If Sept. 11 never happened, would the stock market look different today? On the one-year anniversary of the cataclysmic event that reshaped many aspects of American life, the surprising answer appears to be no, with few exceptions.
has revisited the industries that were expected to be most directly affected by terror. One year later, despite psychic wounds that have yet to heal and stock market gyrations in the months after Sept. 11, it seems that terror failed to fundamentally alter industry landscapes. Instead, it mainly accelerated trends that already were firmly in place.
In the defense industry, the knee-jerk response was to buy up sector names -- and the knee-jerks were right. However, as Odette Galli reports in "
Battle Against Terror Boosts Defense Sector," this trend already had taken hold as part of the "Bush Effect" months earlier. And post-Sept. 11, some of the biggest beneficiaries weren't the usual suspects.
The security-software industry was another sector with raised expectations in the initial days after Sept. 11, when the term "cyber-terrorism" entered the headlines. But while security moved up on the radar screen of chief information officers, it was overshadowed by a bigger problem, the virtual freeze in business spending on technology, as Ronna Abramson reports in "
Security Software Gets Mind Share, but Not Sales."
Likewise, the storage sector was touted as a possible strong performer after Sept. 11. But again, the halt in information-technology spending and increase in competition proved crippling, as K.C. Swanson writes in her story, "
Disaster Recovery Needs Didn't Stop Storage's Slide."
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Another false ray of light was the "terror portfolio" that garnered attention post-Sept. 11, as Tim Arango reports in his piece, "
Stock Market's Terror Trend Plays Out Predictably." Stocks of companies with plans for face recognition technology, food irradiation gear and bomb detection devices ran up, only to crash. The fad sector has the dubious distinction of being the only post-Sept. 11 bubble -- inflating and bursting within 12 months.
The airline industry, or course, was devastated. But as Eric Gillin reports in "
Airline Woes Preceded Sept. 11, and Still Remain," the terrorism wasn't the genesis of the sector's crisis. It merely sped up its process -- and it is speeding up a much-needed industry overhaul.
In the lodging sector, the Sept. 11 attacks are cited as a major reason for the precipitous decline in demand. But the events may have been only the catalyst for bullish investors to see the real erosion in hotel fundamentals, as Chris Edmonds reports in "
Lodging Woes Linger in Troubled Times."