Is It Over? Day 443

By Nicole Allan
It has been 443 days since the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy signaled the beginning of the current financial crisis. Is it over? Many people think so. Many thought so on January 14, 1931, 443 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 Wednesday, January 14, 1931, 443 days after the beginning of the Great Crash, the Dow stood at 167.46, 214 points below its peak of 381.17 on September 3, 1929, but still 126 points above its nadir of 41.22 on July 8, 1932. Some benchmarks were promising--Americans had invested $15 billion overseas in 1930, $1 billion more than in 1929, and domestic cotton production was up. Meanwhile, international debate raged over the gold standard, with a League of Nations commission recommending shifting more power and freedom of action to central banks. 

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On Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 443 days after the beginning of the current financial crisis, the Dow closed at 10,452.68, 3,712 points below its peak of 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007. The Fed announced "modest" economic improvements on the heels of a slight rise in consumer spending, while GM looks to replace CEO Fritz Henderson, who stepped down after just eight (admittedly brutal) months on the job. Americans processed President Obama's announcement of a 30,000-troop "surge" in Afghanistan, while legislators struggled to get their minds around its $30 billion price tag.

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

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/12/is-it-over-day-443/31138/