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Quote of the Day
“Any one who stood on Wall Street, or in the galley of the Stock Exchange last Thursday [the 18th], Friday [the 19th] or Saturday [the 20th], and saw the mad terror, we might almost say the brute terror with which great crowds of men rushed to and fro trying to get rod of their property, almost begging people to take it from them at any price, could hardly avoid feeling that anew plague had been sent among men, that there was an impalpable, invisible force in the air, robbing them of their wits, of which philosophy had not yet dreamt.”
-Report in The Nation of the events on the floor of the NYSE during the panic of 1873, which led to the exchange closing its doors on this day in 1873.
September 20th – This Day in Stock Market History
September 20th, 1873 – After the previous day’s halt in the stock market decline, panic starts again as soon as trading can begin. Western Union led the decline, with shares opening at 71 and quickly falling to 54 1/2. With panic quickly spreading, the NYSE was forced into unprecedented action.
For the first time, the NYSE would close its doors at 11am for an “indefinite period of time”. That afternoon President Grant, the secretary of the treasury, and other notable cabinet members would descend upon New York in an attempt to halt the panic.
The panic spread as far as Europe, leading many to predict a world-wide epidemic. One trader is quoted saying the panic was “the worst disaster since the black death”!
Stock exchanges would remain closed for 10 days. Besides the closure for 4 months for World War 1, it remains the longest period the NYSE has closed its doors in history.
Source:Panic on Wall Street: A History of America’s Financial Disasters
Best September 20th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History
1932 - Up 3.74%, 2.43 points.
Worst September 20th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History
2001 - Down 4.37%, 382.92 points.
Read of the Day
The New York Federal Reserve has an article discussing the Panic 1873 in more detail here: http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2016/02/crisis-chronicles-the-long-depression-and-the-panic-of-1873.html
Besides this page in particular, the NY Fed's "Crisis Chronicals" blog is a great source of Wall Street history.
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