A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 15, 2008
Black Monday; Black Tuesday; Black Thursday; Black Friday (Wall Street stock declines)

Entry in progress—B.P.

THe Free Dictionary
Black Friday
A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24th, 1869 was termed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold speculators including Jay Gould and James Fist attempting to corner the gold market. Their attempt failed and the gold market collapsed, causing the market to tank.
The term “black” has been used to describe other disastrous days in financial markets. For example, Tuesday, October 29th, 1929, a day the market fell precipitously, has been coined Black Tuesday, signaling the start of the Great Depression. Additionally, the largest one-day drop in stock market history occurred on Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, when the DJIA plummeted more than 22%.

Wikipedia: Black Friday (1869)
Black Friday, September 24, 1869, also known as the Fisk-Gould Scandal, was a financial panic in the United States caused by two speculators’ efforts to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange. It was one of several scandals that rocked the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. During the American Civil War, the United States government issued a large amount of money that was backed by nothing but credit. After the war ended, people commonly believed that the U.S. Government would buy back the “greenbacks” with gold. In 1869, a group of speculators, headed by James Fisk and Jay Gould, sought to profit off this by cornering the gold market. Gould and Fisk first recruited Grant’s brother-in-law, a financier named Abel Corbin. They used Corbin to get close to Grant in social situations, where they would argue against government sale of gold, and Corbin would support their arguments. Corbin convinced Grant to appoint General Daniel Butterfield as assistant Treasurer of the United States. Butterfield agreed to tip the men off when the government intended to sell gold.

In the late summer of 1869, Gould began buying large amounts of gold. This caused prices to rise and stocks to plummet. After Grant realized what had happened, the federal government sold $4 million in gold. On September 20, 1869, Gould and Fisk started hoarding gold, driving the price higher. On September 24 the premium on a gold Double Eagle (representing one troy ounce of gold bullion at $20) was 30 percent higher than when Grant took office. But when the government gold hit the market, the premium plummeted within minutes. Investors scrambled to sell their holdings, and many of them, including Corbin, were ruined. Fisk and Gould escaped significant financial harm.

Subsequent Congressional investigation into the scandal was limited because Virginia Corbin and First Lady Julia Grant were not permitted to testify. However, Butterfield resigned from the U.S. Treasury. Henry Adams, who believed that President Ulysses S. Grant had tolerated, encouraged, and perhaps even participated in corruption and swindles, attacked Grant in an 1870 article entitled The New York Gold Conspiracy.

Wikipedia: Wall Street Crash of 1929
The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Crash of ’29 or the Great Crash, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, taking into consideration the full and longevity of its fallout. Three phrases—Black Thursday, Black Monday, and Black Tuesday—are used to describe this collapse of stock values. All three are appropriate, for the crash was not a one-day affair. The initial crash occurred on Black Thursday (October 24, 1929), but it was the catastrophic downturn of Black Monday and Tuesday (October 28 and October 29, 1929) that precipitated widespread panic and the onset of unprecedented and long-lasting consequences for the United States. The collapse continued for a month.

Economists and historians disagree as to what role the crash played in subsequent economic, social, and political events. The crash in America came near the beginning of the Great Depression, a period of economic decline in the industrialized nations, and led to the institution of landmark financial reforms and new trading regulations.

At the time of the crash, New York City had grown to be a major metropolis, and its Wall Street district was one of the world’s leading financial centers.The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was the largest stock market in the world.

The Roaring Twenties was a time of prosperity and excess in the city, and, and despite warnings against speculation, many believed that the market could sustain high price levels. Shortly before the crash, Irving Fisher famously proclaimed, “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” The euphoria and financial gains of the great bull market were shattered on Black Thursday, when share prices on the NYSE collapsed. Stock prices fell on that day and they continued to fall, at an unprecedented rate for a full month.

In the days leading up to Black Thursday, the market was severely unstable. Periods of selling and high volumes of trading were interspersed with brief periods of rising prices and recovery. Economist and author Jude Wanniski later correlated these swings with the prospects for passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which was then being debated in Congress. After the crash, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) recovered early in 1930, only to reverse again, reaching a low point of the great bear market in 1932. The Dow did not return to pre-1929 levels until late 1954, and was lower at its July 8, 1932 level than it had been since the 1800s.

