This Day In Market History: Dow Gains 11% On Great Depression Optimism

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened: On this day in 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11.3%, its third-best day in history at that point. 

Where The Market Was: The Dow closed above 75 and the S&P 500 traded at around 7.

What Else Was Going On In The World: In 1932, Amelia Earhart completed the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a woman. In the U.S., the Great Depression pushed the unemployment rate to 24.5%. The average American worker earned just $1,650 per year.

Depression Optimism: The Dow peaked at 381.17 on Sept. 3, 1929. Less than three years later, it hit its Great Depression bottom at 40.56, roughly a 90% drop.

By Sept. 21, 1932, however, the Dow had rebounded a bit off its lows, and rising commodity prices had investors convinced that the worst of the economic downturn was over. The Dow gained 11.3% on the day to close above 75. At the time, it was the third largest single-day percentage gain of all time, and it still ranks as the fourth-largest to this day. The Dow’s biggest gainer that day was U.S. Steel X, which jumped 19.8%.

A year after the Dow’s 1932 bottom, it was trading higher by more than 155%. The rally stalled in July 1933 when the Dow dropped 7% in two consecutive days, and the Great Depression dragged on.

Photo: Buried machinery in Dallas, South Dakota during the Dust Bowl in 1936. Courtesy of the Department of Agriculture.

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