Investors in a handful of small companies managed to come out ahead during the worst week in a year for Washington area stocks, but stockholders in blue-chip companies took a beating and the people who usually play the penny stocks bailed out.
With the Dow Jones industrial average down 630 points for the week, the corporate giants with stocks that closely track the Dow were swept away by the stock market's slide.
Other big names battered along with the five losers of the week (see chart below) were US Airways Group Inc., down 16 percent; Legg Mason Inc., down 15 percent; and General Dynamics Corp., down 15 percent.
Stocks selling for less than $3 a share are excluded from the weekly rankings because of their volatility, but many of them were whacked when the small-time speculators who trade them decided it was too risky to stay in during a big market pullback.
The Washington Post-Bloomberg regional stock index dropped nearly 5 percent, its biggest weekly decline since last October, when Wall Street was shaken by the collapse of the trading firm Long-Term Capital Management L.P.
Only 65 of the 213 stocks in the index managed to make gains for the week and four of the five biggest winners were little companies that rarely draw attention in the market.
The best performer of the week was Diehl Graphsoft Inc., a Columbia company that makes professional drafting computer software used by architects and engineers.
The stock rose $1.25 after Diehl posted record revenue of $2.7 million -- up 43 percent -- and record profit of $568,000 (19 cents a share), up 78 percent from the same period a year ago.
LCC International Inc., a wireless communications engineering firm with stock that has been in a long slump, jumped $1.68 after it was plugged by Tokyojoe, an Internet stock information provider.
New contracts helped the shares of Biospherics Inc. and Novavax Inc., while the stock of Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. rebounded from a deep loss after a prominent analyst proclaimed the stock had fallen too much and now was a bargain.