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US Stocks Tumble Below Post-September 11 Low - 2002-07-19

U.S. Stocks took a plunge Friday in a sell-off that led the index to its lowest level in almost four years. By the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 390 points (4.6 percent), which is a weekly loss of 8 percent. At its low on Friday, Blue Chips market sank more than 426 points.

U.S. stocks tumbled below its post-September 11 low this week.

Experts say the selling spree on Wall Street on Friday followed news of another criminal inquiry into a public corporation. The pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson is being investigated for fraudulent record-keeping.

William Dudley of the Investment firm Goldmann Sachs says the plummeting stock market and recent wave of corporate scandals have led to a drop in confidence among investors.

"Even those investors who want to be in equities were a little skittish and really did not want the risk, they went into what they considered safe investments," he said. "By safe I mean drugs, energy stocks. And these two sectors have really exploded on the down side. So even investors who are a little cautious now are really nervous and no body knows where to go next. It seems like every day the Dow is down and the Composite is down. So we are seeing a real lack of confidence."

Technology stocks declined too. The NASDAQ Composite Index fell 37.9 points, or 2.79 percent.

In an effort to renew investor confidence, President George W. Bush addressed Wall Street last week calling for tough measures against corporate fraud. But the U.S. stock market, which has been in trouble for two-weeks, continues to plummet.

Despite a gain after the closing bell on Wednesday, the U.S. market has tumbled for seven straight days.