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Quote of the Day

 

“Morse conquered his electrical difficulties although he was only a painter, and I don’t intend to give in either till all is completed.”

-Alexander Graham Bell, who on this day in 1887 incorporated Bell Telephone Company

 

July 9th – This Day in Stock Market History

 

 
July 9th, 1877 – The Bell Telephone Company is organized.

ATT_stock_certificates
 
Alexander Graham Bell’s company would be run with his father-in-law as president, Alexander Graham Bell as the chief electrician, and Thomas Watson as the first employee.
 
The Bell Telephone Company would rapidly evolve into the nation’s largest telecommunications company. With a monopoly with the patent of the telephone, Bell and his company were free to expand at a rapid pace. Within a year, they would be selling phones across the United States and internationally.

The company would eventually merge into AT&T and would become the nation’s most dominant company. So much so that the Justice Department would rule on  August 11, 1982 that the company must be broken up into separate companies.

Today, the companies remains would of the most storied companies in American business history. The company has increased its dividend for 34 consecutive years:

Chart from Macrotrends
Chart from Macrotrends

 

 

One of my favorite business history books is The Idea Factory, about Bell Labs – The research arm of AT&T:
The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

 

Bell Labs was on the forefront of the technological revolution of the 30s through the 80s. Bell Labs invented video telephone calls in the 1960s, the transistor in the 40s, car phones, solar cells, radio astronomy, information theory, charge-couple devices, C and C++ programming, UNIX operating system, and much more! The book is a wonderful exploration into the magical place that was Bell Labs for most of the 20th century.

 

 

July 9th, 1999 – The S&P 500-stock index closes above 1400 for the first time.

The index, which finishes the day at 1403.28, had doubled in less than three years.

SP500_chart_1997_to_1999
 
Although the tech bubble benefited the NASDAQ index much more, the S&P was still rising significantly through the late 90s.

However, as the NASDAQ would fall nearly 80% from its March 10th, 2000 high of 5,048 to 1,114 on October 9th, 2002, the S&P would lose “just” 40%.
 


Best July 9th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1975 – Up 1.64%, 14.08 points.

Worst July 9th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

2008 – Down 2.08%, 236.77 points.

 

Read of the Day

Bell Labs was the home to America’s most talented scientists throughout the 1900s. And one of the most elite from that group was Claude Shannon, who also had an interest in business and investing.

He would help start and sit on the boards of HP and Teledyne, along with inventing the entire field of science now known as information theory.

Claude Shannon truly possessed one of the best minds in history, and his new biography by Jimmy Soni and Ron Goodman is a must read:
A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age

 

 

 

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