A Chronicle of Financial Calamity
1. The worst market crash since the Great Depression, with U.S. stocks losing 50.2% of their value—or $7.4 trillion—between March 2000 and October 2002.
2. Far deeper drops in the share prices of the hottest companies of the 1990s, including AOL, Cisco, JDS Uniphase, Lucent, and Qualcomm—plus the utter destruction of hundreds of Internet stocks.
3. Accusations of massive financial fraud at some of the largest and most respected corporations in America, including Enron, Tyco, and Xerox.
4. The bankruptcies of such once-glistening companies as Con- seco, Global Crossing, and WorldCom.
5. Allegations that accounting firms cooked the books, and even destroyed records, to help their clients mislead the investing public.
6. Charges that top executives at leading companies siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars for their own personal gain.
7. Proof that security analysts on Wall Street praised stocks publicly but admitted privately that they were garbage.
8. A stock market that, even after its bloodcurdling decline, seems overvalued by historical measures, suggesting to many experts that stocks have further yet to fall.
9. A relentless decline in interest rates that has left investors with no attractive alternative to stocks.
10. An investing environment bristling with the unpredictable menace of global terrorism and war in the Middle East.
Source: "The Intelligent Investor", Benjamin Graham