Tech Stocks Top S&P 500, Dow in 2001

January 2, 2002 ( - Computer graphics chipmaker NVIDIA was the best performing stock in the S&P 500 in 2001, climbing 308% for the year according to Instinet Research and Analytics.

The company, which makes graphics chips for Microsoft’s new Xbox, was a newcomer to the index, having just three weeks ago replaced last year’s performance king, Enron , in the blue chip standard.

Microsoft , also in the S&P 500, fared best among the 30 stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, climbing nearly 53% last year. Boeing’s 41% tumble earned it the dubious distinction of the poorest performer in the Dow.


At the bottom of the S&P 500 list was credit-card company Providian Financial , which fell more than 93% during the year. Providian has been named as a potential target for a 401(k) participant lawsuit. Enron, the largest bankruptcy in American history, is currently under fire from participants, creditors and lawmakers. Had the energy trader remained in the S&P 500, it would have topped the bottom, falling more than 99% in 2001 from $83.13/share when 2001 began.

Other shining stars in the S&P 500 included Office Depot (up 160%), Best Buy and Autozone (each ending the year 152% higher) and J.C. Penney, which ended the year 147% higher.

In addition to Providian, the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 were Corning (down 83%), US Airways (84% lower), Applied Micro Circuits (down 85%) and Palm, which was down 86% for the year.

In 1999, Qualcomm’s 2,600% surge topped the S&P 500, but the stock now trades nearly 75% lower than its 1999 high.

Dow Beaters

International Business Machines (IBM) racked up a 42% gain during the year, good enough for second place in the Dow. Johnson & Johnson’s 13% gain earned it a ‘bronze’ in the Dow performance chart, barely edging out Home Depot, which rose 12% for the year.

It was a rough year for Hewlett-Packard and American Express (each down 35%) and Merck, which lost 37%.