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Quote of the Day

“The success of Sputnik seemed to herald a kind of technological Pearl Harbor.”

-David Halberstam, in his book The Fifties

October 4th – This Day in Stock Market History

October 4th, 1957 – The USSR launches Sputnik, beating the U.S. into space.

The Dow Jones Industrial average would fall 2% on the news when the markets opened Monday, and would fall 10% over the next few weeks. It would be May 1958 before the Dow Jones Industrial Average would rise above it’s pre-Sputnik levels.

Over the next month, news outlets would blame two major stock market sell offs on Sputnik:

  • October 10th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9.69 points, the largest point drop since President Eisenhower’s heart attack in 1955.
  • October 21st 1957, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall 10.77 points as investors worry about the Soviet Union beating America in the space race.

Sputnik would remain front page news for more than a week.

Source: The Market’s Measure: An Illustrated History of America Told Through the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Best October 4th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1933 – Up 5.40%, 5.05 points.

Worst October 4th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

2002 – Down 2.45%, 189.39 points.

Read of the Day

Museum of Finance Fall 2012 article: Capital Markets and the U.S. Victory of the Space Race

capital_markets_and_us_victory_in_space_race