Rating Wall St.

With Thursday’s big drop on the market, here’s the historical context of things on Wall Street. It’s interesting (not to mention, painful) that five of the 10 biggest point drops in the Dow in history, have occurred in the last month.

Greatest Net Losers
Rank Date Change
1 9/29/2008 -777.68
2 9/17/2001 -684.81
3 10/9/2008 -671.91
4 4/14/2000 -617.08
5 10/27/1997 -554.26
6 8/31/1998 -512.61
7 10/7/2008 -508.39
8 10/19/1987 -508
9 9/15/2008 -504.48
10 9/18/2008 -449.36
Greatest percentage losers
1 12/12/1914 -24.39
2 10/19/1987 -22.61
3 10/28/1929 -12.82
4 10/29/1929 -11.73
5 11/6/1929 -9.92
6 12/18/1899 -8.72
7 8/12/1932 -8.40
8 3/14/1907 -8.29
9 10/26/1987 -8.04
10 7/21/1933 -7.84
Source: Dow Jones
  • Interesting, but I’d be curious about the worst WEEKS (or even 30-day periods) on Wall Street. This one would likely make the top 10.

  • Look at the second table. Percentages are far more meaningful. The first table is a bit like ranking highest-paid executives in current year dollars or declaring anything else inflated “the biggest in history.”

  • Bob Collins


    I will gleefully acknowledge focusing on the second chart might temporarily ease the pain of the first chart. But the first chart is hardly irrelevant.

    Keep in mind, these are ONE-DAY declines. I haven’t had a chance to check yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the percentage drop THIS WEEK in the value of the market is very close to the top of the worst week’s in history.

    When you’re losing your retirement, I suppose it doesn’t matter whether it takes a day or a week.

  • Bob Collins

    Sorry, David, I didn’t see that you’d made roughly the same point. Yes, it’s on my list of things to do…. Fire up the Exel and see where this ranks in terms of worst weeks. I’m not the great spreadsheet manipulator, though and it’s taking me a little while to figure out which of the days is a Monday and which is a Friday all the way back to teh 19-teens.