July 8, 1932: Dow Jones Reaches a Low

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest point of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22, down 89 percent from its peak in 1929.

October 1, 1934

The Securities and Exchange Commission is created to regulate stocks, bonds and other commissions. Kennedy patriarch and former Wall Street speculator Joseph P. Kennedy is appointed as its chairman.

December 8, 1941

The day after a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the U.S. enters World War II.


Women are allowed to enter the N.Y.S.E. trading floor for the first time.

September 2, 1945

Japan formally surrenders to the U.S., ending World War II. The U.S. enters a new era of prosperity, with New York City becoming a global financial and cultural capital.

March 4, 1957

The Standard & Poor 500 Index is introduced. Computer technology allows the S & P 500 to calculate and report market levels at one-minute intervals throughout the day.

June 22, 1962

The N.Y.S.E.'s census of shareholders reports that 17 million Americans own stock, a 10 million increase since 1952.

November 22, 1963

In anticipation of panic selling, Wall Street closes shortly after President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

February 12, 1970

Joseph L. Searles III becomes the first African American to be accepted as a member of the N.Y.S.E.

February 8, 1971

The National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (N.A.S.D.A.Q.) opens its first day of trading, becoming the world’s first electronic stock market.

November 14, 1972

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes the day over 1000 points for the first time.

October 19, 1987: Modern Times

The stock market crashes and the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 508 points or 22.61 percent, its largest one-day percentage drop in history to date.

August, 1994

The first Internet stock trade is completed by K. Aufhauser & Company, Inc., launching a new era of online stock trading.

November 21, 1995

The stock market closes with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at 5,023.55, topping 5,000 for the first time.


Real-time stock tickers are used on cable television channels CNBC and CNN-FN. Market data, which had previously been delayed 20 minutes, is now reported in real time.

March 19, 1999

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tops 10,000 points for the first time.

September 17, 2001

On the first day of trading after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 684.81 points.


Irresponsible credit lending practices and rising numbers of mortgage defaults burst the housing bubble and shake the confidence of U.S. lenders and borrowers alike.

March, 2008

Banking giant Bear Stearns is bought out for a mere $2 a share. Just one year earlier, Bear Stearns stock sold for $170 a share. This bargain basement buyout triggers a series of crises with several other American financial institutions.

September 29, 2008

The Bush Administration’s proposed $700 billion bailout for American banks is thrown out by the House of Representatives. Consequently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average takes a near-778-point hit. The 7% drop is the largest in history, with an equivalent loss of over $1 trillion.

In October the House will reverse it’s decision in favor of the bailout, but investor confidence has already been shaken and the market does not rally back.

August 3, 2009

Newsweek magazine declares on its cover that the recession is over. However Presidents Obama warns that the U.S. recession has not ended, with prices continuing to drop and unemployment still high. The economy may be stabilizing in some areas of the U.S. but it has yet to be in the clear.

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