The worst opening week for U.S. stocks has shoved a Colorado market index firmly into the claws of a bear market.

The Dow Jones Industrial average is down 10.1 percent

from the high it reached May 9, while the Nasdaq composite is down 11 percent from its July 20 high.

That meets the definition of a correction — defined as a 10 percent or greater drop in price from a recent peak. A correction becomes a bear market when prices fall 20 percent or more.

By that definition, the Bloomberg Colorado index, a basket of 75 stocks based in the state, is growling with a 27.1 percent decline since its April 21 high.

The Bloomberg Colorado index already was dancing on the edge of bear-market territory at the end of 2015, but an 8.3 percent drop this year has removed any doubts.

The state index is price-weighted, meaning higher-priced shares have more influence on its performance than lower-priced ones.

Ongoing food-safety troubles at Chipotle Mexican Grill, whose shares account for about a fifth of the index's total weight, have hurt.

For years, the Denver-based restaurant chain seemed unstoppable. But its shares have suffered a 45.5 percent plunge from the Aug. 5 peak, including a 13.9 percent drop so far this year.

At the end of the third quarter of 2015, Chipotle had a market value of $22.5 billion — making it the state's second-largest company in market value. It now ranks fifth, with a value of $12.9 billion.


Shares of Dish Network, the state's largest public company in market value, have fallen 5.9 percent this year and by nearly a third from a high set Nov. 28, 2014.

So count the Douglas County satellite-television provider among those that have disappeared into the bear's lair.

Shares of Broomfield-based Level 3 Communications, the state's second-largest public company in value, have fared better, falling 8.1 percent this year and 12.2 percent from a high set May 4.

Here's an example why bear maulings are so hard to overcome: Investors once valued Level 3 shares at $1,952.74 during the dot-com peak in March 2000. The broadband company is now valued at $49.95 a share, or about $20 billion below its all-time peak.

Molson Coors Brewing, the state's third-largest company, seemed to defy the downward pressure on stocks last year as merger mania gripped the beer industry. Its shares, however, are down 6.2 percent from the high reached Dec. 4, including a 5 percent decline this year.

DaVita HealthCare Partners, the state's fourth-largest company in market value, is about to slip into the bear market's grip. Its shares are down 19.7 percent from a May 28 high.

Many of the state's energy stocks, both traditional and alternative, have been laid to waste and left for dead.

Whiting Petroleum is down 91.4 percent from its high Aug. 29, 2014, including a 17.7 percent drop this year. Triangle Petroleum has shaved 94.5 percent from the high it reached June 23, 2014, including a 12.6 percent tear in market value this year.

Ascent Solar Technologies shares are down 20.9 percent this year. At 11 cents, they are a faint shadow of the $267.50 price commanded Dec. 28, 2007.

One group of Colorado stocks that tried to stay positive during this past brutal week were miners of gold and rare metals, which often are viewed as a store of value in uncertain times.

But by Friday, many of those gains were surrendered.

Shares of Denver-based Newmont Mining, a leading gold miner, were up 4.8 percent for the year Thursday but up only 0.11 percent at Friday's close.

Newmont shares have shed three-quarters of their value from a November 2011 high.

Aldo Svaldi: 303-954-1410, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @aldosvaldi

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