by Gary Alexander

April 23, 2024

Sunset Monday night marked the start of Passover, the most sacred date on the spring Jewish calendar, but the celebration doesn’t end tonight. It will continue for the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, through April 30, in a spring ritual involving the removal of all leavened products – every last crumb.

Spring house cleaning is a tradition in gentile households, too – and that brings us to this downbeat April stock market, with the major indexes down 5% or more through the first three weeks of this traditionally strong month, with even some of those once-mighty Magnificent 7 tech giants falling on their swords.

Almost 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Today, these top seven tech stocks act as leaven. They became so big and powerful that they leavened the whole lump, lording it over the other 493 stocks in the S&P 500, or the 93 dwarfs in the NASDAQ 100.


Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

The Mag-7 stocks leavened the lump in 2023, leading the S&P 500 to a 24% return. Without that leaven, according to S&P Dow Jones, the S&P’s gain would have been about 10%. In 2024’s first quarter, the Fab 4 of the Mag 7 rose an average 36%, while the other three lost 11%, for a net +17% for the Mag-7.

So, it may be time to hoover our portfolios a bit, to un-leaven any lumpy distributions. As usual, I’ll take history as our guide to any puffed-up loaves of tech stocks, using April 24 as a lodestar.

Some Great Tech Stock Leavenings in History – Cars, Rails, Computers and PCs

First came the rails: On April 24, 1832, the New York state legislature granted a charter to the Great Erie Railroad, but in the State’s Rights tradition of the day, all routes had to lie entirely within New York State and not connect to any other state’s lines, so Erie ran 483 miles from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

Sixty years later, railroad stocks dominated the New York Stock Exchange, leading to the Panic of 1893, which I wrote about here last November, resulting in a vast sorting out of a few winners and many losers.


Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

The next high-tech craze was cars: In 1920, there were over 1,000 car companies in America but by 1930, the Big Three dominated the Big Board. The sorting out began on April 24, 1920 (a Saturday, no less), courtesy of “the Stutz-bear raiders.” In 1920, a Model T cost about $500, but a sporty little Stutz-Bearcat cost $2,000. (You might think of a comparison today between a popular EV vs. some fossil fuel sedans).

The glamorous Stutz stock had quadrupled in the previous three months, bringing out the bears (Bearcats?), so Stutz chairman Allan Ryan demanded 58 brokers (who were short Stutz stock) meet in his office that weekend to make a bid on his stock. Their bids averaged $550 a share for a stock that was only $100 in January, so that morning, Allan Ryan made over $1 million (New York Times, April 25, 1920), but in 1922, the stock traded for just $5 on the Curb exchange, outside NYSE’s doors, losing 99% in two years.


The third high tech boom was computers: On April 25, 1961, Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby received a patent for the integrated circuit – a chip of electronic components in semi-conductive material – the start of the Computer Revolution, but before a decade had passed, on April 22, 1970 (the first “Earth Day”), Ross Perot suffered a market “back to earth” day, as the Texas billionaire’s EDS stock began a free fall, losing $60 a share that day, costing Perot roughly $450 million on paper. Perot didn’t seem particularly fazed by this loss. He reasoned that the day’s loss, as well as all previous gains, were only on paper.

Tech stocks fell precipitously in the second quarter of 1970. The S&P 500 fell 9% in April, another 6% in May and 5% in June, for a cumulative 19% drop in the second quarter. The Dow lost 13% that quarter, and 36% from December 1968 to May 1970. The core of the loss came from April 20 to May 26 – down 19% in five weeks in both indexes. (There was no NASDAQ yet. If there were, it would have been down by maybe 50%, as the average computer stock fell 80% from late 1968 to the 1970 nadir.) Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems fell 85%, from $162 to $24 (its peak P/E ratio was 352:1). Other big -name computer stocks crashed, too: Control Data fell 83%, Mohawk Data -84%, Sperry Rand -72%, and NCR -64%. Lesser-known names fell over 90%: University Computing (-93%) and DP Financial (-94%).

Next came the PC revolution, On April 24, 1984, Apple unveiled its Apple IIc portable computer at a media extravaganza in San Francisco, featuring banners hailing “Apple II Forever.” Apple portrayed IBM as Orwell’s Big Brother in the famous 1984 Super Bowl ad, but Big Blue soon faded into obscurity until Lou Gerstner was appointed CEO in April 1993. In 1993, the company lost $8.1 billion, but a decade after “Apple II Forever,’ on April 26, 1994, Gerstner announced that IBM would see its first profits since 1990. Gerstner had been on the job for just over a year, but he proved both Apple and IBM could survive.

So here we are at the birth of AI, and a vast sorting out is just beginning. I can’t tell anyone what to buy or sell here, but I always feel safer taking some profits off the table and letting the rest of the profits run. In disclosing my holdings, I must say I don’t own any of the names mentioned here, but I own some of their lesser tech cousins and have taken some of the profits off the table while letting the rest rise or fall.

Have a great week of sampling some unleavened bread, or spring cleaning – in your home and portfolio.

Navellier & Associates owns Nvidia Corp (NVDA), in managed. Some accounts own, Inc. (AMZN), Apple Computer (AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Meta Platforms Inc Class A (META),  Alphabet Inc. Class A & C (GOOG), and Tesla (TSLA). We do not own Ford (F), or IBM Common (IBM). Gary Alexander does not personally own Nvidia Corp (NVDA),, Inc. (AMZN), Apple Computer (AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Meta Platforms Inc Class A (META), Alphabet Inc. Class A & C (GOOG), Tesla (TSLA), Ford (F), or IBM Common (IBM).

All content above represents the opinion of Gary Alexander of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

Please see important disclosures below.

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It Looks Like Some Middle East Missiles are Pure Theater

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The Big Money Index Finally Sees Some Selling

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Read Past Issues Here

About The Author

Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander

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