices are falling," said Ocegueda.

The last bear market was back in 2001 after the dot-com meltdown. The Dow returned to a bull market in October of 2002. Analysts say how the market will perform in the days ahead, will depend largely on reaction to the June Labor Report coming out tomorrow.


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