Bad Market Days: Lessons from the stock market crashes of 1929 & 1987

Harold Bierman

Published: September 2001

There are a large number of misconceptions regarding the great stock market crash of 1929 and the crash of 1987. Both crashes occurred when the general level of business was good and getting better. In 1929 there were very few hints that the great depression was two years away. In fact, in recognition of the favourable business climate, by the end of 1929 the market had recovered most of its October losses and was down only 11.9% from its highs (the major losses were to occur in 1930–1932). There were several causes of the 1929 crash. Two of the most important causes were the campaign by the Federal Government against the orgy of speculation taking place in New York City and an action by the Public Utility Commission of Massachusetts that triggered a collapse of inflated public utility stock prices. That, in turn, triggered a collapse of other stock prices.

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