Nightmare on Wall Street: Dow Plummets 616, Nasdaq Hammered by 356

For the first time since September 1994, the Comp lost ground every day this week.
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The trading week died at 3 p.m. EDT and fell into its weekend grave face first. Markets leaked money amid heavy selling, somehow revitalizing and updating the cliche "Thank God it's Friday."

Thank God it's

over.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was perfectly awful, dropping on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and well, today, putting together its first no-hit week since Sept. 19-23, 1994. The Comp ended off 357 to 3320, which is a 9.7% drop. That's the worst single day fall in Nasdaq history and the second-worst percentage drop.

This week's grand total loss was 1,131 points, which makes this, the second week of April, the worst week in Nasdaq history. The worst, third-worst and fourth-worst net losses in Nasdaq history happened this week. Monday's 286-point stumble started the week with a bust and Wednesday's 258-point fall chased misery with misery.

Today's close turns the Nasdaq's clock back to early December, when it last closed this low. Four months of record closes, run-ups and buying have vanished this week.

As for today's fall, it was nothing more than a continuation of yesterday's late-session trail-off. The Comp was saved by the bell yesterday, coughing up a day-long rally for a 93-point loss. This morning, the Comp opened up 80 points lower and things never got any better. A rash of margin calls just before lunch sent the Comp down to 3375, a session low untested until the last hour of trading, when, in keeping with a week-long tradition, the Comp made room beneath the floorboards and dug itself a basement.

There were more gunmen responsible for the death of the Comp, than there were when Sonny got greased in

The Godfather

tollbooth scene. Nearly every sector was down. The lone exception was gold. Name an index, it was down. Biotechs, telcos, bankers, chipmakers, brokers, retailers, mid-caps, large-caps, small-caps. A list of the losers was a who's who of Wall Street.

It's not that the Comp couldn't get its footing. It's that the Comp couldn't get out of its early hole.

With the Comp laid up, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

might've taken the opportunity to reap the benefits of a four-letter sell-off, like it did earlier in the week, when it rose close to 280 points on Monday and Tuesday. Older stocks got a boost as money pumped out of the hemorrhaging Comp.

The Dow didn't do that today. In fact, the Dow hasn't done much of anything after Wednesday's late-day plummet that stole triple-digit gains from the blue-chips and handed back a 160-point drop. The Dow ended off 616.2 to 10,307.32, capping a three-day skid that dropped industrials 975 points.

Every blue-chip finished in a bodybag. The last man standing was

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

, which succumbed to the sellers in the last hour of trading. The remaining 29 industrials hit the canvas early and stayed down for the count. Financials were the worst, with

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

adding a combined 131 points to the Dow loss.

Technology was terrible, with

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

adding a combined 129 to the Dow loss.

Still, it feels kind of foolish to call something the worst, or even terrible, when everything was down so much. That's like offering a choice between poisons.

Money managers take note, the

S&P 500

dropped 83 to 1357 today. That's a five-day skid for the benchmark, which dropped 160. Still, for those people who need to outperform the S&P 500 and have to answer to clients, that's still much better than the week-long plunge in the Nasdaq.

The

Russell 2000

fell 36 to 454. This was also a perfectly awful week for the little guys. It closed last Friday at 543 and has fallen 89 since then. As of today's close, the Russell traded at a level unseen since the first week of December, just like the Nasdaq.