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After all that, losses in key stock indexes still don't exceed 10% from recent highs. Ready to try again?

May 7, 2010 |  5:00 am

For a few minutes on Thursday, the long-awaited 10% stock market "correction" was a reality.

It helped, however, that some $50 stocks momentarily were worth pennies, thanks to computer-driven mispricing absurdities that we don't yet fully understand.

By the final bell stocks had rebounded enough to leave most major U.S. market indexes down between 6% and 9.6% from their recent 19-month closing highs (most of which were occurred on April 23).

Closer, but still no official correction, which has eluded bargain-hunters all through the market's 14-month-long rebound from the lows of March 2009.

Nyse Nor is this decline yet as severe as the one from Jan. 19 to Feb. 8. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 8.1% in that sell-off. So far this time it's off 7.3%.

But some industry sectors and individual stocks already have crossed the 10%-off threshold.

Within the S&P 500, the financial sector was down 10.5% as of Thursday from its recent high reached on April 14. Some bank stocks have slumped amid Europe's worsening financial crisis and the U.S. Senate's debate over the financial-regulation overhaul bill.

The basic-materials sector was down 10.1% from its recent high. China's continuing attempts to slow its economy are raising concerns about the outlook for prices of key commodities such as copper.

As would be expected in a stock market sell-off, the classic "defensive" sector of consumer staples (food products, toiletries, etc.) is holding up best. The S&P consumer-staples sector was off just 4.7% through Thursday from its 52-week high reached in late March.

Here are major market indexes, their declines from their recent highs and their year-to-date percentage changes, all through Thursday's close:

--- Dow industrials: down 6.1% from the high, up 0.9% year to date.

--- Dow transports: down 8.2%, up 7.6%.

--- S&P 500: down 7.3%, up 1.2%.

--- Nasdaq composite: down 8.3%, up 2.2%.

--- S&P small-cap: down 8.5%, up 8.5%.

--- Russell 2,000: down 9.4%, up 7.5%.

--- Russell micro-cap: down 9.6%, up 10.6%.

--- S&P mid-cap: down 8.7%, up 6.8%.

--- New York Stock Exchange composite: down 9.3%, down 2.4%.

-- Tom Petruno

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