This Month In Market History
We are here to help you look forward and build your future. In doing so, it's also important to know how we got to where we are today. Below you will find some interesting information that has shaped the landscape of the stock market over the years.
December 1st, 2008 – As the financial crisis continues to worsen, a recession is officially declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Stocks post their 12th worst day in history; the Dow falls 7.7%, down 679 points, to close down 38.6% for the year and down 42.5% from its record close of 14164.53 hit on October 9th, 2007.
US Treasury bonds would see tremendous buying pressure as a flight to safety commenced. The 10-year note would see its yield drop as low as 2.65%, and the 30-year Treasury bond would reach a yield of 3.18%, at the time these were record lows.
December 6th, 1974 – The Dow Jones Industrial averages falls to a low of 577.60, a 45% decline from the highs in early 1973. This would ultimately become the bottom of the 1973-1974 bear market. The Dow’s P/E Ratio stands at 6.2, one of its lowest readings in history. The market also got news that the unemployment rate had risen to 6.5% and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to 7.75% from 8%.
December 7th, 1941 – At 7:48am local time, Pearl Harbor is attacked by Japan. The stock market was closed on the day of the attack, but it would open the next day, December 8th, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall 3.49% to 112.53. Broader stock indexes fared worse, falling 4%+. Stocks would fall another 10% by early 1942 before beginning to climb higher through the war. Entering World War 2 would lead to huge spending by the United States to build up and maintain its military during World War 2. Increases in spending and the victorious outcome for the U.S. would usher in one of the biggest bull markets in U.S. stock market history. Investors would average a 25% annual compound return over the next few years!
December 11th, 2008 – Bernie Madoff is arrested.
Madoff’s ponzi scheme involved taking client’s money, depositing the money into a bank account (never the stock market) and generating fake trades and account statements that listed fake returns. When clients asked for returns, they were given money from the bank account. For years, new clients were depositing more money into Madoff’s fraud than clients were withdrawing, so the ponzi scheme continued. But the 2008 financial crisis was the final straw for Madoff. As customers rushed to the exit as the markets fell, Madoff quickly ran out of money. 2 weeks before he was arrested he had 4,800 client accounts.
December 12th, 1914 – Stocks trade for the first time since the stock market was closed on July 31st, 1914 due to the outbreak of World War 1.
As investor optimism had risen over the 6 months since the market closed, stocks closed 4.4% higher on their first day of trading since World War 1 began.
As a side note, you may see this day also referenced as the worst decline in stock market history. However, this is due to the change in the structure of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and does not really reflect the sentiment at the time.