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Same date in history, two major market turning points

October 9, 2009 |  6:00 am

Today is October 9, a date of particular significance to Wall Street in this decade.

On Oct. 9, 2002, the devastating dot-com-led bear market that began in 2000 finally bottomed, as measured by major indexes including the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average. The S&P closed at 776.76 that day; the Dow ended at 7,286.27.

Exactly five years later, on Oct. 9, 2007, the bull market that followed the 2000-2002 bear peaked, also as measured by the S&P and the Dow. They finished the day at 1,565.15 and 14,164.53, respectively.

So it would be beyond weird if the current seven-month-old bull market (or bear-market bounce, or whatever you prefer to call it) were to peak today. But only in the bizarro world of Wall Street, I suppose, could lightning hit the same unassuming target three times in a row.

Everybody's waiting for a steep pullback in share prices, and it looked like that's what was underway in the last two weeks of September. But buyers have come rushing back this week.

The S&P 500, which closed at 1,065.48 on Thursday, would have to rise just 0.6% to hit a new high for this year. Its recent closing high was 1,071.66, reached on Sept. 22.

The Dow, at 9,786.87 on Thursday, would have to gain 43 points, or a little more than 0.4%, to surpass its recent peak of 9,829.87, also set on Sept. 22.

Measured from the Oct. 9, 2007 highs, the S&P is down 31.9% and the Dow is down 30.9%.

Just out of curiosity, I asked market data firm Bespoke Investment Group if any of the stocks in the S&P 500 are higher now than at the index peak in 2007 (realizing, of course, that not all stocks in the index reached their own peaks on the same day).

Bespoke found that 57 names, or about 11% of the S&P index, were in the black as of Thursday compared with their closing prices on Oct. 9, 2007.

I figured that Apple Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would be on the list, and they are: Apple is up 12.8% since the S&P peak; Wal-Mart is up 10%.

The 10 biggest gainers are an eclectic mix. Here they are, just some market trivia for its own sake:

Stock

10/9/07

Thurs.

Gain

Southwestern Energy

$22.35

$44.76

100.3%

Tenet Healthcare

    3.45

    5.95

  72.5

Western Digital

  26.35

  36.41

  38.2

DeVry

  39.99

  54.63

  36.6

QLogic

  13.51

  18.02

  33.4

Express Scripts

  59.13

  78.20

  32.3

MasterCard

162.69

210.96

  29.7

Red Hat

  21.42

  27.60

  28.8

TJX

  29.66

  37.59

  26.7

Flowserve

  80.32

100.48

  25.1


-- Tom Petruno

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