Friday, March 20, 2009

The Ten Biggest Stock Market Crashes of All Time

Some investors might think they have had a rough ride on the stock market over the past seven or eight months. But the recent share price gyrations pale into insignificance when compared with the biggest stock market falls of all time.

10) Wall Street 1901-03: -46%The market was spooked by the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, coupled with a severe drought later the same year.

9) Wall Street 1919-21: -46%There were fears that the new automobile sector was becoming overheated and that car ownership had reached saturation point.

8) Wall Street 1906-07: -48%Markets took fright after President Theodore Roosevelt had threatened to rein in the monopolies that flourished in various industrial sectors, notably railways.

7) Wall Street 1937-38: -49%This share price fall was triggerd by an economic recession and doubts about the effectiveness of Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal policy.

6) London 2000-2003: -52%The UK took sixth place in the table with a 52 per cent market fall between 2000 and 2003 as investors suffered the consequences of the collapse of the technoogy bubble

5) Hong Kong 1997-98: -64%The Hong Kong stock market’s heavy fall in 1997-1998 came as investors deserted emerging Asian shares, including a very overheated Hong Kong stock market
4) London 1973-74: -73%Next came the UK stock market’s 73 per cent drop in 1973 and 1974. set against the backdrop of a dramatic rise in oil prices, the miners’ strike and the downfall of the Heath government.

3) Japan 1990-2003: -79%In third place, with a 79 per cent decline, was the Japanese stock market, which suffered a protracted slide in price from 1990 to 2003 as a share and property price bubble burst and turned into a deflationary nightmare.

2) US Nasdaq 2000-2002: -82%The second biggest collapse came from the technology-rich US Nasdaq index, which fell by 82 per cent following the bursting of the dot.com bubble in 2000

1) Wall Street 1929-32: -89%The Wall Street Crash heads the list, with the US stock market falling by 89 per cent between 1929 and 1932. The bursting of the speculative bubble led to further selling as people who had borrowed money to buy shares had to cash them in in a hurry when their loans wre called in.

David Shwartz, the stock market historian, says: “The very big stock market crashes are invariably triggered by a series of different events which unfold one after the other. For example the biggest UK stock market slump in 1973-74 was started by the fear of stagflation, but was then fuelled by the dramatic rise in oil prices of late 1973, followed by the Miners’ strike and the downfall of the Heath government. One heavy blow is not enough to produce a market crash. It requires several different blows to bring a market to its knees.”

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