New York A spike in unemployment to the highest level in nearly eight years gave investors yet another reason Friday to doubt the strength of the economy and unload stocks. Tech issues fell for the third straight session, while blue chips pulled back following a three-session advance.
Friday's decline only worsened a slump that has dragged the Dow Jones industrials down 5.9 percent from their 2002 closing high of 10,635.25, reached March 19, while the Nasdaq composite index has suffered a much steeper slide, falling 21.7 percent from its high close for the year 2,059.38 back on Jan. 4.
"We are in a bear market, particularly in the Nasdaq area of the market. The excesses we built up over many years is being taken out of the market. Just like it went to extreme levels on the upside, it is going to extreme levels on the downside," said Mark Minervini, portfolio manager of First Mark Fund and president of Quantech Research Group.