The invaluable Tech Ticker pour more gasoline on the fire we started yesterday on the historical decline of the U.S. stock market in 2008.
Says TT; "Any way you slice it, the 2008 is shaping up to annus horribilis for the U.S. stock market. Heading into Friday's session, in which an early rally effort quickly faded, the S&P was down 49% year-to-date and on track for its worst year ever. Down 43% year to date, the Dow is heading for its second worst year in history, the WSJ reports, trailing only the 53% decline in 1931."
An astonishing number of one high-flying stocks are now trading at historic lows. Cue the tape, Tech Ticker . . .
-- 115 S&P stocks were trading under $10
-- 41 were trading under $5
-- 204 were trading with a market cap of less than $4 billion
Typically, S&P stocks are pretty big deals, with market caps averaging north of $4 billion and stock prices that trade above $5. Lots of fund manages are banned from owning stocks that sink below $5 (hello, Citibank), so we really are entering into a new financial world order. Also, the $5 rule is bad for market business. If fund managers have to automatically sell stocks that fall below $5 per share, imagine the carnage if valuations trigger a huge run on selling based on the $5 rule?
Tech Ticker points out that Alan Greenspan made his famous "irrational exuberance" comment in December, 1996 - when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 6,400. Many smart guys think we're going there again - only irrational exuberance won't be lubricating the engine anymore.
One tech stock trading at around that $5 level is Tivo, which picked a lousy time to get some bad news from the legal system. Earlier today, Tivo discovered it would be going to trial versus Dish Network, Tivo has claimed that Dish's new software for its digital video recorders violates TiVo's patents that allow playback of live TV.
Dish is touting the judicial ruling as a big victory, saying that it's counterclaim against Tivo now has added legal merit.
Wall Street analysts agreed. The delay is "likely to be viewed as a setback for TiVo," said analyst Todd Mitchell of Kaufman Bros. in a research note on Friday. The February hearing is a "good indication the judge thinks there is some validity to (Dish's) claim," Mitchell said.
Mitchell slashed his target price on TiVo to $8 from $12 but held firm to his 'Buy' rating.
After the ruling, shares of TiVo slid 70 cents, or 14 percent, to $4.38 in Friday's trading session. Dish rose 41 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $8.78.