Quarterly Investment Guide

Debt ceiling flashback: The biggest decliners

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The late summer of 2011 was one of the worst periods in Wall Street's recent history. Fears about U.S. job growth, plus the uncertainty over Europe and Japan, made investors more nervous than they had been at any point since the depths of the financial crisis.

Over six weeks from the beginning of July through early August, the Dow Jones industrial average lost about 15 percent of its value.

All of that uncertainty was exacerbated by the last debt ceiling crisis, as a fight between the White House and Congress over the national debt threatened to take the country into uncharted territory. A deal on the last possible day saved the country from defaulting on its financial obligations – but only just barely.

(Read more: CNBC Explains the debt ceiling)

For those who have forgotten the pain the market felt just two years ago, following is a list of some of the companies who were mostly badly hurt during the period from July 1 to August 31, 2011.

—Published Oct. 7, 2013

Bank of America (-26.2 percent)


The bank faced a crisis of confidence, as investors questioned whether it had sufficient capital. At the depths of that crisis, Warren Buffett swept in with a $5 billion investment that put the bank back on its feet in the public's eyes.

American International Group (-15.1 percent)


The insurer, which was at the time majority owned by the U.S. government, faced doubts about the strength of its turnaround and the timing of the government's sale of the company.

MGIC Investment (-57.4 percent)


The crisis put huge pressure on mortgage insurers' capital, threatening their ability to survive, and MGIC's shares felt that more acutely than most.

Alpha Natural Resources (-29.3 percent)


The summer of 2011 also saw talk of a "commodities crash" that affected resources companies like Alpha Natural, a coal miner.

Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares (-42.2 percent)


ETF investors got punished during the crisis too, particularly those with exposures to financials.