10 Worse Stock Market Crashes in History

10 Worse Stock Market Crashes in History

Just when you think the U.S. Stock Markets have recovered and everything’s going to be fine, suddenly the DOW drops nearly 1,000 points in minutes.  While this “mini-crash” won’t be recorded in the 10 Worse Stock Crashes in History, it is a warning sign that crashes that once took years, then weeks, can now be depressed into a few hours.  This dramatically increases Stock risks and further spooks an already frightened investment public.

After the crash of 1929, the DOW recovered– just as it has today.  But, the GrandDaddy of all crashes was from 1930-1932 when investors lost 86% of their money.  Is history on the verge of repeating itself in the years after the March 2009 Crash.  To better understand the risks, we’ve detailed the 10 Worse Stock Market Crashes in History.

Update 10 March, 2009

The DJIA closed at 6547 & is now down by 53.7%, from its Ocober 2007 peak. So,  this Millenium Crash is now comfortably established in the Number 2 position in the Top 10 Worst Stock Market Crashes!!! The 1930-32 crash at Number 1 is almost off the scale so although the stock market may continue to fall, the Millenium Crash has probably reached its peak  position in the Top 10 Chart.

Most of the top 10 crashes happened over more than one year rather than over a few days (such as the 1987 Black Monday). Only data on stock market crashes after 1900 are included.  6 out of the top 11 crashes started in either September or November.


Worst Stock Market Crash: 1930-1932
This is the grand daddy of them all. Investors lost 86% of their money over this 813 day beast. This market crash combined with the 1929 crash, makes up the Great Depression. In just two months, September and October, the stock market had lost 40 percent of its value. Black Tuesday usually marks the point where the Roaring 20’s ended and the Great Depression started. The stock market continued to fall until bottoming out in July of 1932,

If you had $1000 on 3 September 1929, it would have been worth only $108.14 (89.2% loss) by July 8th, 1932. Full recovery of this loss didn’t occur until 1954… some 22 years later!

Date Started: 4/17/1930
Date Ended: 7/8/1932
Total Days: 813
Starting DJIA: 294.07
Ending DJIA: 41.22
Total Loss: -86.0%

2nd Worst Stock Market Crash: 1937-1938
Key events: Legacy of Great Depression, war scare and Wall street scandals
Date Started: 3/10/1937
Date Ended: 3/31/1938
Total Days: 386
Starting DJIA: 194.40
Ending DJIA: 98.95
Total Loss: -49.1%

3rd Worst Stock Market Crash: 1906-1907
Key events: The “Panic of 1907″ due to a credit crunch in New York, as well as gloom due to President Roosevelt’s antitrust drive
Date Started: 1/19/1906
Date Ended: 11/15/1907
Total Days: 665
Starting DJIA: 75.45
Ending DJIA: 38.83
Total Loss: -48.5%

4th Worst Stock Market Crash: 1929
Key events: End of the roaring twenties, and kicked off the Great Depression
Date Started: 9/3/1929
Date Ended: 11/13/1929
Total Days: 71
Starting DJIA: 381.17
Ending DJIA: 198.69
Total Loss: -47.9%

5th Worst Stock Market Crash: 1919 – 1921
Key events: Followed a post war boom, bursting of the first big tech bubble- the automobile sector (but after bottoming, this decade saw tremendous growth in the stock market and the economy, often called the roaring twenties)
Date Started: 11/3/1919
Date Ended: 8/24/1921
Total Days: 660
Starting DJIA: 119.62
Ending DJIA: 63.9
Total Loss: -46.6%

6th Worst Stock Market Crash: 1901 – 1903
Key events: Assassination of President William McKinley; a severe drought causing alarm about US food supplies
Date Started: 6/17/1901
Date Ended: 11/9/1903
Total Days: 875
Starting DJIA: 57.33
Ending DJIA: 30.88
Total Loss: -46.1%

7th Worst Stock Market Crash: 1973 – 1974
Key events: Vietnam war, Watergate scandal
Date Started: 1/11/1973
Date Ended: 12/06/1974
Total Days: 694
Starting DJIA: 1051.70
Ending DJIA: 577.60
Total Loss: -45.1%

8th Worst Stock Market Crash: 1939 – 1942
Key events: World War 2, attack on Pearl Harbour
Date Started: 9/12/1939
Date Ended: 4/28/1942
Total Days: 959
Starting DJIA: 155.92
Ending DJIA: 92.92
Total Loss: -40.4%

9th Worst Stock Market Crash: 1916 – 1917
Key events: US being drawn into World War 1
Date Started: 11/21/1916
Date Ended: 12/19/1917
Total Days: 393
Starting DJIA: 110.15
Ending DJIA: 65.95
Total Loss: -40.1%

10th Worst Stock Market Crash: 2000 – 2002
Key events: Tech bubble bursting, September 11th terrorist attack
Date Started: 1/15/2000
Date Ended: 10/9/2002
Total Days: 999
Starting DJIA: 11,792.98
Ending DJIA: 7,286.27
Total Loss: -37.8%

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