Oct 29, 1929 was remembered as Black Tuesday
Black Tuesday hits Wall Street as investors trade 16,410,030 shares on the New YorkStock Exchange in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost, wiping out thousands of investors, and stock tickers ran hours behind because the machinery could not handle the tremendous volume of trading. In the aftermath of Black Tuesday, America and the rest of the industrialized world spiraled downward into the Great Depression.
During the 1920s, the U.S. stock market underwent rapid expansion, reaching its peak in August 1929, a period of wild speculation. By then, production had already declined and unemployment had risen, leaving stocks in great excess of their real value. Among the other causes of the eventual market collapse were low wages, the proliferation of debt, a weak agriculture, and an excess of large bank loans that could not be liquidated.
Stock prices began to decline in September and early October 1929, and on October 18 the fall began. Panic set in, and on October 24—Black Thursday—a record 12,894,650 shares were traded. Investment companies and leading bankers attempted to stabilize the market by buying up great blocks of stock, producing a moderate rally on Friday. On Monday, however, the storm broke anew, and the market went into free fall. Black Monday was followed by Black Tuesday, in which stock prices collapsed completely.
The writing was already on the wall. Elul 29 that year was October 4 1929. The decline in stock prices had started to fall and reached their crisis point 3 weeks after Elul 29.
After October 29, 1929, stock prices had nowhere to go but up, so there was considerable recovery during succeeding weeks. Overall, however, prices continued to drop as the United States slumped into the Great Depression, and by 1932 stocks were worth only about 20 percent of their value in the summer of 1929. The stock market crash of 1929 was not the sole cause of the Great Depression, but it did act to accelerate the global economic collapse of which it was also a symptom. By 1933, nearly half of America’s banks had failed, and unemployment was approaching 15 million people, or 30 percent of the workforce. It would take World War II, and the massive level of armaments production taken on by the United States, to finally bring the country out of the Depression after a decade of suffering.
Although the market had closed on an upswing on Black Thursday, the low numbers of the ticker that day had shocked many speculators. Hoping to get out of the stock market before they lost everything (as they thought they had on Thursday morning), they decided to sell.
This time, as the stock prices plummeted, no one came in to save it.
Black Tuesday – October 29, 1929
October 29, 1929, “Black Tuesday,” is known as the worst day in stock market history. There were so many orders to sell that the ticker quickly fell behind. (By the end of close, it had lagged to 2 1/2 hours behind.) People were in a panic; they couldn’t get rid of their stocks fast enough. Since everyone was selling and nearly no one was buying, stock prices collapsed.
Rather than the bankers rallying investors by buying more stocks, rumors circulated that they were selling. Panic hit the country. Over 16.4 million shares of stock were sold – a new record.
The Drop Continues
Not sure how to stem the panic, the decision was made to close the stock market on Friday, November 1 for few days. When it reopened on Monday, November 4 for limited hours, stocks dropped again. The slump continued until November 23, 1929, when prices seemed to stabilize. However, this was not the end. Over the next two years, the stock market continued to drop. It reached its low point on July 8, 1932 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 41.22.
To say that the Stock Market Crash of 1929 devastated the economy is an understatement. Although reports of mass suicides in the aftermath of the crash were most likely exaggerations, many people lost their entire savings. Numerous companies were ruined. Faith in banks was destroyed.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred at the beginning of the Great Depression. Whether it was a symptom of the impending depression or a direct cause of it is still hotly debated.
Historians, economists, and others continue to study the Stock Market Crash of 1929 in the hopes of discovering the secret to what started the boom and what instigated the panic. As of yet, there has been little agreement as to the causes. In the years after the crash, regulations covering buying stocks on margin and the roles of banks have added protections in the hopes that another severe crash could never happen again.