Wall Street searches for bottom after worst weekly pounding

NEW YORK, October 11, 2008 (AFP) – Wall Street’s worst meltdown in recent memory ended the week with a whimper, leaving panicked investors wondering whether the vicious selloff will end soon or will keep ravaging the market.

Ironically, some analysts say the meltdown on Wall Street and other global markets could mean a “bottom” has been established, but it remained unclear whether shell-shocked investors were ready to emerge to start buying again.

“The market is moving more on emotion right now than fundamental logic,” said Sam Stovall, analyst at Standard and Poor’s.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue chips lost a dizzying 18 percent for the week to 8,451.19 on seven straight consecutive declines as the indexes plumbed five-year lows.

The broad-market Standard & Poor’s 500 index retreated 18.2 percent to 899.22 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite tumbled 15.3 percent to 1,649.51.

Mark Fightmaster at Schaeffer’s Investment Research said the weekly losses were the worst on record for the Dow and S&P indexes.

But the losses were more limited Friday amid heightened volatility, leading to a smidgen of hope for battered investors.

Barry Ritholtz at Ritholtz Research & Analytics s