Thursday, February 12, 2009

1929 Stock Market Crash

Wall Street Crash of 1929From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Great Crash, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, taking into consideration the full extent and longevity of its fallout.
Three phrases—Black Thursday, Black Monday/Tuesday are used to describe this collapse of stock values. All three are appropriate, for the crash was not a one-day affair. The initial crash occurred on Black Thursday (October 24, 1929), but it was the catastrophic downturn of Black Monday and Tuesday (October 28 and October 29, 1929) that precipitated widespread panic and the onset of unprecedented and long-lasting consequences for the United States. The collapse continued for a month.
Economists and historians disagree as to what role the crash played in subsequent economic, social, and political events. In a 1998 article The Economist argued, "Briefly, the Depression did not start with the stockmarket crash." Nor was it clear at the time of the crash that a depression was starting. On November 23, 1929, The Economist asked: "Can a very serious Stock Exchange collapse produce a serious setback to industry when industrial production is for the most part in a healthy and balanced condition? ... Experts are agreed that there must be some setback, but there is not yet sufficient evidence to prove that it will be long or that it need go to the length of producing a general industrial depression." But The Economist cautioned: "Some bank failures, no doubt, are also to be expected. In the circumstances will the banks have any margin left for financing commercial and industrial enterprises or will they not? The position of the banks is without doubt the key to the situation, and what this is going to be cannot be properly assessed until the dust has cleared away."
The October 1929 crash came during a period of declining real estate values in the United States (which peaked in 1925) near the beginning of a chain of events that led to the Great Depression, a period of economic decline in the industrialized nations.
At the time of the unbelieveable crash, New York City had grown to be a major metropolis, and its Wall Street district was one of the world's leading financial centers. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was the largest stock market in the world.
The Roaring Twenties, which was a precursor to the Crash, was a time of prosperity and excess in the city, and despite warnings against speculation, many believed that the market could sustain high price levels. Shortly before the crash, Irving Fisher famously proclaimed, "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." The euphoria and financial gains of the great bull market were shattered on Black Thursday, when share prices on the NYSE collapsed. Stock prices fell on that day and they continued to fall, at an unprecedented rate, for a full month.
In the days leading up to Black Tuesday, the market was severely unstable. Periods of selling and high volumes of trading were interspersed with brief periods of rising prices and recovery. Economist and author Jude Wanniski later correlated these swings with the prospects for passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which was then being debated in Congress. After the crash, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) recovered early in 1930, only to reverse and crash again, reaching a low point of the great bear market in 1932. The Dow did not return to pre-1929 levels until late 1954, and on July 8, 1932 reached its lowest level of the 20th century.
The origin of the NYSE can be traced to May 17, 1792, when the Buttonwood Agreement was signed by 24 stock brokers outside of 68 Wall Street in New York under a sycamore tree on Wall Street which earlier was the site of a stockade fence. On March 8, 1817, the organization drafted a constitution and renamed itself the "New York Stock & Exchange Board". (This name was shortened to its current form in 1863.) Anthony Stockholm was elected the Exchange's first president.
The first central location of the NYSE was a room rented for $200 a month in 1817 located at 40 Wall Street. The NYSE was destroyed in the Great Fire of New York (1835). It moved to a temporary headquarters. In 1863 it changed its name to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In 1865 it moved to 10-12 Broad Street. In 1896 the Dow Jones Industrial Average was established by the Wall Street Journal with an initial value of 40.74.
Volume of stocks traded had increased sixfold in the years between 1896 and 1901 and a larger space was required to conduct business in the expanding marketplace. Eight New York City architects were invited to participate in a design competition for a new building and the Exchange selected the neoclassic design from architect George B. Post. Demolition of the existing building at 10 Broad Street and the adjacent lots started on 10 May 1901.
The New York Stock Exchange building opened at 18 Broad Street on April 22, 1903 at a cost of $4 million. The trading floor was one of the largest volumes of space in the city at the time at 109 x 140 feet (33 x 42.5 m) with a skylight set into a 72-foot (22 m) high ceiling. The main façade of the building features marble sculpture by John Quincy Adams Ward in the pediment, above six tall Corinthian capitals, called “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man”. The building was listed as a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 2, 1978.
In 1922, a building designed by Trowbridge & Livingston was added at 11 Broad Street for offices, and a new trading floor called "the garage". Additional trading floor space was added in 1969 and 1988 (the "blue room") with the latest technology for information display and communication. Another trading floor was opened at 30 Broad Street in 2000. With the arrival of the Hybrid Market, a greater proportion of trading was executed electronically and the NYSE decided to close the 30 Broad Street trading room in early 2006. In late 2007 the exchange closed the rooms created by the 1969 and 1988 expansions due to the declining number of traders and employees on the floor, a result of increased electronic trading.
The 11 Wall Street building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
Security after 9/11The Exchange was closed shortly after the beginning of World War I (July 1914), but it re-opened on November 28 of that year in order to help the war effort by trading bonds.
On September 16, 1920, a bomb exploded on Wall Street outside the NYSE building, killing 33 people and injuring more than 400. The perpetrators were never found. The NYSE building and some buildings nearby, such as the JP Morgan building, still have marks on their facades caused by the bombing.
The Black Thursday crash of the Exchange on October 24, 1929, and the sell-off panic which started on Black Tuesday, October 29, are often blamed for precipitating the Great Depression of 1929. In an effort to try to restore investor confidence, the Exchange unveiled a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public on October 31, 1938.
On October 1, 1934, the exchange was registered as a national securities exchange with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, with a president and a thirty-three member board. On February 18, 1971 the not-for-profit corporation was formed, and the number of board members was reduced to twenty-five.
On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 508 points, a 22.6% loss in a single day, the biggest one-day drop the exchange had yet experienced, prompting officials at the exchange to invoke for the first time the "circuit breaker" rule to halt all trading. This was a very controversial move and led to a quick change in the rule; trading now halts for an hour, two hours, or the rest of the day when the DJIA drops 10, 20, or 30 percent, respectively. In the afternoon, the 10% and 20% drops will halt trading for a shorter period of time, but a 30% drop will always close the exchange for the day. The rationale behind the trading halt was to give investors a chance to cool off and reevaluate their positions. Black Monday was followed by Terrible Tuesday, a day in which the Exchange's systems did not perform well and some people had difficulty completing their trades.
What were the effects of the Wall Street Crash of 1929?
In 1929, 659 banks went bust. In 1931, 2294 banks went bust.
Both industrial and farming production fell by 40% and average wages fell by 60%.
In 1933, 14 million Americans were unemployed.
By 1933, 5000 banks had gone bankrupt and total farm income in the USA has fallen to $5 billion. American international trade had been drastically reduced from $10 billion in 1928, to $3 billion in 1932.
In Cleveland, a big steel town, 50% of the people were unemployed in 1932. In Toledo they was 80% unemployment.
Every major town and city had a “Hooverville”, which was a collection of huts and shacks housing the homeless.
In 1931, 238 people were admitted to hospital due to malnutrition and starvation, 45 of them died.
The Bank of New York went bust and 400,000 depositors lost their savings.
President Hoover got all the blame…

Stock Market Crash of 1929 (5 videos)