'Really ugly' market hits 5-year low Bleak outlook on earnings tightens downward pressure
October 11, 2002 Carol Emert, Chronicle Staff Writer Stock downgrades of three major companies -- General Motors Corp., General Electric Corp. and J.P. Morgan & Co. -- sent the Dow Jones industrial average to a five-year low Wednesday while the Standard & Poor's 500 tumbled 2. 73 percent. "This stock market is just really ugly," said economist Donald Straszheim, who expects the stock tailspin to continue at least until spring. "I hate to be so pessimistic, but for the next few months, I think it's appropriate." Third-quarter earnings estimates, which are starting to roll in, are expected to include new, bleak outlooks for the fourth quarter and early next year, market experts said. "I think we're probably going to see more earnings estimates lowered than raised all winter," said Straszheim of Straszheim Global Advisors in Santa Monica. The blue-chip Dow sank 215 points Wednesday, or 2.87 percent, to close at 7, 286.27. That marked its lowest level since October 1997 and brought the index of 30 large companies down 26.60 percent this year. The S&P 500 fell 2.73 percent, or 21.79 points Wednesday, ending at 776.76, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq declined 1.34 percent, or 15.10 points, to close at 1,114.11. The S&P has fallen 31.91 percent this year while the Nasdaq has skidded 43.55 percent. sfgate.com