Tracking the Bellwethers: Apple Inc, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, and General Electric Co

11/06/2008 10:19 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Nick Perry

Equity Options Trader, Schaeffer's Investment Research

In a previous post on my blog, I discussed the idea of tracking some of the "bellwether" names as a gauge for overall buying demand. I identified Apple Inc (AAPL), Google Inc (GOOG), Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and General Electric Co (GE) as one such group. The logic is that these are some of the most well-known, and well-liked, stocks out there. If investors are looking to put money to work, it makes sense that they might think of these companies first. On the other hand, a breakdown in these names might suggest an underlying erosion of confidence.

To see how this was playing out, I have two versions of each chart. The one on the left shows what we saw when we looked at these stocks in the link above. The chart on the right shows the performance through today. The dotted line marks October 7.

Current as of October 7 Current as of Today

Charts Courtesy of Thomson Financial

Unfortunately, this yields a somewhat murky picture. Shares of Apple have been able to stage a bounce, but the others have struggled and are more or less unchanged from where they stood last month. Perhaps the one bright spot is that all of them are at least off their lows. As we watch the market selloff here, that is something to keep an eye on.

By Nick Perry of Schaeffer’s Trading Floor Blog

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