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Quote of the Day


“No man can calculate to escape ruin but he who owes no money – Happy is he who has little and is free from debt.”


-Philip Hone. On this day in 1927, a day known as “Black Friday” in Germany, German investors using debt would learn this lesson.


May 13th – This Day in Stock Market History

May 13th, 1884 – The Panic of 1884 sees its worst day yet.
After news that the Second National Bank’s president, John Eno, had embezzled $4 million dollars and fled to Canada, a bank run begins.


A newspaper illustration from Harper's Weekly, depicting the scene on Wall Street on the morning of May 14, 1884.
A newspaper illustration from Harper’s Weekly, depicting the scene on Wall Street on the morning of May 14, 1884.


Eno’s embezzlement came just days after the failure of Marine Bank and Grant & Ward brokerage. Traders were already on edge, and the news of the Second National Bank losing $4 million was enough of a spark to ignite a small panic on Wall Street. Many stocks would fall 15-20% over the next couple of days.
The bank would ultimately be rescued and recapitalized, but the panic would bring down 10,000 institutions by 1885.


The Panic of 1884 took place in the midst of one of the nation’s worst depressions at the time. Between 1882 and 1885, the United States would see more than 10% of its businesses fail or close.

Even to this day the depression of 1882-1885 is still the third longest in American history.


Source: Panic on Wall Street: A History of America’s Financial Disasters


May 13th, 1927 – A day known as “Black Friday” for the Berlin stock exchange.
On this day, a new German Central Bank rules required German banks to reduce their lending, which resulted in the bank issuing margin calls to many of its lenders.
The German stock market falls 13 percent on the day.


Source: “Margin Call Gone Wrong – Credit, stock prices, and Germany’s Black Friday in 1927


May 13th, 1940 – As Germany unleashes a surprise assault on Belgium and Luxembourg, the New York Stock Exchange sees heavy selling pressure.

New York Times Coverage of the German advance


As the headlines turned grim, stocks would see significant declines for the next week. On this day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall 4.98%, this came in the middle of a string of noteworthy declines:

  • May 10th, 1940 – The Dow would fall 2.29%
  • May 13th, 1940 – The Dow would fall 4.98%
  • May 14th, 1940 – The Dow would fall 6.80%
  • May 17th, 1940 – The Dow would fall 4.78%
  • May 18th, 1940 – The Dow would fall 1.43%
  • May 21st, 1940 – The Dow would fall 6.78%


In total the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall 22%, from 148 to 115, in the month of May, 1940.



Best May 13th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

2002 – Up 1.71%, 169.74 points.


Worst May 13th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1940 – Down 4.98%, 7.22 points.