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MARKETS IN CRISIS

How a Nation's Investors Hear the Bear's Growl

July 21, 2002

The sharp stock market decline of the last two years has produced the longest bear market since the 1940s, driving the Dow Jones industrial average and other major indexes to their lowest levels since at least 1998. It's a market decline that has wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth in two years. A market decline that seems unwilling to stop.

But it's not just a market of brutal facts and figures. It's a market of real people. With more than half of U.S. households owning stocks, many have seen their hard-earned savings decline, their dreams of greater wealth or early retirement delayed.

Some have compensated by cutting back on vacations, eating out less, trimming other expenses. Some have delayed retirements. Some have cut back on charitable donations. Some are working to earn more.

Some have thrown in the towel on the market. Some are sticking it out, hoping for the declines to end. Some want to invest more.

Here are stories of investors from Southern California and across the country, and their travails with the Great Bear Market of the new century: A39

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