Investors may be aware of Congress' game of chicken with the fiscal cliff. But what's starting to get some just as nervous is the sputtering of many market leaders.
Apple became the latest market darling to swoon, falling more than 20% from its recent high, chipping away at another piece of bedrock that investors were leaning on.
The market's heavy reliance on leading stocks, such as Apple, may have been fine when they were going up, but now that they're starting to crack, it's just another knock for investors to deal with.
The fall in shares of Apple, along with other favorite stocks, is a major anchor for the rest of the stock market to overcome. Apple alone accounts for 10% of the Nasdaq composite index and 5% of the Standard & Poor's 500. Many mutual fund managers and individual investors have bet big on the stock.
Apple is just one example of a leading stock that's not behaving that way as the market sells off. Chipotle Mexican Grill is another must-own stock with many individual investors. Shares of the burrito chain are now down nearly 40% from their 52-week high.
During times such as these, investors look to other stocks and industries to emerge. Health care stocks, such as Tenet Healthcare, have shown strength. Home builders, such as Lennar, are also re-emerging from the long and dragged-out housing bust.
But investors have vested so much attention on falling leaders, their declines serve up another point of pain.
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