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Quote of the Day

“The stock market is never obvious. It is designed to fool most of the people, most of the time.”

-Jessie Livermore


April 3rd – This Day in Stock Market History

April 3rd, 1925 – “Chicago’s Black Friday” in the wheat pit of the CBOT (Chicago board of trade) as wheat prices fall 10% in a single day.

New York Times coverage of black Friday in the wheat pits in Chicago

New York Times coverage of black Friday in the wheat pits in Chicago

1925_wheat_prices

The decline in 1920 was due to the U.S. government removing its guarantee on Wheat prices. By the mid 20’s speculators had become interested in Chicago’s commodity pits as prices rose rapidly. On this day, rumors that Jessie Livermore was shorting 5 million bushels of wheat sent Wheat prices falling. By “coincidence” Livermore’s arch rival, Arthur Cutten, who was long 20 million bushels of wheat, was on vacation in Florida.

Source:  Wall Street And The Stock Markets: A Chronology (1644-1971)

April 3rd, 1998 – The advance/decline ratio for the Dow Jones Industrial Average tops out, signaling that time is coming to an end for the tech bubble. However, large cap tech names would continue to push indexes higher for another year, but the average stock will decline from this date on.

dow_1990s

 

Source: Bull: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004

April 3rd, 2000 – A judge rules against Microsoft in its anti-trust lawsuit. Shares of Microsoft tumble 14.5%.

New York Times coverage of Microsoft antitrust lawsuit

The ruling came at a trying time for Microsoft. It was fighting very serious antitrust allegations that would only grow from this day. On June 7th, 2000 a Federal judge would order the breakup of Microsoft. However, Microsoft would appeal and by late 2001 the order would be dropped in favor of Microsoft making it easier to allow competitor software on its PCs.

Microsoft’s stock had peaked a week prior, in line with the general peak of the tech market bubble in late 1999/early 2000. However, this further weighed on Microsoft shares.

Microsoft’s shares would fall 65% over the next 8 months.

The 14.5% decline in Microsoft’s stock on this day cost the company 80 billion in market cap. At the time, it would be the largest single day decline in a company’s market cap in history.

But Microsoft would not hold that title for long. Just over a month later, on September 22nd, 2000, Intel’s stock would fall 22%, taking 90.7 billion off of Intel’s market cap.

 



Best April 3rd in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1987 – Up 3.01%, 69.89 points.

Worst April 3rd in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

2001 – Down 2.99%, 292.22 points.

Read of the Day

Our review of Bull! A History of the Boom and Bust, one of my favorite Wall Street history books.