Is Now the Time for Growth Stocks?

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly included Advanced Analogic and China Finance among Tuesday's largest decliners. We regret the error.

While the Dow got the headlines in yesterday's massive sell-off, it was the Nasdaq, down 3.9% for the day, that bled the deepest shade of red. Here are the Nasdaq's biggest losers:

Closing
Price

Decline

L.B. Foster (Nasdaq: FSTR  )

$20.20

21.0%

GPC Biotech

$27.50

16.3%

AsiaInfo Holdings

$6.90

15.4%

Naspers

$22.67

15.4%

Shuffle Master (Nasdaq: SHFL  )

$21.02

14.5%

Universal Stainless & Alloy

$42.50

14.5%

The9 (Nasdaq: NCTY  )

$32.55

14.3%

Home Inns & Hotels Management

$40.55

13.3%

Sources: The Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! Finance.

Of these, two are high-growth stocks. Shuffle Master and The9 are projected to increase earnings by at least 20% annually over each of the next five years.

A 20% drop in price for any stock might be justified if there were a major deterioration in fundamentals or if growth were expected to slow. But that's not what happened. Some of the top decliners, like Naspers, were already so cheap that they've caught the eye of championship fund managers.

The yin and yang of growth
But panic selling happens, and when it does, growth stocks pay the price. That's why David Gardner's Rule Breakers portfolio bled red over the summer when stocks turned south. Yesterday, it was down nearly 2%.

Besides, the market's best stocks always endure massive declines on their way to multibagger returns. Biotech Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG  ) , for example, has been a 61-bagger since 1997, yet it suffered an 80% decline from November 2000 to July 2002. Buying anywhere near the low would have massively amplified your gains.

Which brings me back to yesterday. The panicked sell-off might present a strong buying opportunity for some great growth stocks that were unfairly punished -- if, of course, the underlying business went unchanged.

If you'd like help finding some worthwhile growth candidates, consider a 30-day free trial to Rule Breakers. Six of David's top picks have already doubled. Click here to find out who they are and to get a look at the entire portfolio. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. His thoughts on growth stocks, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. Shuffle Master is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a growth stock investor's best friend.


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