Wikipedia: Black Monday (1987)
In financial markets, Black Monday is the name given to Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short period. The crash began in Hong Kong, spread west through international time zones to Europe, hitting the United States after other markets had already declined by a significant margin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped by 508 points to 1739 (22.6%). By the end of October, stock markets in Hong Kong had fallen 45.8%, Australia 41.8%, Spain 31%, the United Kingdom 26.4%, the United States 22.68%, and Canada 22.5%. New Zealand’s market was hit especially hard, falling about 60% from its 1987 peak, and taking several years to recover. (The terms Black Monday and Black Tuesday are also applied to October 28 and 29, 1929, which occurred after Black Thursday on October 24, which started the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Confusingly, in Australia the 1987 crash is also referred to as Black Tuesday because of the timezone difference.)

The Black Monday decline was the largest one-day percentage decline in stock market history. Other large declines have occurred after periods of market closure, such as Saturday, December 12, 1914, when the DJIA fell 24.39%, ending the four month closure due to the outbreak of the First World War, and Monday, September 17, 2001, the first day that the market was open following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Interestingly, the DJIA was positive for the 1987 calendar year. It opened on January 2, 1987, at 1,897 points and would close on December 31st, 1987, at 1,939 points. The DJIA would not regain its August 25, 1987 closing high of 2,722 points until almost two years later.

A degree of mystery is associated with the 1987 crash, and it has been labeled as a black swan event. Important assumptions concerning human rationality, the efficient market hypothesis, and economic equilibrium were brought into question by the event. Debate as to the cause of the crash still continues many years after the event, with no firm conclusions reached.

In the wake of the crash, markets around the world were put on restricted trading primarily because sorting out the orders that had come in was beyond the computer technology of the time. This also gave the Federal Reserve and other central banks time to pump liquidity into the system to prevent a further downdraft. While pessimism reigned, the market bottomed on October 20.

Wikipedia: Black Monday (January 2008)
January 2008 was an especially volatile month in world stock markets, with a surge in implied volatility measurements of the US-based S&P 500 index, and a sharp decrease in non-U.S. stock market prices on Monday, January 21, 2008 (continuing to a lesser extent in some markets on January 22). Some headline writers and a general news columnist called January 21 “Black Monday” and referred to a “global shares crash,” though the effects were quite different in different markets.

American stock markets were closed on Monday, January 21 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Seemingly in response to the fall in non-U.S. markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a surprise rate cut of 0.75% on Tuesday at 8 a.m. This rate cut is believed to have been influential in preventing large declines in the American stock markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down only 1.1% for the day, never closing that week worse than a 1.6% decrease from the previous Friday, and indeed closed up for the week. Later it was announced that Société Générale, one of the largest banks in Europe, accused its employee Jérôme Kerviel of fraudulent trades costing it €4.9 billion, and causing it to sell approximately €50 billion in European equity derivatives from January 21–23.

24 January 1870, New York (NY) Herald, pg. 4, col. 4:
That disastrous “black Friday” to the Wall street bull ring on their gold corner, and the parties concerned in blowing up the bubble, are undergoing at Washington a Congressional investigation.

18 August 1883, Saturday Herald (Decatur, IL), pg. 5, col. 3:
The situation was much discussed, and some gentlemen were willing to assert that Wall street was on the threshold of such financial disasters as had not been since the famous “Black Monday.”

10 May 1901, St. Albans (VT) Daily, pg. 4:
The crash in Wall Street came at last and ruined hundreds and probably seriously affected thousands of men and women who would not heed the warnings that have been shouted at them from the housetops for the past month.

17 August 1907, Anaconda (MT) Standard, pg. 6:
So far the week in Wall street has seen a Black Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

31 October 1929, Dallas (TX) Morning News, part 2, pg. 18:
Anyhow, Wall Street can’t charge its Black Thursday and Blue Monday to the Democratic party.

14 November 1929, Adams County Free Press (Corning Iowa), pg. 6, col. 4:
Added to the historic “black Friday,” we now have a “black” Tuesday and an indigo Thursday as the great panic days in wall street. Pretty soon all we will have left is our “blue” Sundays.

31 October 1974, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section D, pg. 2:
Black Tuesday
For older Americans, October 29 will always be a yearly reminder of Black Tuesday, that day in 1929 when the Great Depression started.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, September 15, 2008 • Permalink