Is It Over? Day 444

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09.12.03 DJIA.png

444 days after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy signaled the beginning of the current financial crisis, many are wondering: Is it over? It looked close to over on January 15, 1931, 444 days after the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression. Yet the Dow wouldn't hit bottom until July 8, 1932. The equivalent date in the current downturn would be May 27, 2011.


On Thursday, January 15, 1931, 444 days after the beginning of the Great Crash, the Dow was down 4.64 points. At 162.82, already a hefty 218 points below its September, 1929 peak of 381.17, it had another 122 points to fall before finally reaching its nadir in July, 1932. This bleak financial climate contributed to the fall of the Chelsea Bank and Trust Company, which was taken over by the state of New York in December and, on January 15, was assessing its reorganization options. Bank closings hit a more primal note in Macon, GA, where two wealthy residents fought a fatal duel over the collapse of a local bank.

 

On Thursday, December 3, 2009, 444 days after the beginning of the current financial crisis, the Dow dropped 86.53 points, closing at 10,366.15--still a solid 3,798 points below its October 9, 2007 peak of 14,164.53. Corporations and banks are feeling the crunch, as just this morning Comcast purchased the struggling NBC from GE for over $30 billion. Though bankers may not be fighting duels, they are packing for self-defense--a handful of Goldman Sachs executives have apparently been buying handguns in the case of a potential populist revolt against the bank.   


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(This feature is from a new business-oriented website to be produced by Atlantic Media and to debut in March.)

 

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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